It comes in waves. The change is not steady, it is not predictable, it is uncertain. Just when I think that I've made a break-through, that I will be pain-free and fluid-of-gait, I wake up the next morning to find my muscles locked and my hip laughing at my plans.
It makes keeping a smile on my face more of a challenge some days than others.
Between the pool and the vibration platform and the tender ministrations of my PT and my pilates instructors, I had a great day yesterday. I was able to distribute my weight evenly on my feet, left to right, front to back. After being reassured that the first few steps were less important than the overall quality of the walk itself, I gave up my disgust at the hitch-in-my-gitty-up as I rose from the couch. Concentrating on getting the synovial fluid moving in and around my joint, I circled my hip in the socket, rocked back and forth, and strode out.
It felt great. I pushed off my right foot as my leg found itself further behind my body than it had been in years. Years.... I try not to think about how long it's been and most of the time I am successful. Every once in a while, though, the reality hits me like a brick. Yesterday, the weight was not that heavy.
I found my hips on an even plane, centered above my ankles. My right hip was not hiked up. My right shoulder was neither in my ear nor reaching for my waist. I could feel the long vertical muscles in my back engaging as I admired my posture in the window I passed. I haven't admired my posture in a very long time. It was a lovely moment.
Curled on the couch as TBG watched Kevin Durant fail to rescue his Oklahoma City teammates from elimination, I finished the Merle Reagle crossword puzzle from last Thursday's paper. As I rose to recycle the page, I realized that my legs really had been curled up on the couch. My knees were fully bent and my hips were creased.... folded.... bent.... in a way they had not been for years. Years.... only this time it made me smile. I've come a long way.
I've been working on my endurance, on stretching out the length of time I can walk-with-good-form. I've been able to put together five or six steps for a while; crossing a wide avenue with that gait before the light changes has been something else entirely. Yesterday, I didn't have to think about it at all. It was just there.
I summer-ized the irrigation system the way I used to winterize Annabelle, my first car. I checked for leaks. Annabelle was a '67 Chevy Impala; she was large, but her parts were all in one place and she required minimal walking for a full assessment. My irrigation system covers 1.3 acres and cannot be fully seen from any one spot. I had to walk, and walk I did.
I bent, I sat, I knelt. I carried the box of goof plugs and scissors from the garage-cum-potting-shed to the leak beneath the lantana, to the spray under the mesquite tree, to the middle of the long length of tubing. I needed my kneeling pad and I walked back to the shelf to retrieve it. I crouched beneath the desert willow and moved the emitters out to the edge of the expanding canopy. I was up and down and leaning forward and sitting backward and notice my hip at all.
It took me a mite longer to stand up than it might have before I was perforated, but that was perfectly okay with me. I was down there, on the ground, doing the work. Eighteen months ago that was merely a dream. Yesterday, I had the dirty hands and sweaty brow to prove that it was real.
This business of retrieving the self which was lost is full of twists and turns. Though I woke up today with muscle soreness and bone weary tiredness, I have yesterday tucked firmly away for those moments when it all becomes too much. I've proven to myself that there is hope, that I will get better.
I know I will heal.