After an x-ray at the last follow-up, Dominic got the all-clear for his left shoulder — at long last, we bid farewell to the wheelchair. Thus began the long tail of his recovery. The big life disruptions have one-by-one fallen away, but what’s left will be with us for a while: A slowly-improving leg, assisted by crutches. Physical therapy, three times a week. A long list of stretches, exercises, and nutrition guidelines to follow at home.
He took to the crutches quickly enough, but what’s most encouraging is the discipline he exerts to use them the Right Way, not the Easy Way. The Easy Way would be to use his good left leg and the crutches to propel himself forward with great power and speed. It is tempting. But what he is supposed to do, of course, is to put pressure on his right leg, and use the crutches to assist with that and make sure he doesn’t press too hard on it. It makes for a much more awkward gait, but one that lets him push the envelope on his leg. As a general rule, he is not one for envelope-pushing. But time and again, when he sees it’s what’s needed to recover, he grits his teeth (sometimes literally) and does it.
We had started growing accustomed to the THUD THUD THUD of him hopping all over the house on one leg. But just a couple days ago he made the switch from the hop to the cautious limp — much quieter, and a step in the right direction, though we have to keep reminding him to keep that toe pointed forward. It’s made me realize that this won’t be “over” until he can walk and run normally, and that might still be a ways off, especially if there’s subtle ligament damage or alignment issues that can’t even be detected until he’s back to a normal range of motion.
Hopefully, though, by the time we hit GenCon together at the beginning of August, he’ll be down to one crutch … or maybe none? Time will tell.