Two for one

Seven forty five pm, still daylight and I’m starting to write now to make sure I don’t fall asleep. I don’t want to miss out on the details today and I’m excited to read the story tomorrow that I lived today. Best day yet for physical recovery, a milestone beyond milestones. How’s that? We’ve changed out the linear scale and we’ll be counting by tens from now on just to keep the progress on the same chart (if I was so organized to have a chart.)

With all my feet have been through, I have learned to take care of them better. Just basic stuff, listening when they’re tired, using the cane or walker when I needed to, back far enough ago using the wheelchairs and etc usually, ah hah, you know, ‘before the incident’, I was a push onward kind of guy. Just keep going, the burn is good, let’s get it done.  The last seventeen months (or a few days shy now) not so much.

Push them too hard now and I’ll fall. Been there, done that. Now it’s a slow and steady race to get things done, exerting myself without hurting myself. Making sure I have the juice to get myself home, fed, and back in bed. Getting the knot out of my thigh yesterday might have changed things back around. This morning was different, just moving around in bed I could notice a difference and when I swung my legs out of bed I could feel my left swing out more.

As soon I stood I was sure, it would be a good day; the “first stand” has always been a good indicator for me. A few steps towards my door were good, yet before I got into the bathroom I noticed a pain in my right foot- the good one. Not so much pain, very blunt and dull feeling and almost easy to ignore, so I did. On with the morning duties, I ended up staying barefoot as I’d left my shoes downstairs. On my way to go down, I took the right at the top of the stairs, into my sons’ old room.

Empty now except for a bed, dresser and a shelf or two it’s got enough floor space to walk around in and the carpet and padding felt so good on my feet. Except for my right foot, I kept feeling something under the pad of my foot, down by the pinkie toe, like stepping on a dime. I walked a few circles in there and not quite sure what was going on with my right foot, I went downstairs to put on my shoes, as I really can’t risk doing any more damage to myself- nothing that could slow my recovery any more. Checking email and putting on water for tea, all the usual stuff. Hung from the pull-up bar until the water was ready and had a few good cracks, though nothing big or deep.

Walking around, it just wouldn’t go away, if anything it got worse. Well, bigger- the throbbing area felt thick, the size of a peanut M&M now- though, the ‘pain’ was more of just.. well, umm like my pinky toe bone just saying “Here I am!”.

So I stepped on it. That is how the soul says hello in footese. LOL, just kidding. But I did step on it, I guess I just wanted to see if I could make it worse or make it go away. It kinda throbbed back at me, then throbbed my left foot- the bad one- in the same place too.

So I said hello to that foot too without thinking about it and it didn’t hurt- all at. Another step or two, back and forth each time landing- normally at first, then harder. The peanut-sized pains would just pooph away when I landed and return when my knee was at the apex. Something was different. Something big. I took my shoes back off and took some slow steps. Prancing my foot down, I was now catching myself across the base of all five toes. Holding still my foot, just one of them and each of them, had three points of contact.

I’ve been working on my left leg constantly, and some directions and movements have been more painful with it than others. With it, it’s usually out to the side or behind me, less so to the front or across my body. Trying to stand still I tend to keep my weight over the right side of myself, so I’ve been working on shifting left. Which, hurt the most, as I could feel it places on the outside edge of my foot, my lower leg, and my thigh- all the places that tingled yesterday.

Now, I could feel my foot and ankle flex my knee to the outside and my foot was glued- GLUED to the floor. My heel, the outside edge, and the bases of each of my toes even distributed and shifted as my body moved- if I focus on the spot that hurt. The peanut sized.. where was it? I almost lost it. I hurried to take more steps and found the right spot again, if I press there first.. I put on my shoes and kept moving.

It was like prancing, I don’t have the strength to keep my heel of the ground, yet I could do it fast- really fast and the movement wasn’t seizing my leg with the spastic reaction at all- if I landed on the right spot. I went outside, the house was too small. Up and down my drive way, faster and further, prancing on it, jumping on it. The first big jump hurt a touch and the second one my knee remembered how to bounce. Back and forth I went inside to grab my phone and I went for a run.

A run. I went for a run.

Now, I wish I could tell you the story of what I felt in some kind of detail, before, during and after, and yes, I will try, yet a cinematographer with a million dollar budget could not duplicate the facial expression montage as I ran for everything in my life. There was no lion, tiger or bear behind me and there were so many things ahead of me, if I can run there is so much I can do. Rounding the first corner off the sidewalk and east on Gibson, my neighbor was outside. I couldn’t even look, I would have fallen.

Whatever sort of prancing I was doing, it was ugly, asymmetrical lunges, with no timing, sequence, or cadence. An assortment of motions that had no form as if a giant octopus was wearing Forrest Gump’s leg braces. No truck chasing behind me, yet neither did I want to see the look on my neighbor’s face, no more of that.  Not another person with a polite ‘what’s wrong with you’ look, or a ‘you okay’ head nod, or the dreaded ‘we’re proud of you little bugger, keep on chugging’ look on one more face. –not that I don’t love the encouragement too sometimes, I’m just sick of needing it.

