Ten days ago, I had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon.  Entering the enormous office complex, I quickly “crutched” my way to the door.  A woman was slowly, laboriously making her way towards the same door.  I slowed down, waiting for her to get to the door, noting that familiar expression; a mix of sheer determination and pain…teeth clinched, brow furrowed, arms shaking.  Obviously a few days post-surgical.

She sees me.   “Oh…please…go around me.  I’m so slow…”

I smile, pointing down to my robo-boot.  “You’re doing great!  And it only gets better.  I promise!”

A few minutes later, registered, xrayed and barefoot, hubby and I are greeted by the surgeon.

“Wow!”  He said.  “Everything looks great.  You’re healing beautifully.  Your bones are fused and your scars are looking pretty good, too.  How do you feel?”

Me:  “I feel pretty good.  My range of motion is excellent, my pain is less than it was before the surgery.  The screws are really bothering me…I can see and feel them, but other than that, I think I’m doing really well…”

Him:  “Yes…the screws can really cause problems for some people and yours are rather prominent.  In a couple of months we can remove them…it’s quite simple…very quick outpatient surgery.  So…looks like your ready to move to full weight bearing…”

Me:  “Full weight bearing?  Doctor…I haven’t even accomplished the 50% thing yet!  Full weight bearing?  How do I do that?”

Him, with a smile:  “I completely understand.  And you’re misunderstanding what I mean.  Your bones and tendon have healed enough to bear your full weight, but that doesn’t mean that you can do it.  Yet.  You’re  still at least another 12 weeks away from being able to do that.  But you’re  on your way.  Remember:  this is a slow process and you’re only a couple months in, but you’re doing amazingly well.  Your healing is about the best I’ve seen.  Just be patient.  Listen to your body, keep going to physical therapy.  It will all come in time.”

It will all come in time…

We made our way out of the office and straight to physical therapy.  As we transitioned between the two spaces, I met another lady…wearing a boot like mine, walking without crutches!  She looked at me with my two, smiled sympathetically and said:  “Don’t worry…it gets better.  I promise!”

Hehehe…the encourager receives encouragement!

The physical therapist noted the doctor’s new assessment.  “Time to move forward.  First thing, let’s lose one of those crutches…”

By the end of the session I was moving quickly and surely across the floor…with a single crutch!

How can I describe how liberating it is to use only one crutch?

One crutch leaves one hand…FREE!  I can carry a cup.  A hairbrush.  A book.  Wonderful!

I felt like Mel Gibson in Braveheart:    FREEEEEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMM!!!!

Flash forward…a lovely Saturday.  And the woods beckon.  Do I risk it?  Can I?  The trails are mowed, the hickory nuts are on the ground, leaves are changing, falling, swirling…

We pile into the the truck.

My sweet hubby walks three steps ahead of me, clearing every obstacle in the path.  I move, slowly and deliberately, observing nature as I haven’t been able to for more than two months.

One hour later, camera in hand…the woman who hadn’t walked for more than five minutes inside her home…that woman walked for more than an hour in the woods.

With one crutch, bending to pick up nuts and acorns…joy welling in my heart as I watched my children run from place to place…experiencing a peace and contentment that I’d struggled to obtain within the confines of my home, now so easily within reach.

There’s more to this story.  A profound and beautiful realization that took place the following day.  I’ll share it with you soon.  Right now, I’m relishing a new found freedom, finding happiness in the simplest things, contentment in the day to day.

Joy in the ordinary…