AT in 23 even rhymes!
It’s been a challenging year.
In Feb. of 2022, I fell, literally on my arse ending up in hospital, bleeding head, and no walking due to fractured back.
Had to board mutts, get a housekeeper, beg friends to get my groceries, sign up for PT, and avoid terrible depression; life as I knew it was over as fast and firm as a heart beat. No walking; no hiking.
I was suddenly an old cripple.
“They” said: “Surgery! At your age, forget walking, go to bed.”
Really? Rot in bed? Forget that! Nothing mitigates depression like justifiable rage!
Went home crippled in a hospital grown, my backside showing, a friend driving, as I could not. I was disgusted with medicine, hated hospitals, LOVED nurses, PT and ER folks.
I decided, I needed six things:
- X rays of current condition
- X rays in about 6 months to check any improvement
- Really good PT
- Excellent, doc who specialized in back fractures
- Healthy diet and water
- Lawyer specializing in end of life.
Determined to not only walk but hike again I ditched the pain meds, avoided negative comments, nixed surgery consultation, and hired a PT dude.
I hired a young female doc suggesting I wanted new films, her diagnosis, and an Rx for PT.
She agreed and helped me get new x-rays, diagnosed me as an L-5 fracture, prescribed home health care, P.T. and all the other stuff my insurance allowed.
Physical Therapy (PT)
Was I lucky! I left my pack n poles in the hall after my last hike.
I also have good insurance.
When the PT dude came, and glanced at my hiking stuff, knew EXACTLY how to help me.
He told me: “Look, I’m gonna get you walking, ditch that walker, and help restore your self esteem, but it’s gonna be hard. Hard on you and me. But, I know you are determined.”
I was thrilled to be his “poster child” for redemption!
I kept balance and large muscle tone by using my walker. I used my walker all over my ‘hood. I figured oxygen, sun and fresh air were therapeutic. If I had a big curb, I did have to hobble around. I found as flat a walk as possible.
Within 5 weeks, much to my astonishment, the PT dude had me walking. For “graduation”, we WALKED outside, FREE of walkers. I was thrilled! IT WAS possible!
Then I walked to Doctor God of All Things Orthopedic Surgery. He said: ” No surgery. You are healing. Take over the counter pain meds.” He shrugged. “Perhaps within a few years (like three- I asked) you will heal almost 100%.” Almost?
First foray was a section hike of Colorado Trail in 2022; later, sections of Lone Star Trail in Texas, then sections of Big Bend National Park.
Realizing Ultra Light can’t be my goal; I simply cannot carry much so I have to carry as light as possible, go slower, use poles. Change mind set.
Oh. By the Way: I just turned 71. I will be close to 72 by the time I do AT.
For training, meeting some friends to hike close-by at a State Park. We are gonna take our rescue mutts.
Read someplace the only remedy for old age is diet and exercise. True.
….I can walk. No, I will never be the same. When young, we bounce; when older, we don’t.
I can carry about 25 lbs; stretch daily; focus on balance and planning on AT late September of ’23.
A section hike or two is my only “failure.”
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