Today is exactly 7 weeks after my surgery for my lisfranc fracture, and I am now officially driving!!!!! Since my recovering foot is my right foot, I have been unable to drive for 7 long weeks!
My surgeon cleared me to drive as soon as I could move my foot well enough to apply pressure to the gas pedal and, more importantly, the break. The exercises my physical therapist gave me this week included re-learning several of the motions needed to drive, and various stretches for the muscles in my toes, ankle and calf.
This morning my husband and I took a practice drive around the neighborhood, just to see if I was going to be able to physically manage the movements and deal safely with any pain while driving. The driving aspect actually was very natural for me and the transition was painless.
However, I discovered having the physical ability to drive is just half of the equation. I also needed to be mentally prepared to drive. The fear of re-injury, and thoughts of having to experience the painful recovery again has made me hesitant for each new step in my journey. I am constantly surprised at how much psychological healing I have to do during each stage of recovery.
Today, during physical therapy, my therapist had me walking over barriers which were no more than a foot high. Sounds easy, right? Not for me!
She told me to lead with my recovering right foot and remember to put my heel down first and then my toe and then let my left foot follow. I was hesitant to take the first step, trying to remember everything she said, wondering how much it was going to hurt and fearing I would completely lose my balance. I stood there for a while thinking things through and finally she held out her hand which I immediately grasped. Suddenly, I could slowly walk the hurdles.
The next attempt she held out her hand, and asked me not to hold on. But, mentally I knew it was there if I needed it, and once again I could manage the hurdles with ease. It became clear to both of us that I had the physical capability, but I needed to gain confidence mentally in order to proceed.
When we got to the part in therapy where it was time to practice walking, I was concentrating so hard on all the proper movements, and even held my arms away from my body for balance when my therapist started to laugh. I looked up at her smiling and asked her what was so funny? She said that her 1 year old walked better than I do! So, of course I got the giggles as I pictured her one year old tottleing around with more natural balance than me! It felt so good to laugh at myself! She then said that I was over thinking my steps and to try and let it come naturally for me. This was wonderful advice. After letting go of trying to do it perfectly, my steps did come out right. Slow, but great for now!!!
My physical therapist and I spent some time discussing the psychological aspect of recovery and she assured me that with a lisfranc surgery, psychological healing is always a part of rehab. It often times can be harder to conquer than the actual physical rehab! I am learning to not be so afraid and more importantly to remember to find humor during this part of the journey.