Monday, March 1, 2021

Sticks and Wheels

The ever-cheerful and quietly but persistently diligent Takaoka-san deserves some sort of medal. The house-call physical therapist has to put up with my tendency to underestimate risk and overestimate my ability, trying to prevent me from causing a self-inflicted catastrophe--this would not be a good time to break a leg again, for example--while at the same time encouraging me to progress in my rehab. He would clearly prefer to take things steadily and in small, safe increments. I, on the other hand, have a definite "I want it all, and I want it now!" attitude much of the time, despite my efforts to leaven my enthusiasm with a little sensible caution. Moderation has never really been my strong suit, though.

This morning he brought along the pair of Lofstrand crutches that I've been using at the rehab center lately. He stopped by there on the way to my place to pick them up, with the aim of assessing and improving my skill at walking with them in the less-forgiving and more straitened home environment. The idea was to see how well I could navigate narrow spaces and movement impediments while performing everyday functions in the various rooms of the house, and to provide me with pointers on how to move more smoothly and safely. That worked very well. So well, in fact, that it seemed to me that the area of operation could be expanded a bit, and the functions increased.

After he'd gone to the trouble of picking up the crutches, it seemed to me that we might as well see how well I could use them to get around the yard's very uneven surfaces, moving along over loose gravel, tree roots, branches, and the like. That was apparently activity that Takaoka-san had tentatively scheduled for a near-future date, as was the experiment of entering the car with the crutches for the first time, and the subsequent eventually successful but briefly too exciting entry to my genkan.

Since we were so close to the condo next door, it then seemed like a good idea to me to determine whether I was up to climbing their difficult stairs using the Lofstrand sticks. I did manage it, but I'm afraid that it was pretty stressful for the long-suffering PT. He'd planned that practice for still further in the future (and rightly so, to be honest: I'm not up to doing that smoothly, yet, and it was a bit foolhardy of me to try it, despite being successful). He's very good about gently discouraging me from doing really unwise things, and very gamely supports my efforts to push things just a bit more every week.

I was glad to see that he was obviously genuinely pleased to learn that I had passed my senior driver's assessment yesterday. It was concrete evidence of the result of his hard work--and that of the other therapists and helpers in the rehab center--in helping me deal with a serious lifestyle hurdle.

He and his colleagues are sure to be pleased when they learn that this afternoon I was successful in getting my driver's license renewed; that's one of the major goals we'd been working toward, and that it went well is a tribute to their diligence and skill. 

There's a certain hint of the surreal in being able to drive somewhat more capably than I can walk, but getting along fairly smoothly both on the Lofstrand crutch sticks and on the car's wheels is improved mobility on two fronts, and a definite improvement over the wheelchair. I'm looking forward to the expression on the PTs' faces when I point out--innocently, in passing--that the new license still includes the motorcycle permission.

No comments: