Life Without Crutches

Isabel - Canyon Lake, Texas
Entered on May 30, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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I believe in recovery.

I had foot surgery one year ago and I can remember when I was wheeled into the anesthetics room and they asked me to start the countdown. Nervously I began, “10…9…8…” Blackness.

For two months I was completely incapable of walking on my on two feet. I needed crutches, casts, or walking boots just to make through the day and the idea of walking without those things seemed thoroughly impossible. Being the mess that I was, as I sat in the physical therapy room I had my good foot was tapping, I couldn’t stop humming, and my mind was rambling. Staring at the clock I watched the minutes tick by until my name was called.

In the room, with its calming green walls and dozens laminated posters, I hobbled toward some machine. I have never really dealt well failure, but when I sat down to unstrap my boot that was the thought I was overwhelmed with. I had fallen hundreds of times and even been told I spend 1/3 of my life on the ground, but this was the only time I can remember being afraid to fall.

I breathed slowly in and out until I thought I was ready. Looking down, I felt like the machine had disappeared from beneath my feet and a tightrope had taken its place. This was it; this is what I had been waiting for over eight weeks. Letting go of the bars, I took a step and collapsed under the pain. I tried again, but the same thing happened. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to do this.

Someone in the room told me to if concentrated on something and not fully let go of the bars walking would be easier. I took the advice and stared at some paint chip in the wall till I was ready again. I had taken about two full steps, but then the pain caught up with me and tore into my foot. In that moment I know I felt so many things, but now I can only remember feeling embarrassment and pride in the few steps I had taken.

Today, once again walking is a second nature. It takes no thought and my biggest concern is usually not tripping over my own feet.

My road to recovery could be classified under many things. It required hours to relearn something that should never have been forgotten, but it also required trust in myself. Yes, tears were shed and the process was overwhelming at times, but most great moments involve those things. Recovery is not about giant leaps and bounds, but small steps. And eventually the triumphs do outweigh the failures. That is why I truly believe in recovery.