Thirty Thoughts on Turning Thirty: #19 Learning to Walk Again

When I was 19 years old, I tore my Achilles tendon playing tennis.


It hurt.

And when it snapped, it sounded like a gunshot.

(Are you cringing yet?)

The crutches were actually the most painful part.  For two weeks, my armpits were tender and bruised and, most times, I preferred crawling to get to where I needed to go.

But after 4 months, my armpits were calloused, rugged and powerful!


I got so used to blazing past people on my worn-out crutches (I became quite talented with those sticks) that I almost forgot that one day I would have to learn how to walk on two feet again.

Finally, that day came.

And that day was scary.  I feared that if I took a step, my Achilles would snap again.

So I cried.

And I stalled.

But after much coaxing from my physical therapist, I finally drifted to the middle of the therapy pool and gingerly took a step.

Though I was weightless in the water, it was hard work getting to the other end of the pool.  But when I made it, I felt like how a baby must feel after successfully tottering from the coffee table to the couch.

A few weeks later, I was walking on a treadmill…at a speed of 0.8 miles an hour.  And even that felt too fast!

Two months later, I could slowly jog.

A month later, I could walk down stairs one foot after the other.

Four months later, I could skip.  (Yes, 19-year-olds like to know that they can still skip.)

As much of a hassle the whole experience was, it taught me to appreciate the privilege (and convenience!) of having two fully-functioning legs.

Therefore, I park in the furthest space and walk instead of drive whenever possible.

Because I CAN!


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