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This Livejournal is now all about walking - EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

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January 14th, 2014


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08:05 pm - This Livejournal is now all about walking
I have lived in Somerville for ten years now without a car, and in that time I've become very proud of how well I can walk. I mean it: When all conditions are optimal, I can put one foot in front of the other and then repeat like nobody's freakin' business. Right now conditions are suboptimal, but buddy you can bet that were I not in a cast, I'd still be walking around like a goddamn champ.

After several walking trips around home this week and last, I just did the map-measurin' math and have determined that my current effective range on crutches is a third of a mile, which is enough to get me into Davis Square on a good day if I have eaten and am feeling energetic. The walk involves a hill and I have to stop many times to catch my breath and give my hands a rest, but I can make it--and then promptly collapse onto a chair all sweaty and mutter something about that's it we're taking the bus. (People have continued to be very good to me on buses and for that I am very grateful.) I've also done from Mass Ave in North Cambridge down the bike path to Davis, but then I had to take a cab home because I just couldn't handle that last 1/3 mile. I don't like not being able to handle making it home on my own power.

It's amazing and a little depressing how the lack of mobility has severely reduced my scope of travel. To put things into perspective, Sonya and I routinely walk two miles between our home and Harvard Square, or three if our destination is Kendall. This summer we often walked from Sonya's old place in Winter Hill to Lechmere and sometimes beyond. We've walked a few times from the South End up Mass Ave, across the river and back home. And it was no big deal except maybe I got sometimes tired after a lot of walking. We are just Good Walkers, Dammit, and now I'm taking rest stops every 50 yards. I am extremely frustrated. I keep saying yay, it can only get better as I go along, but it doesn't lighten the fact that there I was, standing in a doorway avoiding the rain again, and I'm upset because I can't even walk from the Harvard Square Garage to the taxi stand by Out-Of-Town News without taking many breaks. S'demoralizing and it gets me angry and you can't get angry with the crutches no matter how much you want to because slamming them on the ground hurts your hands and they don't have ears to listen to your cussing-at anyway. And nobody else ought to listen to it either.

What bugs me the most is that I will be in this foot cast for nearly six weeks total which is just enough time for me to actually, you know, adjust to it all before starting the physical therapy and getting adjusted to walking again. My range probably won't improve for a long time. I will consider walks to Porter victories. You have to have some kind of victory to earn every now and then.

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:bex77
Date:January 15th, 2014 01:52 am (UTC)
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There's probably a good reason why not, but I am wondering if you could use one of those little razor scooters or some such, to put the cast on and zoom with the other foot? I hope you heal quickly and are back galavanting around soon!
[User Picture]
From:joenotcharles
Date:January 15th, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure you need to put your weight on the scooter while you're zooming.
[User Picture]
From:ooshiny
Date:January 15th, 2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
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There are actually scooters made for people with bum legs/ankles - kinda like this. I wouldn't necessarily get it through Amazon, but you might even be able to rent/borrow one from your local American Legion. When I got out of the hospital in 2009 I temporarily needed a wheelchair and various home accessibility stuff, like a toilet booster seat and a shower chair, and they loaned all of it to us free of charge. (And yes, all of the bathroom stuff was 100% clean and sanitized.) It just didn't make sense to go out and buy all of that crap when I was 29 and expected to make a full recovery. I did get my very own walker, which the home health nurse advised me I needed to keep for at least 5 years, because I wouldn't be eligible for another one under my insurance until then. I have about 5 months to go before I can safely throw it ceremoniously into a trash compactor.
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From:derspatchel
Date:January 15th, 2014 08:27 pm (UTC)
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I never was adept at staying on those with two good feet! I am having fun in a wheelchair onstage, though, so there's definitely zooming going on when it can happen.

The main drawback to mobility right now is the weather. The terrain can be horrible after precipitation of any kind, and I wear enough layers for a normal person to stay warm in but they get absolutely soaked after so much physical exertion. On the other hand, I almost kind of maybe want to try to take up downhill skiing next winter, or at least get out for some cross-country skiing.
[User Picture]
From:sovay
Date:January 15th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
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On the other hand, I almost kind of maybe want to try to take up downhill skiing next winter, or at least get out for some cross-country skiing.

I ski'd cross-country for two or three winters as a kid. I'd be willing to learn again.

(I feel like taking up downhill skiing immediately after healing from a broken bone is mildly tempting fate.)
[User Picture]
From:bex77
Date:January 15th, 2014 02:04 am (UTC)
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And another thing… if you want rides, let us know!
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From:derspatchel
Date:January 16th, 2014 02:47 am (UTC)
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Thank you very kindly.
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From:r_ness
Date:January 15th, 2014 02:18 am (UTC)
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I don't imagine this is going to be much consolation, but after some months of crutching around in a New England winter, I developed outstanding upper body strength. I was entirely unaware of what I had done until I went into the gym to do PT on my legs and discovered that I was finding the various weight-training machines for my arms absurdly easy.

Oh. Right.

Anyway, it's quite impressive the kind of pectoral muscles one develops when one is using them to walk.

One thing I can say that might be reassuring is that my endurance on crutches did improve significantly as the weeks passed.

Best of luck, get better soon, and please let me know if you're stuck for a ride.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:January 15th, 2014 10:05 pm (UTC)
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Oh, indeed. I have definitely noticed my upper body strength improving, and my good leg is slowly turning into steel. Am also welcoming the callouses on my hands.

And thank you for the ride offer.
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From:tyopsqueene
Date:January 15th, 2014 07:38 am (UTC)
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I walk a great deal (er, can't drive!) and I do try to think about what it would - or will - be like to have reduced mobility in later years. I think it's a great opportunity to campaign hard *now* for reforms to public transport and communities that will benefit us *later*.
I say this having just sent off a giant rant to our Post Office company re. their plan to move the local one to a new site a kilometre away. They're all 'it's only 1k' and I'm 'it serves sheltered housing and a massive retirement estate and a huge population of parents with kids in strollers you massive ableist jerks!'

I am not sure it will make any difference but it's a healthy new perspective to add to your humanity. This doesn't stop it sucking, obv.
[User Picture]
From:muffyjo
Date:January 16th, 2014 05:28 am (UTC)
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Your arms will be gorgeous. :) You will be able to chin-ups with ease and crush rocks with your bare hands.
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From:moon_custafer
Date:January 16th, 2014 05:53 pm (UTC)
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Wrestle poodles and win!!

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