Brad Hess – Return from Injury – Learning to Walk Again 5/14/12
Learning to walk again
This was by far the best week yet. Each day I got stronger and stronger and was beginning to learn how to get around and do things without using my left leg. I was impressed when I was able to get myself on the ground and lay flat on my stomach! I was able to clean my room, get to the bathroom by myself. The best thing by far though was the fact that I figured out how to get myself down the stairs all alone. It came in handy the day I ordered Jimmy Johns. I had it delivered and was actually able to get down the stairs, get the food and then go back upstairs. No problem!
I was finally beginning to sleep better as well! About four days into Week 4 I decided to try and sleep on my side. I managed to get comfy for once and fell asleep. Only problem was I woke up twenty minutes later in a bit of pain. Needless to say it was a couple more days till I tried that one again.
My eating was finally improving as well and I was beginning to get stronger. On top of my sleep improving, my attitude was as well. I was feeling much better mentally and couldn’t wait to go back to St. Louis and see Dr. Clohisy.
One Month Check-up.
To split up the six-hour drive to St. Louis, we decided to stay in Terra Haute the night before the appointment. My mom was unable to go because someone had to stay at home and run the business. So it was just my dad and I. He told me it was fitting that we were staying in Terre Haute because some day I’d be sleeping here the night before running in the NCAA Championships. It made me think so much I couldn’t sleep.
Thoughts were running through my head at a million miles an hour so I decided to put a status on Facebook. It read:
“As I lay here in a hotel bed the night before my first follow-up appointment, I can’t help but wonder what God has in store for me. It’s been one month since the surgery and I’m feeling great. I’m finally getting around with very little pain and without anyone’s help. So I can only hope the doctor let’s me become at least somewhat weight-bearing. But this only brings about more questions: Will I be able to jog before my next surgery (May 14)? Or will my first run be in the middle of August? Where will I be this fall? Will I be able to compete in the fall of 2013? Or sooner? When will I get the feeling of “fast” back (runners know what I’m talking about). Only God knows the answers to these questions, but I know I’m ready for the road back to being a top distance runner. No matter what it takes or where it takes me!”
The next morning when we got to St. Louis I had to go through another round of X-Rays and then the wait to see the doctor began. With my trusty walker (like an old person) I shuffled into the examining room. My dad brought the crutches with the hopes that I would get to ditch the walker and use crutches. Finally after two hours I got in and Dr. Clohisy started moving my leg around and asking questions. He seemed impressed and I began to get excited. Then he said the greatest seven words I’ve ever heard: “Grab your crutches and walk to me.” I picked them up and attempted my first few steps. I felt like a toddler trying to walk. I was slow, wobbly, and scared. But it was a success. He liked what he saw and cleared me to slowly start cycling. The only restriction I had was to not place resistance on my leg. So I couldn’t jog, run or stand up on a bike. I also had to use crutches until I could walk without a limp. We then scheduled the two month appointment and hit the road back to Fort Wayne.
The morning after my appointment I got an idea: I managed to get one of our bikes out of the basement and set it up on a wind-trainer in the living room and bike for a little bit. I managed to only make it five minutes but it was more exercise then I had got in the previous month combined! The rest of the week was about the same. Each day I was able to walk a little bit better and was getting stronger. Finally four days after I began walking I became frustrated with the crutches and kicked them to the side and started walking under my own power! The rest of the week went pretty much the same. Every day I tried to go a little further. And every day I gained strength.
This week was all about getting better at walking. I still didn’t feel real comfortable with trying the elliptical so I stuck to walking. Each day was getting better and better and by the end of the week I felt ready to go to an indoor track meet. Carroll ran at Indiana Wesleyan and I figured I was strong enough to make it through the meet and took a chair to make sure I’d be okay. This was really exciting for me because I hadn’t seen many people over the last month and a half so it was nice to get out and talk to more people. Everything went smooth and I decided it was time for the next step.
Early Monday morning I made my first trip to the YMCA. Little did I know that this would become a second home to me. I knew the best machine for me would be the elliptical simply because it’s just a gliding motion and there was zero resistance. I got on and tried the first few strides. Nothing hurt and it didn’t take long to get the right motion down. I made it through 15 minutes that first day. I was extremely excited because for the first time I was able to get my heart rate up. And boy, breathing hard never felt so good! The rest of the week I went to the Y every day. Each day I went a little longer and by the end of the first week I was up to 45 minutes.
Week seven was all about getting the motion down and moving the hip more and more. Week eight was another big step. Since I was able to go 45 minutes straight I decided I would try to add in a little variation. I warmed up 10 minutes and then decided to try and go hard. I raised the ramp and resistance up on the elliptical and went hard for 2 minutes. Then I lowered the ramp and went easy for two, followed by raising it again and going hard for another two. I managed to do this another three times for a total of 10 minutes hard. It felt so good to be doing somewhat of a workout! I then cooled down 10 minutes and called it a day. The following day I showed up again and had to go easy. It had been so long since I had felt lactic acid in my legs and I was not complaining at all! Crazy to think that it used to take a really hard speed workout to get the lactic flowing in my legs but now all it took was a couple of repeats on the elliptical.
Talk about a huge motivator! The rest of that week I managed to get a few more workouts in and was making great progress.