I can feel the grass beneath my feet. I let out a laugh of delight. Who would have thought it would ever be possible for me?
It feels a little trickier than the flat ground but I am doing it. I have now tackled and mastered (I use the term loosely) nearly all terrains I will encounter in the real world when I leave here next week.
It’s also time to practice walking in flat shoes rather than just the joggers I have been wearing. After all I can’t spend the rest of my life in my joggers. I do have a reputation to uphold after all.
It is surprisingly difficult. Without the spongy sole of the joggers there is a lot more pressure going through my bone with each step and it feels a little more awkward. But I need to master this. I will need to wear these shoes when I am back at work in a week.
I pace up and down the bars like a lion in a small cage at the zoo. I am determined to get used to this.
Chris knows about my love for lollies and slips a packet of red frogs into my bag when I am not looking. I think he just wants to see me bouncing off the walls on a sugar high. Or maybe it is the sugar crash that he would prefer. At least then I would be resting. The resting periods are always the hardest of our physio sessions. I sit on the chair like a squirmy child in the naughty corner desperately watching the clock and waiting for him to tell me it is ok to do something again.
As a former pack a day lolly addict I am careful not to inhale the whole thing at once.
After lunch when I am walking I get a shooting pain up the bone and the back of the leg. I inhale sharply. I try to carry on but the pain persists and increases. It gets to the point that I can’t put any weight through the leg without the sharp shooting and ache in the bone.
For the first time I voluntarily take a seat.
I am trying to learn not too push through too much pain. And I am learning to be honest with how I am feeling and how much pain I am in.
Chris tells me it is enough on the leg for today. I begrudgingly agree. But secretly I am pleased. I can barely stand it hurts so much.
I am still allowed to visit the other gym but I’m not allowed to walk there. However, I am allowed a small attempt on the upright exercise bike with the leg on.
It’s a little more uncomfortable than the other bike and my foot won’t stay straight so keeps getting caught. But other than that it feels good. I’m not Tour De France speed but it’s a beginning. I only last five minutes before the pain sets in a little too strongly and I don’t want to push myself too much.
Before he leaves for the weekend Chris sits me down.
He has his serious face on.
“I need you to take it easy this weekend. Promise me tomorrow if you are still in pain you will take it easy. It’s ok if you don’t do anything in the gym with the leg on. “
He is constantly telling me to take it easy, slow down and rest but there is a difference when he means business. And he means business this time.
I nod and promise.
He tells me he has already spoken to the weekend physio and has instructed her to kick me out of the gym if she suspects I am pushing through too much pain.
I bite my lip and nod again.
While I don’t want to miss a session I also know my body does need rest at times and I want to be at my best for next week and my last few days here with Chris. I can’t waste those days.
He tells me he wants me to really rest as he knows when I go home I will go hard. I won’t be able to help myself. He is probably right.
“Especially your first day back I know you will probably wear the leg all day as you won’t want to take it off and you will be rubbish at night. And you will probably only be using one crutch. I think I know you well enough now to know you will do this.
“I need you to take it easy.”
I can only promise to try.
And I really will.
I know I need to work on getting rest and committing to balance especially when I get home as it will be a busy time with gym, physio, work and social events. Especially those first few weeks when I will be so excited to be back in the real world and catching up with all my friends.
He tells me I will need to prioritize, I wont’ be able to do it all.
I admit to him I am slightly nervous about returning home.
It’s not that I’m not excited. Believe me I am. But there are also a few nerves. I know it will be fine, I will be fine but still they are there.
Part of it I think is that I feel like I have changed so much through this journey, I feel like a completely different person to the girl that left all those months ago but going home nothing there will have changed. No one else will have changed. I think it will feel weird.
“Do you worry you will slip back? Go back to who you were?” Chris asks.
Part of it is I think perhaps I am. But more so it probably more some of the situations I wasn’t happy about and want to change.
“If it’s important to you then you won’t change,” Chris reminds me.
He is right and I feel strong in my convictions and who I am. My confidence in myself is growing each day.
“And if there are things you aren’t happy with, change them.”
Again he is right. It really is that simple.
I already have transformed my life and changed myself so much through the past year, what’s a few more changes. I am in charge of my life and my future and I can build it any way I like.