Sleep came fitfully last night….between my uneasy truce with the bed and the screaming pain of unused muscles, it was a bad night. I woke up with the hope of soaking these tired, overworked muscles in a warm bubble bath but, after a long, longing look into the bathroom, the logistics of getting in and out of the tub proved insurmountable. Fortunately, the plastic stools we brought back from the boat yesterday allowed me to navigate in and out of the shower…..the first time since July 4th! Au revoir to sponge baths in the petite toilette.
After lunch, it was time to head to Narbonne and my therapy session with Jaky. Fearing that the reason he was disinclined to include water therapy was because I arrived in a wheelchair yesterday, I was determined to walk in using my cannes. We arrived early so Craig could scout for an alternative entrance that didn’t involve steps. After circling the building inside and out, he returned with the news I dreaded….there is no ramp leading into the therapy center.
Determined to show Jaky that I am ready for water therapy, I decided to walk in on my cannes even if it meant crawling over the darn steps. I reached the first step at the same time as Jaky, who was just returning from lunch. He showed me the correct way to negotiate the step and supported me on my first (and successful) attempt. We worked together to overcome the remaining step and I entered the facility upright! He reviewed my x-rays, read a letter from Angelique that detailed the therapy I’ve had, tested the strength of my foot, had me “walk” with my cannes and finally concurred that I could begin water therapy at any time. I had my swimsuit with me, so the sessions began today.
After receiving this joyous news, what was the first thing Jaky told me? That the pool is too far and I should use the fauteuil roulant (wheelchair)! Craig retrieved it and we proceeded down to the pool. I changed into my swimsuit (it still fits!) and walked out to the pool using my cannes.
The therapy pools are beautiful…..is it only in France that you’ll find therapy pools adorned with boulders and plants? Jaky didn’t join me in the pool, but guided my tentative “cannes-less” entry from the side. The first steps were difficult….my left leg is still very dependent on my right leg for support. With a death grip on the handrail, I made my way down way too many steps until I was finally fully in the pool. My therapy consisted of walking up and down the pool followed by pushing up on my heels and then raising myself on my toes. It seemed easy enough, so I was surprised when Jaky told me to be sure to rest in between “laps.”
The warm water provided the buoyancy that allowed me to walk normally…..left foot, heel, toe….right foot, heel, toe…..it felt good to feel terra firma beneath both feet. I wanted to stay all day enjoying this long denied feeling but, sure enough, Jaky was right. Each successive lap became shorter until I finally had to stop. Coming out of the pool proved more difficult. Each step (moving from the deeper water to the shallow water and then to the stairs) became increasingly difficult. I have strict orders from Jaky to rest and ice my leg this afternoon. Who knew learning to walk again would be so very hard?
Back at the cottage, safe on the couch with ice on my leg and British telly on, the afternoon passed quickly. After the cooling evening breeze arrived, we adjourned outside for our aperitifs, which are now an important part of the day. Felix joined us and, in a very brave moment, ventured across the path to the fresh grass awaiting him near the canal….in this case, the grass really is greener on the other side!