Week 9: Strength in Vulnerability

It is amazing how much you take for granted the action of walking and the dynamics of how your body moves in order to propel itself. You don’t realize exactly how it works until you have to re-learn how to do it.

I am starting make real progress in my range of motion and have hit my 100 degree goal in 3 weeks of PT. I’m now at -4 on straightening my leg which is much better than it was before. This makes it much more comfortable in laying down to sleep.

ROM

I have been putting more and more weight while using the crutches and I’m now at 100 percent. I’m not quite ready to drop the crutches but I’m knocking on the door and hopefully will be down to 1 crutch or a cane shortly. This will make me very happy because I’ll be able to use my hands again to carry things and function in my daily life much better.

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Another benchmark was I got to get on the bike this week. The first time, I was doing half rotations where my right leg would drive forward until the brace locked and then back until it locked, basically give me 75 percent of a circle back and forth. My leg seems to have responded very well to this and I think it’s been a bit of a confidence builder. Now, I can fully get around but I’m at a very gentle pace with it.

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They say that when you haven’t done something in a while that if it’s easy to pick back up again, it’s like riding a bike and something that you never forget. This is true and I feel like my leg, if it had a heart, is happy for the movement.

Another issue has been that when you don’t walk on a leg for a long while and your mostly locked in a brace, the rest of your leg gets a bit cranky. For a while my calf and ankle were very tight. Now that they are getting more action again they are loosening back up.

Next week in physical therapy is a big week as my next doctor’s appointment is on Thursday and I want to try to be in good form for that.

The last couple of days my ear has been hurting as I am prone to ear infections and last night was very painful. I went into work for a couple of hours and then had to go get it checked. As expected, it’s an outer ear infection and I got drops and antibiotics for it.

It was very interesting to go into a hospital, on crutches, and yet, I’m not there for my leg. So instead of having to tell 1 story of why I was there to everyone in the process, I had to tell 2. It was pretty humorous. Yes, I know I’m on crutches with a giant brace but no, that’s not why I’m here.

On the emotional front, I’m currently dealing with a lot of stress. Nothing drastic but across the board, I’ve realized that all that people see with an injury is the physical. They have no idea how strenuous it is emotionally and mentally. When you normally perform at a high level like I do, people’s expectations of you are high. When they see you physically getting better they just assume that you can go back to how you were in putting in long hours just like that, which is not true.

Your energy levels emotionally and mentally take time to rebuild. It’s a traumatic event.

I heard a Ted talk today where a sociologist spoke about vulnerability. She stated that our main purpose here is connection and we are biologically programmed to seek it. The tool of division is shame. Shame is when you are afraid that if people knew something about you that they wouldn’t want to connect with you.

She found in her study of several years of interviews that there are 2 main groups of people and they are divided on how they handle shame. 1 group is courageous in being vulnerable because they believe themselves to be worthy of connection. The other group does not believe they are worthy and are held back by their fear of shame.

She stated that the word courage comes from Latin and that it literally means full of heart or wholehearted. So those that are courageous, know vulnerability and do it wholeheartedly, knowing they are worthy of connection. Knowing fear and doing it anyway.

This struck a chord with me because this injury definitely has put me in a vulnerable place. I decided that I would share that vulnerability because I felt like it would help other people. Maybe someone else is going through something that they can relate to my journey on. Being vulnerable is my tool connect to others despite what people may think of me in it. In doing so, I become stronger in myself. It’s a journey of growth.

I also found this video about Inky Johnson. Inky was very talented corner a the University of Tennessee who’s injury left him almost killed him. It’s spoken with such passion. I felt every word of it and I want to share it.

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