October 5, 2010

Getting There is Half The Battle

Today I decided to venture out of the house on my own.  I went to Sam's Club, where I discovered that many of the aisles are not wheelchair-friendly, with products stashed at 6 feet plus off the ground.  Fortunately I was able to stand on my one good leg and reach for items that I needed that were on the top shelf...  This was an exercise in frustration and humility for sure.  To say that I *dislike* the Mart-Cart (or similar devices) is an understatement.  I hate using them, I hate the looks I get from other users (particularly the over-sized and lazy variety) and I really hate the "poor you" glances that I get from folks who are able-bodied and trotting around the store under their own power.  I sometimes wonder if these people understand that my condition is temporary... After all, I have a boot and crutches; not a cane and a prosthetic leg.  I would gladly walk around the store if I could... but for now I just can't.  It's infinitely frustrating to me because I am normally an active and avid walker.  I try to get 1-2 miles in daily, in addition to the walking around my office (cafeteria, bathroom, etc...).  I would suspect that if I wore an accurate pedometer that I would probably be logging closer to 3 miles daily.  Just 5 days before my foot surgery, I completed a 10k walking race, so to be bound by the constraints of a cam boot and crutches is very annoying right now.
My rant this evening stems from my frustration with the continued lack of mobility that I am experiencing... I am just getting really tired of being home-bound, but I also get tired (exhausted!) when I try to do too much when I go out.  I also am hesitant to try to drive on the highway since I'm still taking pain medications... I figure that if I stick to the side-roads, I won't be as at-risk of running into other wacky drivers since I'll be going a little slower...  may be fuzzy logic, but whatever.  I read somewhere that walking with crutches takes (on average) 30% more energy than bipedal (feet only) walking.  At first I pooh-poohed the idea, but the more I think about it, I realize that this is probably true, and it may be even more than 30% with the way that I truck along on the crutches!  I don't subscribe to the standard crutch-walking "rules" of not allowing your feet to swing ahead of the crutches when moving forward...  instead I place the crutches about 2 feet ahead, then swing my good foot 2 feet ahead of those, nearly matching my normal walking stride.  If I'm on a level surface and I'm not already exhausted, I can whip around on the crutches pretty damn efficiently!  It's just that a lot of the time, I'm already wiped out.  I haven't been sleeping well due to leg cramps; I am taking Vicodin (for pain); calcium and Vitamin D supplements (may help with cramping); eating bananas (for potassium) and trying to drink as much water as possible to keep my muscles hydrated... and despite my best efforts I am still getting the little gremlin-bite feelings in the back of my leg. Not quite a full-blown charley-horse, but more like a pinching sensation that I try to quash as quickly as possible to prevent the full-on cramping...  since my ankle is supposed to be non-bending, and my leg is still non-weight-bearing, I don't want to try to stand up to alleviate a cramp, nor do I want to have the cramp occur and force my foot to extend. 
That's all for this evening.  Just had to remember what it is that frustrated me today when I tried to shop on my own...

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