I would have fallen because I didn’t know what I was doing and the ankle had no plans of using its social graces with the neighbor. Bouncing one foot to the other and first aiming for that dime pad at the base of my pinkie toes, I lifted my head up the the horizon and gave control over to my ankle. I’ve given him some heat lately and it seems he had something to show us all today. Everyone followed him for the changes- again, there was nothing that resembled choreography here, just trying to avoid the “and we all fall down” line while moving at a high rate of speed (well, three mph,) over the quality Jackson asphalt.

I’d like to think I topped five or six miles per hour on that straightaway towards wells street. Here’s the scene where the octopus grows a spine, solidifies his pelvis and slides it forward (that’s basically like the ‘over the top’ turning the hat backwards,) the leg braces fall away and my form was perfect for at least twenty feet. I rounded the second corner with speed, enough speed I had to lean into the turn and my ankle, it had one last trick to show us.

Nitrous boost from the outside tire on the turn, no worries the right side said, we’ve been pacing it for you.  The ankle winked and sent it. Coming out of the turn and onto the back straightaway he rebounded and pushed then stretched and soared as if Michael Jordan was his personal coach. No problem the brain said, time to equalize the controls, we’re going full speed and we went sailing down the way.

Then my heart began to have an issue.  Ahh.. hey guys.. ahh guys.. ahhh GUYS, WTF are you doing? The ankle laughed and laughed, as my brain dialed it all back and damn near made us fall over to the left side. Not feeling so weak today, as it seems he’s been waiting for a little upline support from the calf and thigh, and he wanted to show the rest of me that he wasn’t the only weak link lately. My soul was impressed and gave him a round of genuine kudos and asked him to remember the team.

It felt GOOD to run, no matter how badly it might have looked, no matter how bad my heart thought the entire idea was, no matter what the entire left side of my body thought about the idea. I can run. What can be done can be improved. Still almost falling with every step, I started to try to control my pace- I cannot walk, I must run- what’s the difference at this speed? my brain asked my soul. Just keep us together and in sync my guy, calculate something. Dude pulled out a slide rule and made us a plan to get us home upright, alive, and still running. Cue Scotty with a “We’re giving it all we got Captain!”

Eyes on the horizon and the closer to Ganson I got I could feel the back of my leg pulling tight and my left foot was starting to pull to the inside. Starting to roll right the brain pushed the throttle on that side and that ankle was down there shouting “team work make the dream work”.

Down Ganson and rounding the last corner there was a last dire warning. We weren’t going to make it, I didn’t know the number yet I was sure the number of steps remaining at this pace was not enough to close the distance before I feel. Back to the last analogy, we’ve got Gordie now telling us that warp core ejection could be fatal. Okay, now cue the “eye of the tiger” audio and flashback to the training montage, there we go, now quickly back to the finish line.

The team was going down, the soul was pushing forward yet gravity was about to pull our nose into the concrete. Come on guys, come on guys, you can do it, you can do it, the ankle is our rally guy. I got this, we got this, x number of steps cool, we control the size of the steps I can take a little pain. And yes, bit of pain maybe as he found some of range of motion he’d been saving for a rainy day, yet was glad to pour out for the effort today. More lunges for distance crossing the bank’s driveway and the crowd went wild as the ribbon broke at my sides.

Stopping at my car, unbelievably alive, I caught my breathe and walked over to sit on my porch. Oh, does this feel good. Oh, if I can run I can fly. If I can run there is almost nothing I can’t do, with time. I just sat there for a while, smiling. Thanking God.

I did other things too today, yet that has already faded from my mind. I ran. I ran today. My foot moved and pranced and ran. Oh, this is so good. My foot started to swell up a bit later on and remembering I wanted to ride today, I thought I better squeeze it in while I could. I’ve got a feeling my ankle is going to want the day off tomorrow.

The bike has been good, just difficult to keep my foot on the pedal, so I solved that tonight with some duct tape and it seemed to work pretty well.  My leg still has plenty of knots left in it, and I think that’s the issue with my cycle stroke as well, as my knee goes around, it tries to duck inward at some point to avoid using the wrong painful muscle.

I had planned on riding to the Tobacco Shoppe, yet I couldn’t make it up Ganson to Lansing Ave. Coming close to Blackstone, I decided to turn around and ride through downtown instead and backtracked to Jackson Street, turning south. That was a nice idea and maybe I’ll do that one day. Not today though, a block down I turned north again and just hoped I could make it up the hill and back home.

Multispeeds are nice and I am glad I have three to choose from- yet I also got passed by three kids on electric bikes- so have a twelve volt speed option sure seems nice, just not a part of today’s reality. I made it home and yeah, did more stuff.

My foot hurts, along the top of it, like four lines burning down into each toe, it’s all swollen and puffy again now and it might be awhile before I can can run again, yet I have decimated the amount of time I’ll have to wait. Not ‘one day’ or maybe next year or next month. More like the day after tomorrow, or the day after that.

I can run.

Time to rest.




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