Learning To Walk Again

It’s a strange feeling, learning to walk again.  Because of the surgery to repair my right Achilles tendon, I went about seven weeks without walking. 

A few weeks ago, I took my first step, at physical therapy.  I put my right foot down, once, and moved from my crutches to an exercise bike.  I was actually frightened; the few times that my right foot had touched the floor (at home with the boot off), I had strange sensations in my foot – sort of like pins and needles, but not quite.  As I took that first sort-of step, I was worried what it might feel like.  I was worried that it would hurt.  I was worried that I’d re-tear my repaired Achilles tendon.

Then, about a week ago, I started walking without the boot, just in contained spaces, like at home, with plenty of things like couches, railings, and the like, to make it not exactly “real” walking as there was always something to hold on to.  It took a long time, it’s really been only a few days, that I started to actually put my foot fully down and actually walk again.

I’m working on trying to remember how to walk without a limp and to just move naturally.  There isn’t much natural about the way I’m moving forward with the big book or without it (I am wearing a brace at work when I’m out of the boot for a few hours each day).  

Yesterday I showed my wife how I could walk down the hall at home barefoot.  It wasn’t smooth or graceful, but it was close to being (kind of) normal.  She was impressed!  The she asked if I could do the stairs.  I turned and started to go down the stairs the way I have gone down stairs, the only way I have been able to manage stairs for many years, by turning my feet and body sideways so as to not engage my Achilles.  After a step or two, I quickly realized what I was doing and said aloud, “Yikes, I don’t even know how to walk down stairs any longer.  I haven’t done it the correct way since I don’t know when.”

It’s been years.  Many years.  Such is the way one copes and manages when he thinks he is tougher and more powerful than tears in the tendon in his heel. 

I’m 51 and a half years old and I don’t know how to walk down a flight of stairs.  I absolutely forgot how to do it.

On Tuesday night at the doctor’s and later at physical therapy, they wanted to see how much strength I had gotten back in my leg through all the PT and exercises as home.  I was asked if I could stand on one foot and raise to a tip toe.  I stood on my left foot (the side without the surgery) and did it with ease.  I then stood on my right foot, and even holding on to a counter or exercise bar, couldn’t even make a movement – any movement.  It’s not like I can’t go on tip toes.  I do it with two feet regularly as a strength building exercise.  Trying to do it on the right side (the surgery side) proved almost hopeless.  It made no sense to me, but I couldn’t fire up the signals in my foot to even do it.  I just stood there.  I didn’t even know what to do.  Finally, with great effort and concentration, I was able to raise my body a fraction of a fraction of an inch.  My physician said, “Good!  Really.  Good!  You were able to move at least a little.” 

I guess that’s a start.

I guess.

I didn’t even do that well at physical therapy.  There, I just stood on one leg, clueless how to raise myself up.  

It’s a strange feeling to ask your body to do something it has always done naturally and to have no clue (or strength) to be able to do it. 

Have you ever asked a someone to do something and the person just says, “I can’t.  I don’t know how.”?  Well, I now know how that child feels.  I can’t stand on one foot.  I don’t know how.  (If ever there was a teachable moment – that’s it!)

I don’t know how to stand up on one foot.  I don’t know how to go up or down stairs, and I don’t know what it’s like to walk without a limp. 

I absolutely can’t run.  I don’t even want to think about trying…

Have I told you that in 240 days I’ll be running the New York City Marathon?  Yup, the e-mail came the other day.  I’m in!

I don’t know how to walk, yet I plan to run the marathon.

I don’t know any other way to live my life.  I sincerely plan to run that race.  I couldn’t do it last year (sitting it out in some ways hurt more than the pains I felt in my leg) and I don’t plan on missing it again.  One reason for the surgery was so that I can run again. 

I need to run again.

Long and far and forever.

In life, we can’t focus on what we can’t do – we must focus on what we want to do and what we will work to accomplish.

Yes, I’ll run that race. 

Set your signs on your goals and give everything you have to attain them.

Remember, anyone who tells you, you can’t, is lying.  (I’ll prove that to be true in November.)


Do it and teach others that they can as well.

Every step is a journey…just like life.

Live it, fully, always.



2 thoughts on “Learning To Walk Again

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