Many of the people I love, and some of those I’ve lost, have tried to quit smoking. Some have been successful. Others have not. I support the Fight for Air Walk because the American Lung Association does help people quit smoking. My first walk was about the grieving process after losing my dad. This year’s walk was different. This was Daddies’ Girls third year walking and after my accident in November, I wasn’t sure I would be able to begin the walk, much less finish it. As it turns out, I was able to begin and I even finished. (My left hip is not happy with me.) Thank goodness for Ibuprofen!
A few months ago I posted about Why I Walk in the Fight for Air Walk. Here we are, one week away from the walk, and I am not as “ready” as I hoped I would be. My physical therapy has been discontinued, even though walking is still painful and sometimes quite difficult. This evening I went for a leisurely walk after dinner and now I am on the couch after taking 2 Ibuprofen, nursing a painful hip. I am determined not to let this keep me from the fundraiser to which I am committed. So rain or shine, whether I complete the walk or not (or whether I am even able to begin), I will be there to support my team. If you would like support me in raising money for the American Lung Association in the Fight for Air Walk click here.
Today, one week after my granddaughter’s first birthday, she took her first steps on her own. She has been standing on her own and cruising around furniture, but anytime someone tried to coax her to let go and walk, she would simply refuse. Today, her mother “caught” her walking across the dining room. I joked that maybe she had been a “closet walker.”
It reminded me of when my own children were little and I was teaching them to swim. I remember other parents at the pool begging, scolding, or trying to reason with their own children to let go of the side, go under water, or jump into the pool. My style was to simply stay within arm’s reach and let them explore whatever felt comfortable. None of them were afraid of water. All of them learned to swim at a young age. And I didn’t push. I simply let them do what came naturally.
They all love water. I think it is partly because I loved water and I just let them be around it in whatever capacity they felt comfortable. Now I believe getting out of our comfort zone is good for us, but sometimes it just takes baby steps.
On October 6, 2011, my father lost his battle with lung cancer. Soon after, my sister’s best friend lost her father to lung cancer as well. The following spring my sister and her friend suggested that we walk in the Fight for Air Walk to raise money for the American Lung Association. My step-father had also been living with COPD for some time so lung disease was profoundly affecting all of us “girls” (all in our 30’s & 40’s). I thought participating in the walk would help my healing process, so I volunteered to captain the team that we named “Daddies’ Girls.”
My step-father continues his struggle with lung disease and Daddies’ Girls continue to walk. This year will be especially important for me. Not only will I be raising money for a good cause and supporting family and friends affected by lung disease, but I will be walking after being in an accident last fall which left me unable to walk on my own for 2 1/2 months due to multiple fractures in my pelvis and a fractured hip. I also had 9 fractured ribs which made breathing difficult.
I am currently receiving physical therapy to regain the strength in my legs, and the mobility in my hip and knee (which was also broken and lacerated). I also had several other injuries that didn’t affect my ability to walk, but have required rest for the healing process. I began walking on my own a couple of weeks ago, and started focusing on this year’s Fight for Air Walk. I am looking forward to being out in the May sunshine, with my “girls” beside me, as I continue doing something that makes a difference.
I walk because I can.
My visit to the orthopedist yesterday brought a couple of blessings. The doctor lifted all physical restrictions, besides those imposed by my hand surgeon. This means I can bear weight on my left leg. I can walk on my own again. He recommended I use my walker for stability, but said I could hop out of the hospital if I liked. I might have done it, had my leg not atrophied over the past ten weeks.
I expected to be given the go ahead, yet it still feels surreal to be walking again. In addition to being given permission to walk, I was also given time to regain my strength. The doctor ordered six weeks of physical therapy and a final evaluation three months from now. For me, this means I have time to fully recover before I must return to work. (I am a bit of a workaholic, so I am a bit surprised to be relieved to find I will be home a bit longer.)
When I returned home from my appointment, I asked my husband to leave the wheelchair in the trunk of the car. We borrowed it from my step-father who is living with COPD. Like me, he only needed it when out and about, but I want to be sure to get it back to him as soon as possible. It isn’t a post-traumatic avoidance issue, but a desire to close that chapter of my journey.
I have a new-found respect for those who have accepted being permanently bound to a wheelchair, and compassion for those who struggle with the same. There are things I learned firsthand from being temporarily disabled. For example, the handicap stalls in many public restrooms are the farthest from the entryway. Entrance doors in many businesses are frequently too heavy to hold open and wheel yourself in at the same time. Some people ignore the reserved signs in movie theaters for those accompanying movie-goers in wheelchairs. I could go on, but I point these out to show my own ignorance as well. I am certainly more mindful of the obstacles the physically handicapped must face.
I also had my husband fold up my walker and leave it near our front door. I will still take it with me when I leave the house, as I don’t want to hurt myself by being overly zealous about my mobility. At home, I am taking it slowly and using furniture for stability where possible. I have found that just a few trips to the bathroom and kitchen are physically exhausting, yet I am so grateful to be able to make them.
Before my accident, I was walking or running daily (and occasionally riding my bicycle). I wore a FitBit One tracker and had a goal of 10,000 steps per day. I didn’t always hit the target, but occasionally exceeded the goal, some days getting in as many as 20,000 steps. Now, I am tracking around 200 steps per day. I ran a 5K two weeks before I became immobilized. So, as part of my healing process, I have registered for my next 5K. (I may be walking rather than running, but I will be out there.)