Small wins in blue jeans

In August this year, I had surgery for a knee injury sustained the month before. I’m documenting my process of recovery, and learning to walk again. See all posts in this series.

I’ve been distracted by a cracked tooth, so this update is a little late. Life seems to be a dumb circus right now.

I wore jeans for the first time in more than three months the other day. And I’m ridiculously thrilled about it. Know why?

I’ve missed my jeans.

I live in jeans. I have for most of my life, even in the hot, humid tropics. Jeans are practical clothing for someone who’s a bit rough and tumble, and I feel like myself in them. These last three months though, I’ve been wearing nothing but shorts, as I leave the house most frequently for surgeon follow-ups and physiotherapy. All of which require my whole leg to be exposed for examination, manipulation and so on.

The other night though, I went to meet a friend for a drink and a chat. In public, which would have been quite the novelty even without being medically house bound, as Singapore is still under some Covid-19 social restrictions. And I decided I’d wear jeans and strap my knee brace on top of them. And that felt good, normal… even with the bulky brace on and walking cane to assist. Because it means that I’m out and about doing regular things. Having a life that’s a bit more than medical appointments. It means I’m healing.

Jeans signal a big step back to normal.

Every time I’ve been injured, I marvel at how much I mourn for what would otherwise be unremarkable, boring normality. I’m sure I’m not the only one, especially since Covid-19 has disrupted the hell out of normal for so many of us. Autonomy and mobility are the foundation of our power to make the most of life, from walking across a room, to brushing our teeth, to achieving spectacular goals and everything in between. These simple things start with the assumption that our physical system is functioning as it should. And when they don’t work as we are accustomed to, we have to build a new normal from scratch, which I won’t go into. This post is about (hopefully) getting back to an old normal.

If all goes as planned, touch wood, I should make a full recovery. I’m aware of sitting quite comfortably at my desk and typing this post, something which I haven’t been able to do until last week. Not being able to bend the knee had done a number on my back, and was impossible to sit at a desk. This has been driving me mad, as it’s made working really difficult in the most stupid ways. Going out in jeans with just a walking cane instead of both crutches is insane progress.

One more step to really walking again.

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