I remember as a child making papier mache models with newspaper and paste. When they dried hard they could be painted and appear remarkably solid. This analogy came to mind this week as I have passed another milestone in my recovery from foot surgery. The physiotherapist pronounced himself very pleased with my progress and announced I could now walk without crutches. Actually, this announcement was made dramatically. As he met us in the patients' waiting area to summons us into the treatment area, I reached for my crutches (as I have done for ten weeks!) ' Oh', he said, 'you don't need those any more. Try walking without them.' With that, my crutches disappeared and I found myself standing unaided.
This is where papier mache comes to mind. My right leg looks solid but using it for the first time it felt unconvincing as the real thing - more a newspaper paste substitute. I went through a series of exercises with him which involved, among other things, standing one-footed on my damaged leg with my eyes closed, and also balancing on a rubber hemisphere. In spite of wobbles, he judged me fine to walk away and he discharged me. What?!
In the few days since I have entered a brave new world of walking with a highly suspect leg. Weirdness and pain are likely to be around for some time as I learn to walk unsupported. Friends have spoken about faith needed to start this trek - one man told me he had so lost confidence he just couldn't walk at the beginning. Certainly, my leg has to much more to do to convince me. But, as you can imagine, this turn of events has Carol and me rejoicing. Thanks for following these bulletins...hopefully there will not be many more!