A few weeks ago I showed Dr. C. my improved heel-walking at my six-week visit. He commented that “You couldn’t do that before!” I made a video for you yesterday:
The left foot is not yet as strong as the right but it works much better than before. Besides being worth it for the pain relief, my surgery was worth it for the improved function. I’ll follow up with a post on the technical details for anyone making their own decision.
Next question with my new, improved abilities: when to skate? Back at my consult Dr. C. had said I could skate at six weeks after my surgery, but no falling until three months. His reasoning was that he lets his patients walk, walking has a falling risk too, and I’m a skater, so? I spent a fair amount of time during my recovery pondering this conundrum he’d set me and wondering whether I’d take him up on skating at six weeks.
I tried to get details at my six-week visit, pointing out to him that while I can skate easily, that doesn’t mean my falling risk while skating is the same as the falling risk of walking. He said that for his football players, he starts them working out in a pool “so they will be more comfortable.” That gave me a good comparison. Skating on holiday ice with every newbie in town was not going to make me comfortable, so I decided to wait for calmer, safer ice in January.
Dr. C. told me that my risk for re-herniating never goes down to the same as everyone else. The disc scars up eventually, which makes it stronger, but the hole in it never heals over, so more disc matter can escape. So what activities I want to do are up to me and my personal risk/benefit ratio. When his football players ask him whether they should play, he tells them that yeah, there’s a risk that this can happen again, especially when 300 pound people are falling on you. But “they’re paying you a lot of money to play football, so?”
Skating is a passion for me, not a job. I told Dr. C. that I do love it. And the purpose of the surgery was to return me to the things that I love.
I did end up falling– on my lawn. There was a layer of snow on top of the still-green grass, it was slippery. And this after weeks of avoiding walking around the neighborhood during a long freeze to avoid any risk of encountering ice. No harm done, but it gave me more of a “que sera, sera” attitude about avoiding falling. So I decided to try a skate.
…and my good skates were missing. No telling what happened with the passage of time since I last used them, though of course I’ve speculated a lot. I looked everywhere, I cried, I got mad, but the universe didn’t cough up my skates, Probably it’s waiting until I order my new pair. Eventually I decided that not having my skates was a much better species of problem than not having a good enough leg to skate on. And booked a skate fitting.
Meanwhile I still have my old pair. This is the first time I’ve ever had a decent spare pair of skates: I had them relined by Harlick when I got my new ones two and a half years ago. It sure is saving my bacon now.
After such a long break, did I want to skate in old boots with different balance points than I was used to? Finally, eight weeks after my surgery I decided yes. I got out there, slaloming on two feet and progressing to a little basic stroking around the rink. It didn’t hurt. It felt really, really good to be back.