I’ve been home a month now, and have figured out ways to do some things I didn’t know I could do. Take laundry, for example. It’s quite entertaining watching me move the dirty clothes from my bedroom, across the living room, into the other bedroom, and then into the bathroom where the stackable washer and dryer live. And of course, moving them back again when they’re clean. Standing up to move the clothes from washer to dryer and out again is a bit wobbly but that will be remedied this week when maintenance installs another grab bar next to the laundry closet. But even with that limit, I’m really happy that I can do my own laundry in my own place. It’s a step towards greater independence.
My aide is still coming to give me showers and wash my hair and I love that, really love that. But she’s away this week so I’m coming up with other options. I washed my hair in the kitchen sink today, standing on slightly wobbly legs and needing practice using the sprayer – but it’s clean and I did it. I think I know how I would give myself a shower but I’m not really ready to do that and definitely have promised NOT to try it without her there. Part of me doesn’t want to give up having her help but realistically, I may not need it for as long as I originally thought. Which is also a good thing and will save money, too.
I can also put my own shoes on! Well, not with the AFO braces in them, but still, having shoes is better than wearing fuzzy blue gripper socks all day. I have more stability and confidence when I stand and manouver around counters warily doing simple every day things. I’m not doing much walking right now because I’m not sure how stable the left foot is without the stupid AFO that keeps falling down; I’m not wearing it for that reason and the therapists know and understand. I see the surgeon on Wednesday of this week (delayed from last week) and we’ll have a chat. I suspect he will tell me to have therapy decide what I need, and therapy will tell me it’s the doctor. So I’m hoping to get a referral to an orthopod foot person who can direct that part of things. I definitely have significant foot drop in the right foot and know that one needs an AFO, but maybe the left doesn’t anymore.
One of my friends helped me with banking this week, which is another step. I haven’t been to a bank since before my move in August and although I’m not spending pots of cash, I do need some. Instead of doing “cash back” at the grocery store or using an ATM, my friend brought me cash from her bank and I wrote her a check for the same amount. Not ideal, but generous of her and it made things easier for me. At some point, I’ll be able to go out with people, but probably not until I can use the walker, which is a lot easier to fold up and transport than a wheelchair.
This is still a year of waiting. It’s been three months since surgery and I have another nine to go to wait out the healing process, at least that’s what the surgeon warned me. I need to give my body time and not get impatient. The e-stim we’re doing in therapy is really waking up the nerves in the right foot and leg, sometimes painfully, but any return of sensation is a good thing. Those really big steps of the first weeks of rehab were dramatic and scary and wonderful, but they aren’t the only kinds of progress. These teeny changes add up as well.