Time flies: two shoes and “real” driving

I had a slight surprise at PT this morning when I realized that I was almost 9 weeks post-op and not 7.5.  I decided that was a better mistake than thinking I was further along than I really am.

I wore two shoes at last Monday’s PT session, but was told then to use the boot for all but short distances.  As it turns out, I’ve only had it on twice since then — to work on Tuesday, and then to go out to breakfast and run errands on Saturday.  Part of that decision was based on wanting as much normalcy as possible, but part of it was driven by the fact that I had shoulder surgery on Wednesday and didn’t really want to rely on other people to help me get dressed. Fortunately, it’s still warm enough here to wear sandals, which I could just slip on.  They have a very good arch support, so my foot/ankle wasn’t stressed too much.  By this morning, I had enough ROM in my shoulder to be able to tie my own shoes, so put on a pair of 1/2-size-too-big Merell hiking shoes (with a pretty flexible heel counter to minimize pressure) and headed off to PT.

It was a long session (I’m rehabbing both injuries at the same time, but paying only one copay!) and tiring. Today was the first day I’ve stretched my achilles while standing;  we added in multiple sets of step-ups, step-overs, balance exercises, and several different gait exercises.  As lots of others here have said, there’s a big difference between how I walk when I move slowly and concentrate, and how I do when I’m in a hurry and/or not paying attention.  I probably would have avoided several injuries over the years if I’d moved more slowly and paid more attention to what I was doing; too bad it took achilles surgery to get me to realize that!  At the end of PT, I asked again about using the boot; this week, I was told to keep it in my car for those times when I would be on my feet all day and might need a break.  Tomorrow will be the first day that most of my students will have seen me without a boot on!  There is still almost 1.5 inch difference between the two calves, so I still look lopsided.  I’ll just have to dazzle people with the smoothness of my gait :)

The left-foot accelerator has to be back in Indiana by the middle of this week, so I shipped it off on Saturday and started driving with my left foot for the first time in over 8 weeks.  I moved the car seat a little closer than I usually like it so that it would be easier on my ankle, and put about 50 miles on the car on Sunday. Other than a little fatigue near the end, it felt pretty normal.  I’m very happy with the decision to rent the accelerator; it let me get as much of my life back as possible under the circumstances.

6 Responses to “Time flies: two shoes and “real” driving”

  1. Upstate,

    I’m new to this forum (two weeks post-op on right achilles) and have not heard of a left foot accelerator. Can you tell me more about it?

    Steve

  2. Shoes and driving, Brilliant!
    Your progression to shoes sounds exactly like mine. I do think about pushing off every step correctly rather than flat foot walking and it goes horribly wrong when I pick up the speed.
    I did find driving good physio ( I think the fatigue is good?) and so good to get independence back.

  3. Steve, I first saw mention of the left foot accelerator somewhere on this site, and started looking. It’s a device that has a pedal on the left side of the foot well, attached to the gas pedal, so that you step on the gas (and brake) with your left foot instead of your right. It only works if you have automatic transmission, but seemed to me to be safer that trying to reach across the brake and my boot to the accelerator. It takes a little getting used to, but if you live by yourself, like I do, and don’t have access to public transportation, it’s really helpful. I rented mine for $100/month; I started using it when I was about 4 weeks post op, and sent it back 4 weeks later.

    I would recommend checking the laws in your state (country?) to see if you need a special license, etc. I didn’t, but wouldn’t assume that all states are as anti-regulation as SC is.

  4. Nicky, are you back at work yet? If so, how long was there between going into two shoes and being able to stay on your feet long enough to work? I pace constantly when I teach, and sitting down for most, if not all, of a class is driving me nuts!

  5. Congrats Upstate,

    It must be nice! I hope you are having fun out there (I feel as if I am in jail at times at 4 weeks - LOL). Be careful and ride on my ATR buddy. :-)

    I wish you a quick recovery.
    Ron

  6. Very good to hear that you can drive and be as active driving as you are! I’m so jealous haha. Keep up the great progress!

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