Today I would like to share something that I have not in the nearly 9 years since I created Second Chance to Live.In previous articles, I have shared that I taught myself how to walk after the car accident in which I fractured my skull and my left femur. What I did not share were the events that led up to my being able to learn how to walk again. So below are the events that helped me to learn to walk again.
Spica (Full Body) Cast
After completing traction for my fractured femur to fuse back together, the medical staff put me in a full body or Spica cast. The cast started at my neck and went all the way do to my left foot. On my right side of my body, the cast went down below my right knee.
So I was essentially encased in the cast with openings for elimination purposes. I remained encased in the cast for approximately 5 months from mid-September 1967 to January – February 1968. I remember being in the cast for several weeks that the cast was rubbing and causing skin breakdown below my right knee. I remember that the decision was made to trim the cast back on my right side to eliminate the rubbing and skin irritation. I remember that after the cast was trimmed that I was transported home. I remained at home in the Spica cast for the next 5 months until X-rays proved that my left femur had healed enough for the cast to be removed. I remember the skin itching under the cast during those 5 months.
Left Leg Shorter than My Right Leg
The result of my left leg and foot being encased in the cast prevented my left leg not growing in length as my right leg was during those 5 months. As a consequence, my left leg is shorter than my right leg. I remember that after the cast was removed from my body that I being taken to several physical therapy appointments. During these appointments, I told the physical therapist that it hurt to walk. Apparently, from what the Dr.’s told my Mom; that they could not fix my femur properly because of my brain injury. As a result, my femur did not heal properly through my time in traction and in the Spica cast.
Apparently, that was the reason I experienced pain trying to walk. My Mom took the seat out of a baby butler (see above) for me to practice walking. After telling my Mom many times that it hurt to stand and walk, she told me that I could either struggle to walk or drag myself around without the use of my legs. She told me that out of being at her wit’s end in trying to help me. She told me that it was my choice and mine alone.
Thank you for Mom for telling me that at the time.
My Mom told me recently that a short time after she told me that it was my choice, I began to struggle through the pain to walk. In late January or early February 1968, I start to learn how to walk again. I would pull myself up in the baby butler and put one foot in front of the other. Learning to walk again took time for various reasons.
Strengthen My Legs and My Balance
Being encased in the Spica cast for 5-6 months had caused some muscle atrophy in my legs, so I needed to strengthen my legs. Because my left leg did not grow longer in the cast, my left leg was shorter than my right leg. Being that my left leg was shorter than my right leg, I had to work on my balance too. My Mom told me that I walked with a limp for a long time. With time my legs strengthened and my balance improved.
With time I was able to begin to walk with less of a limp. With time I was able to jog without pain in my left leg where my femur had fractured. With time I was able to start to run. With time I was able to begin participating in sports in high school wrestling and track. I tried out for football, but thank God I was not selected to play on the team.
Little did I know that if I had been selected to play on the team that things could have been compounded by head hits. Looking back I see how God was protecting me from further brain injury.
Please read the next part of the series, Finding Craig — My Academic Path, click on this link: Part 4
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