If you have never had a severe injury that has put you out of doing ANYTHING for several weeks to months, then you are very lucky. It's every athlete's worst nightmare. No one really plans for it to happen. Whether you were hit too hard, turned the wrong way, or just fell - it changes everything. Nowadays we all live with the mindset of, “That will never happen to me. I’m young. I’m healthy. I am invincible.”We take for granted a lot of the things that we do everyday, until we aren't able to do them anymore. Tearing your ACL gives you a new perspective. These are the little victories - everyday tasks we take for granted that are the equivalent to winning a medal.
1. Getting out of bed without falling.
When you are immobilized by a full leg brace that you aren't allowed to bend and you are in pain, getting out of bed on your own is a big deal! Not falling in the process and not having to call a friend to come help you is an even bigger accomplishment. Go you!
2. Getting dressed by yourself.
You don't really appreciate how nice it is to pull your pants up by yourself until you need someone to do it for you. When you have a leg brace that doesn't come off & you cant stand yet, you need people to help. The first day you can put pants on by yourself it makes you feel like when your parents let you pick out your clothes for the first time!
3. SHOWERING ALONE!
Shower time is YOUR time. Sing! Dance! You can't do that when the fear of falling is looming over you and your friend is there holding you up in your birthday suit. The day that you are released to put weight on your leg again and can shower on your own... sing at the top of your lungs! But be careful about dancing, you don't want to be back at square one.
4. No more crutches!
There is nothing fun about crutches when you need them. We all wanted to play with crutches when our friend had them. Now that you're the one on them, not so cool anymore are they? You'll leave them with your doctor like, "here keep them and I never want them back."
5. Walking unassisted for the first time.
No crutches. No brace. Just you and the ground for the first time in months. You're thinking, "I can do this". Then you realize you're Bambi first learning to walk again and everything is off-balance.
6. Riding a stationary bike.
My trainer told me from the beginning, "The day you make a full rotation on this thing will be a celebration." I thought she was joking. No way would I be so excited about riding a stationary bike. Then, after four weeks of barely being able to move, making a full rotation and actually CYCLING on a bicycle (whether it's stationary or not) it feels like you finally lost your training wheels!
7. Run, Forest, Run!
Watch out world, here I come at 4.6 mph for five minutes a day on a treadmill until my Physical Therapist says I can run a little longer and faster. I'll catch up, don't worry, this is only the beginning of a long journey!