Last night I was in incredible pain. My hip felt like it had been shot as it burned hot with spider webs and spasms of pain. The rest of my leg felt like it was being poked with an electric cattle prod.
But at least I know my muscles are working, changing and ultimately getting better. Either that or I might have slightly overdone it in the gym yesterday.
But this morning the pain is but a memory apart from my right butt cheek which feels like it has done 1000 squats. This is I am pleased about. Hello even butt. Hello looking good in skinny jeans.
Today is Cyborg Walking School: The Advanced Class.
Chris has asked me to write a list of all the things I want/need to achieve before I leave here next week as well as an action plan for when we will do them.
Today we are tackling ramps, uneven ground, getting up from the floor and the exercise bike with the leg on.
I will be graduating to P plates in no time.
First up it’s out to the carpark for some ramp work.
I have never been a fan of slopes. It’s the going down that is the trickiest. It always feels like the knee might give out on the artificial leg which marks each step with a slight nervousness and trepidation.
I really don’t want to fall out here. The cement wouldn’t be so forgiving. At the same time I wouldn’t mind having a small fall just to get it out of the way. Not a bad one, just a little one so I know I can survive. After all the horror stories I have heard about people falling after having this operation I am scared. I just want to get it out of the way.
Chris jokes that he can push me over if I would like. I consider it. Hmm maybe not.
I take my first step down the ramp and my knee gives a little suddenly. I catch myself with the crutches and carry on.
“Don’t give me a heart attack,” Chris says.
But it feels ok. We go up and down the ramp a few times before venturing further into the carpark and braving a couple more steeper slopes. There is a car behind us we walk down the ramp to the bottom storey. I’ve always wanted to stop traffic but I didn’t quite picture it like this.
I am taking a fair bit of weight through the crutches but it’s a start. And a pretty good one. I am one proud little cyborg. I have mastered stage one of the advanced cybrog walking class.
We even try walking on a patch of pebbles in the garden to mix up the terrain. I can feel each pebble under my foot. It is incredible. Never before have I been able to feel the ground like this.
Next up it’s stairs. I thought these would be challenging but they are surprisingly easy. I have been worried about not being able to carry things up and down the stairs at home so we practice this. Not surprisingly, the physio gym doesn’t have a washing basket so Chris finds me something that is about the same size and an awkward shape.
I pass the test.
Then it’s some balancing work on the foam mat to make sure I am weight shifting correctly and standing even. It still doesn’t feel quite natural but I am getting better at being able to tell when I am standing even and correctly.
I am allowed to do my weights routine standing up on the mat and it while there is a bit of pain and pressure in my hip it feels great to be upright and doing my routine as I used to.
I probably push through slightly too much pain and I feel incredibly cramped and sore afterwards but also triumphant.
Getting up and down off the floor might seem like a simple thing but with the leg on it feels like a logistical challenge.
I would normally get up by kneeling on the right knee but I am nervous about kneeling on this leg and putting the pressure through the bone.
I attempt some push-ups on the ground and then it’s the moment of truth. I kneel on both knees and brace for the pain but it never comes.
With a huge grin I stand up.
Tick. Another challenge complete.
Then finally; the exercise bike.
I can tell Chris is nervous about this one and would probably prefer I didn’t attempt it but he lets me do it anyway. As long as it don’t go too fast. He fixes me with a stern look.
I put my feet in the pedals and the first spin the knee jars awkwardly and there is a jolt of pain. I wince but continue. After a few more uncomfortable spins it feels much better. I feel like I am actually pushing with my right leg for the first time. It’s not working as hard as the left but it’s definitely working more than it ever as on a bike. Looks like the free ride is over for the right side. Better get used to this muscles.
I’m not allowed to wear the leg in the other gym on the rest of the cardio of equipment but I don’t care, I am on a high from all the day’s achievements. I feel like I am really getting somewhere. They may be small things but I can see I am heading in the right direction. I’ll be reaching my goals in no time. Well, eventually anyway.
Chris stays back so I can work out longer.
“I know how much you like it,” he says.
I don’t think I have ever been more grateful to someone. Not just for this but for everything he has done from the work with my walking in the gym, to listening and helping me work through the emotional side of things to all the little extras he has gone out of his way to do for me to keep me positive and ensure my success here.
He tells me many people report forgetting about this rehab phase. It becomes a blur in their memory of recovery as their new amazing life takes over.
“You can forget about this place but try not to forget about me,” he says.
Like that is possible.
I heard in a movie once that the finger-prints never fade from the lives we have touched.
Sometimes you’ll never even know the impact you have made upon another’s life nor how greatly you helped them even though actions you viewed as small and simple.
I am a firm believer that we don’t meet people by accident. Often people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
Chris may have come into my life for a reason but his fingerprints on my life will last a lifetime.