Drew has continued to excel, breaking new records. He started by amazing us by walking almost 200 feet in his gait trainer in a bid to walk to his Yaya’s office at the hospital. Then, he more than doubled that yesterday, even at times “running” as he loves to race! And, for the first time since his femur was fractured, Drew stood unsupported, maintaining his own balance, for 30 seconds. It is so encouraging seeing him excel at standing and walking. Visit my Drew Walking Tall Facebook page for a short video.
I have to admit, I was getting worried. In trying to over-analyze Dr. Paley’s consistent and vague reassurance, “He will walk” whenever I would interrogate him about what Drew will and won’t be able to do in a desperate attempt to acquire an understanding of what Drew’s abilities would be after a year of hell, I was worried that all of this was in vain. We were disappointed in the fact that Drew would be in braces for so long and since I couldn’t get a descriptive picture of Drew’s abilities, I feared that our vision would never be met. But, seeing Drew walk in all of his excitement and ambition to stand and walk, which he constantly requests and will show off to anybody willing to look, has restored my confidence in our trials.
Drew is so proud of himself and I think, for the first time, realizes why we’ve been doing these painful, invasive, excruciating, miserable surgeries and therapies. He asks to stand up quite often and even wants to walk to his bedroom and kitchen and back at times in his gait trainer. Despite it being easier and quicker to just carry him rather than load him and strap him into the gait trainer, we always go through the extra motions because, after all, how can you say no when Drew asks to walk? “No, Drew….you can’t walk to your room. Yes, I know that you’ve had five surgeries on your legs to give you the ability to walk, but it’s just easier carrying you.” See how ridiculous that is? I will let him walk anytime he asks despite how difficult it may be on me. After being by his side for the last 11 months with dozens of pins the size of number 2-sized pencils drilled through skin, muscle and bone, twisting his legs as if they were in a vice, scrubbing open wounds, twisting a foot the wrong way, breaking a femur, infections, complete and utter loss of independence, countless needle pokes, 60 x-rays, doctors wanting to touch and prod at pained legs, pushing through pain during therapy, and more that I’ve probably mentally blocked out, seeing him so proud and achieving these goals makes me forget about it all.
So, now our trip back to Florida is on the horizon. In about a month, we’ll be heading back for our final surgery on the leg to remove the fixator. And, seeing as we visualize our lives in three-week “eras” because of Nathan’s shift on the boat, and knowing that when he comes back home after this shift that starts on Thursday, it seems as if we have so little time left in Kentucky. I anticipate this final leg surgery – removal of the fixator – will follow the same procedure as the removal of his right fixator which was placement of a cast for three weeks followed by being placed in a brace at which point I presume that we’ll be completely done with surgeries, leave Florida for good and return to Kentucky and get on with our normal lives. All in all, I think this should be our shortest stay in Florida, 6-8 weeks. I’m still a little nervous laying out these plans because in going through all of these surgeries, I was always caught by surprise whether it was not truly understanding what the plan was or by unexpected and unplanned complications. A part of me is waiting for the next surprise event that will throw a wrench into what I think will be the “easy part.” But, I am hoping for the best. And, I presume we’ll have yearly follow-ups with Dr. Paley for some time.
Please don’t forget about the Walking the Walk for Drew 5K. Please visit www.drewunarmed.com/5K for more information. You can pre-register here. Please come support Drew to cheer him on. And, tell everybody you know to come join. Hope to see you there!