Monday, July 21, 2014

walk it off

I haven't worn a shoe on my left foot in almost ten months. I went from splint, to metal splint, to aircast (boot), to not wearing anything for about two months, to metal splint, and back to the aircast (boot). On my right foot I've been wearing a Converse All-Star that's about five years old. I wear that because the EMT's threw away the right All-Star at the crash site, and I don't wanna wear out any of my good shoes. The sole is worn thru in the back, a rip has opened up on the left side, and another is working it's way across the right. The upper is pulling away from the sole, and no amount of washing could remove the stink of the past five years from it. It's just about time to retire the little guy. I haven't yet because, again, I don't want to wear out another shoe that has a match. But mostly because when I started going out after the wreck I think I made a decision to wear this shoe until I was done, until I was fixed.

Well, if you've read the previous two or three posts you know that "the day I was fixed" ended up being shoved down the road a bit, and so I'm here still in the shoe. I ditched the crutches last week (hopefully for good this time) and am relying on a cane to get around. The left leg hurts, but I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that that's just how it's going to be for a while. If you deal with anything long enough it just becomes normal though.

So why bring up shoes? Why go on and on about some rubber and canvas that is easily replaced?

Well, I was thinking about walking the other day. Or, more accurately, I walked down my hallway with my cane and it didn't hurt as much as it previously had. And that got me excited about walking again. About bounding up and down stairs, heading out the door and confidently placing one foot in front of the other. About, maybe, someday not limping from one place to the next.

After the trauma I went through the main things I miss are the normal things: walking, working with my friends, not parking in a handicap spot (though the spot in front of Crema will forever be mine), sleeping without four pillows propping up my leg, driving my own car. The things that get taken for granted over the course of life, because we get so bogged up in worrying about other things, bigger things. I'm not trying to say that those things aren't important, just that they are more complicated, involve more moving parts. They are a couple of steps removed from what we experience as normal life.

I'm writing this primarily because I like writing, but also because I want you to know what it's like to be me at this point in time. When someone gets hit by a car it's only natural to think, "I wonder what that felt like." When they stay in the hospital for three weeks and some change the thought might be, "I wonder what normal life is like for him now?" So I want to communicate that to you, I want you to have just a taste of what's banging around in my head.

But I also want to encourage you to put some shoes on (or even take them off) and go for a walk. Get out of your house, walk down the street, and walk back. Go alone, or go with someone else. Drive to the woods and wonder, or find a path and stick to it. But just walk. Be outside, smell the air, and take a minute away from life.

I don't want this to come off like I'm bitter about my situation. I am sometimes, but not right now. I just want to encourage you to think about the small things you might miss if you couldn't walk for ten months. Think about them, and then maybe do one of those things. Sometimes we just need reminders to take a step back and be normal.

Thanks for reading. Time for dinner, maybe I'll get a burger? That beats walking anyway.


P.S. Turns out Nordstrom's sells single shoes for $26.00, so I'll soon have a replacement for the soon-to-be-retired Chuck.

1 comment:

  1. I officially love this post. I've now been walking longer than you have, and I still notice that it doesn't really hurt most of the time. And I still want to do abnormal things like run a few miles without concentrating on how my foot and ankle launch me.

    I think the strangest thing that I don't miss about now walking were the dreams in which I could actually walk. Like I'd just be walking, then notice that I was walking, and then think that the doctor was probably wrong about my recovery time. And then I'd wake up and use a walker to get to the toilet, because crutches took too much coordination at 3am (and the drugs apparently made me have to pee once or twice in the middle of the night).

    And then today, to remind me to keep everything in perspective, I met a man whose brother was run over by a truck (twice!) at age 18. Still can't walk, and I remember breaking a leg is way easier to manage.