I’m calling it a Milestone

At the end of 2023 I wrote on Caring Bridge: “I may post again when there is a major milestone, e.g. walking unaided…But that might be posted to my blog instead…” (unless I have a relapse, the Caring Bridge site will sit as is..so Blog it is)

I began walking short distances unaided a couple of months ago….twice a week and with a Physical Therapist beside me, holding onto the gait belt wrapped around my body.

Shelly and I started practicing here in the apartment a week or so ago. Recently we jettisoned the gait belt while inside the apartment and it progressed to what you can see in the short attached video.

While I don’t wear a yellow bracelet, I am a fall risk. (especially when you consider my lifelong klutziness…) I’m pretty careful…maybe too much so.

Therapists have pointed out that I need to have more confidence in my abilities, but I know what a broken hip could mean to a clumsy septuagenarian.

My gait is getting better as I try to focus on “heel-toe” and taking longer steps…but “high stepping” is a long ways away. (in the video you can see that I’m barely clearing the carpet.) Even with my walker, tall curbs are challenging.

Steps without handrails?

Forget it!!

(Heck…forget steps in general.)

When I was in the hospital for 38 days I often said “I’ve always been determined, but not all that disciplined.” I need to be more disciplined and dedicated, but the constant nerve pain and lack of stamina increase the challenges. {Being a contrarian sometimes isn’t the smartest thing…}

I’m a high pain threshold guy (i’ve had dentists from coasts to coasts tell me that), but the transverse myelitis pain is never below a 2or3. The spasms boost it by at least a factor of 2or3. The tightness around my knees and hips compounds things. (Sometimes it feels like I have braces around my lower half)

But I’m at the point that grinning and bearing it seems to be the answer, along with lots of gabapentin and some self-medicating with thc gummies and/or a vape pen.

Stamina, or the lack thereof, is maddening. I used to do 12 thousand steps a day and not think twice. Sometimes double that. Now 12 hundred steps wears me out.

I used to carry a watermelon in a bag under one arm and a bag of groceries in the other up the steps to our third floor apartment. Now I avoid steps. (Soon we’ll see if I can lift a watermelon…)

I used to dig in the dirt with a pitchfork and a spade in 5 4×4 boxes. Now loosening the soil with a hand tool in one has me needing a break.

The good friend who wrote is right: “The endurance will come over time & with repetition.”

So was Jimmy V: “Don’t give up…Don’t ever give up!!”

I’ve watched the video a few times, and I gotta tell you that it doesn’t feel as good as it looks!! I don’t feel like Tim Conway, but it feels awkward and janky.

And it feels GREAT!!

I passed it along earlier to a handful of people. The replies had me thinking/laughing/crying (tears of joy). {Jimmy V moments make life worth living.}

So do friends….and their support.

That’s awesome! You have come a long way!”

This is beautiful, Steve, even if it’s a shame that it’s so exhausting.”

Oh man, I am smiling so big! This is incredible, Steve!!! Hard work is paying off! ????????????????????????”

This is such a great step! Or should I say steps! Thanks for sharing. You go!”

I am so impressed. I can’t imagine how much perseverance and hard work is behind all this. You are the MAN! And, way to go, Shelly!!” {this one from a cancer survivor with long term issues…it opened the flood gates}

Very good…..wear a path in that carpet!!!????”

Not gonna list them all. They know who they are…and that I love them.

I’m grateful and lucky.

Nobody is gonna see me walking unaided for awhile(other than Shelly and the folks at the therapy gym).

When we leave The Abbey, you’ll probably see me on a walker. Maybe a cane. And with best caregiver ever!!! (am I a lucky old coot or what?! OkCupid was very good to me!!)

Unaided walking will be inside the apartment or at PT…and there will be a gait belt when I’m at Cox.

Swing by here and you can see for yourself!!

I’d love to show off for you…give you a hug…and hear your voice.

Be. Just Be.


5 thoughts on “I’m calling it a Milestone

  1. Haven’t seen you in a long time so, with a grain of salt, you look wonderful in my eyes. Keep on. Turn up the music cuz you need a little rhythm in your new step.

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