I'm ready to author a mini round up. I'm not finished yet -- the doctor says it will still be two or three months until I'm completely back to normal. From here I get tortured by physical therapy and try to erase my limp, but it's all uphill as far as I'm concerned.
I stayed in the hospital for two nights, an experience I had managed to avoid since the age of thirteen, but quite valuable as I've continued my foray into health policy. I wrote a lengthy post describing my experiences, but I'd make these main points: you will see dozens of people, most of whom you don't know, and they will poke and prod you and bug you regardless of whether you're sleeping, going to the bathroom, or bright eyed and bushy tailed. Also, don't expect to get any rest. Or have anyone know anything about you besides your procedure.
Once I was released from the hospital, I had a leg brace comprised of straps and hinges at the knee. It wasn't bad really, and made me feel more like a basketball star or skier who tore a number of ligaments than a girl whose childhood bone disease left her leg requiring some tweaking.
And then there were the crutches. Three months of hopping around on two, unable to carry anything for myself (although I did devise some creative hopping patterns to carry small things a few feet). Three months of fearing steps, refusing escalators, and avoiding wet pavement. Three months of sore armpits, rambo-esque biceps, and dwindling leg muscles.
Following my foray into two crutchdom, I was introduced to the single crutch. For the first time in three months I fetched my own coffee. My single crutch became more of an appendage, or a presentation I took with me everywhere. Whenever I sat down, I searched out a place to lean it where it wouldn't tumble over. It fell repeatedly; I learned the only way a crutch doesn't fall over is if you lean it against a brick wall or similarly rough surface, or lay it on the ground. I flung it into my passenger seat when driving, it fell over with a clang constantly when shopping, and sat as a constant reminder of an annoying friend to be carried everywhere. But I don't want to complain too much-- it also afforded me the ability to walk semi-normal, my armpit mostly calmed, and it represented progress.
The next step after the single crutch is either more of the same or total freedom. My appointment, scheduled for six weeks after the move to one crutch, was a source of stress and anxiety -- will I be making enough progress to move on? Or will I have to endure this awkward way of moving for any number of additional weeks?
And after 18 weeks, I've finally done it. My x-ray showed enough improvement to let me walk without assistance. There was concern early on that my bone wasn't healing and additional efforts might be needed to make it do so (i.e. a bone graft). So after four and a half months of slow progress, my doctor was as happy to let me go as I was to leave. I felt like Steve Martin pretending to walk in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels -- ridiculous grin on my face and all.
I know it's all uphill from here, and that I don't have to fear going back to the doctor and taking a bad x-ray. My leg feels heavy and unwieldy; I have a small limp and it takes a lot of concentration to try to move as normal as possible.
But as summer rapidly approaches, I know I'm lucky enough to be released from my body's shortcomings, and I will be able to do whatever I want, barring training for a marathon.
Now that's progress.