Tuesday, June 7, 2011
SCI: San Jose ("I Got Shoes")
These are my legs. Only a small handful of people will note anything unusual here. My legs look about the same. Nothing terribly odd about my preoccupation with me. The legs as photographed have compression stockings, discount bulk package Fruit of the Loom cotton socks, and my most stylish ankle-foot orthotics (leg braces). This is my standard leg dressing from day to day.
As a spinal cord patient, I am thrilled my recovery of nerve function has advanced enough that my neurosurgeon, and therapists have closed my cases. I have experienced great recoveries, and they keep coming! As I have begun my second year of rehabilitation (anniversary May 24, 2011), I continue to grab onto my therapists' recommendations.
Piece by piece, I learn how many things, therapists' suggestions, that I pushed to the back of my mind- or disregarded out of hand- have turned out to be the points on which my greatest developments were founded. So, I realize many of my turn-arounds and breakthroughs came after my body had developed sufficient strength and nerve reprogramming to msake these experiences possible, I also know that following some, or all of my therapists' advice, may have advanced this process even more, and much faster.
So, in the past, my therapist recommended I wear stockings, but then my skin was unhealthy, and that had to wait. I was told long ago to buy shoes, and I told her I did not stand or walk and thus did not need them.
When my skin healed, and I was able to wear stockings, my life improved. Then, one day, I attempted to buy shoes, but only found sandals that fit. My life improved again. She capitulated and said the sandals would be fine for now. With my swollen legs sufficiently managed, I received my okay to get my legs cast for my ankle-foot orthotics. I discovered new abilities and new recoveries with each change.
So, with the eventual acquisition of my orthotics, I continued my therapy, my hours in my standing frame, my expectation of greater freedom, of eventually walking again. I realized recently that I had not worn shoes in over eighteen months, maybe even two years time. The sandals I bought over a year ago were falling apart; the velcro fasteners no longer fastened, and all my experience led me to one conclusion: it is time to buy shoes.
I attempted to find shoes with my mother once, and failed to find shoes large enough to accommodate my big feet. Then, recently I was near a Red Wing shoe store, and the man inside told me he does not have what I need. But, he knew a store that he assured me could meet my need.
I went to that store with my mother. Thrilled that I could finally find a pair of shoes that would meet my needs. I found shoes that fit, and were easy to put on my feet. Still, I was bothered by the pressure on my feet, and my Mom - still jet-lagged from a vacation overseas- reminded me that I am probably not used to wearing shoes at all.
I was assured enough to take the shoes, even wearing them out, and kissing my Mom good bye. I was out on the road when I needed to get out of my chair, and transfer to another seat. This is when I came to appreciate this one last piece of advice. My therapist's initial suggestion for me to buy shoes was now over a year old. When I lifted out of my chair, I stood temporarily to make my transfer, and had a brand new experience. My legs felt grounded. In fact, it felt like I had steel rods running through the heels of my feet into the earth.
At the same time, I was also able to move my feet with a fluidity and decisiveness I had not known in years. Today is a special day indeed. I am well pleased with these shoes.
Thank you for reading