My seven-plus weeks on a scooter ended last week, and it feels good to be walking full-time again. I’m supposed to still be in my walking boot … but, well, I discarded that a few days later. Sorry, Dr. Powell.
Just don’t tell my very fine ankle doctor. I see him again Feb. 21, and will probably wear the boot in, just to stay on his good side. But I stopped wearing it because left me sore in a number of places just moving around in it. And it became clumsy to wear (or I became clumsy wearing it). Plus, my left ankle is getting stronger without it.
The Dec. 18 ankle fusion surgery seems to have been a success. So far. Knock on wood. There’s still many weeks to go before the healing is complete. And my ankle feels a slight bit wobbly and still swells up after walking moderate distances, which means nagging pain.
On the positive side, I’ve been riding my stationary bike on weekends for about a month now, and can do more than 10 miles at a time. Also, last Sunday, I took advantage of the dry, somewhat sunny weather in the Seattle area and went on a bicycle ride along Lake Washington — 16.24 miles with a few hills.
No Chilly Hilly for me this year
There’s more bicycling ahead, but I have decided not to do the Chilly Hilly ride around Bainbridge Island on Feb. 25 (the first time since 2011 that I will miss it). I’m just not ready. Instead, I’m targeting two Cascade Bicycle Club rides in April — the Emerald City Ride April 6 and the Ride for Major Taylor April 28.
As far as running goes, that’s a ways off. Maybe late spring. We’ll see.
But before looking ahead any further, I need to look back on my seven weeks on a scooter (loaned to me by Jennifer White, our head of HR at Allytics).
Here are what I will miss and not miss about daily life on a scooter, which allowed me to get places without putting any weight on my ankle.
What I will miss
- The scramble to open doors for me: From time to time, people at work and elsewhere would see me coming, and rush to hold open a door for me. This didn’t happen all the time, but it did happen, and it won’t happen anymore at all.
- Getting me coffee: Yes, Cassi Frickelton, our administrative assistant at work, got me coffee upstairs a few times, though she may deny it, and others offered to. This was when our downstairs coffee pots ran out.
- Having a guaranteed seat: The scooter turned into a seat when I wanted it to; I’d just sit down in the cushioned area where I’d otherwise put my knee. Saved having to go get a chair in our small conference rooms.
- The “weee” factor: I got nervous about riding fast down steep areas, fearing a spill. So I used the brakes on the scooter or used my right foot to slow down. But on some smaller inclines, I let the scooter roll and enjoyed the ride.
- Vinyl floor at work: Similarly, our workplace at Allytics has a vinyl floor throughout the lobby and main hallway. It made for a fast roll, and it was my guilty pleasure to whiz through there a few times a day.
- Riding our elevator at work: We have a freight elevator at work that is rarely used, and it was the only way I could get upstairs. Cassi had the dubious task of working the elevator to get me upstairs, and we got stuck in it for several minutes the first time, due to not flipping the right switches. Cassi was clear — she did not enjoy having to do this. But she did it anyway and I thanked her, and finally got to ride in what could be the world’s slowest elevator. Our president, Dunya Riechelson, was so amused that she grabbed her phone to take pictures of it all.
What I won’t miss
- Transporting the scooter in my car: What a pain! It barely fit in the back seat, and I always had to take the front basket off and fit that in too. My commute to work took up to 15 minutes longer just to get this contraption in and out of the car.
- Turning it around in tight spaces: So many times I would scoot into a room, only to have to get off it to manually flip the scooter around so I could go back out. It was as bad as having to turn a car around. My bedroom, bathroom and laundry room were the worst spots.
- The threat of tipping over: Early on, I learned that I had to carry my computer bag and other heavy items on my back. Putting them in the front basket, and then leaning forward, would mean a full 180-degree turn onto my head (even worse if carrying coffee). I managed to avoid that after a few near-misses.
- Cracks in sidewalks and roads: After being able to get out and walk and run for so many years, I got cabin fever just sitting around working. So I got into doing daily “scoots” of up to a mile. I learned about all the rough spots in sidewalks and roads to avoid.
- Sore hamstring after longer scoots: Kneeling for 20 minutes to a half-hour on a scooter gets to be uncomfortable and even painful on my upper left leg after awhile. So I didn’t try to do more than a mile at a time.
- Needing to ride our elevator at work: Yes, I will miss the chance to take the elevator, but I won’t miss being forced to. It’s nice to be able to walk up the stairs each day to get the stronger coffee on the second floor. Cassi also is happier about this.
A big thanks again to Jennifer and Kevin White for letting me use the scooter that got their daughter Emily around after her foot surgery a few years ago. It’s now safely back in their garage. I’m so glad I didn’t crash or spill, so I could give it back to them in good condition.
When I meet with my doctor next week, I may learn more about any physical therapy or rehab plans he has in mind. Onward.
Thanks for reading!