It’s coming up on six months since the fall that broke my pelvis in two spots and cracked two vertebrae, so I thought I’d give everyone another update on my progress. I’m happy to say that I’m up and walking without assistance from a cane or walker and it’s been like that for close to three months. I’ve also been back shooting for about the past two months. I try to get my steps in each day and most days, I walk seven or eight thousand steps and do some additional rehab to improve the flexibility in my back and hips.
I started out doing some small journalistic-type jobs with an assistant, but I’ve ramped that up to some bigger commercial jobs that have even taken me out of state. The longer shoots that have me moving around an industrial site with steel-toed shoes and gear hanging off me can be challenging and I definitely feel it the next day, but it feels really good to be doing a shoot like that again.
I will admit I had built an image in my mind as I sat in that wheelchair in November and December that once I got the go-ahead to get back on my feet, I’d be back to normal in no time. I had even hoped to be back shooting at Lambeau Field if the Packers made the playoffs. The doctors didn’t tell me I couldn’t do that, but they didn’t encourage me either since I was still on blood thinners and I probably couldn’t jump out of the way if a football player came flying toward me. Judy and my parents breathed a sigh of relief when I told them I was going to be sitting out those games. Watching games at Lambeau was tough. It would have been really tough to not shoot an NFC Championship game in Green Bay, but luckily / unluckily the Packers didn’t make it that far.
I don’t feel normal yet and the doctor said it can take close to a year until you have days where you kind you forget about the injury. The Wisconsin winter and cold damp spring don’t help either, so once we get some warm weather, I’m hoping it will help bring me closer to normal. The doctors also told me I wasn’t allowed to shovel any snow or use the snowblower, so that tossed one more thing on Judy’s plate. Trust me – I felt very guilty as I stood in our front window with a warm cup in my hand as I watched Judy do battle with the driveway. I did teach her to use the backpack leaf blower to clear the light fluffy snowfalls and she admitted it was “oddly satisfying”.
I have good days and bad days with the pain and stiffness, but the most I’ve taken for pain in the last three months is extra-strength Tylenol. As time goes on, I have more good days than bad days and the bad days aren’t as bad. Sustaining an injury and having your body go through the trauma mine did can be more than a tad depressing and some days I‘m not the chipper positive person I’d like to be. Luckily, I have a loving wife to help me deal with those types of days, friends and family to help lift my spirits, and a dog at my side to pet when needed.
I find myself being extra careful when I’m moving around, especially in the winter slop, which probably isn’t all bad. I even feel anxious for others when I see a video pop up in my social media feed of someone doing something crazy that could get them injured. Last week I was on an industrial shoot and was offered the chance to climb to the top of a 30-foot tall silo inside the factory for a shot; I declined that offer. On the flip side, my assistant on a different shoot was impressed with how I was easily and without hesitation, I was moving up and down mobile stairways for shots.
I had worried about how I’d do on long drives, but I’ve had some days when I’ve been behind the wheel for six, seven, eight hours. I actually did pretty well – my tailbone was a little sore, but even pre-fall it would have been. Judy and I just got back from a little road trip with our daughter to check out the Smokey Mountains, and while there were some long days of driving, it was manageable and I was happy that I felt well overall. During the recovery, I had pictures that would pop up on my iPhone of Judy on some of our traveling adventures. Those images gave me the inspiration to press forward with my recovery and rehab. Getting back to walking around foreign and local travel destinations and exploring is high on my priority list.
In those first days and weeks after the accident, I would think about how my injuries could have been so much worse or how the outcome of the accident could have been devastating if the rescue personnel hadn’t gotten me to the hospital as quickly as they did. I’ve also had times when I get so frustrated that the accident and the injuries even happened. Life has a way of reminding you that things could be worse, however, as I’ve heard many tragic stories happening to people within my circle of friends and acquaintances. Even looking at the news and seeing what is going on in the world makes me thankful that I and my family are safe, have a comfortable home and our country isn’t being invaded. Keeping a positive attitude moving forward will be important because I’m sure I’ll have days when I’m sore or stiff.
I haven’t been as creative as I was pre-fall and, honestly, I haven’t had that desire to be creative. I’m sure the limitation of my mobility caused that to a great extent. As the weather has started to improve and I’ve gotten back into the working world, that creativity has started coming back. I haven’t posted a photo to any of my social media channels since the fall. There’s a little bit of me that’s not sure how to jump back into that, but I think it’s like getting into a pool – you just gotta jump in.
So in these next few weeks keep an eye on my social media. Hopefully with the start of spring and continued work, I will be posting creative shots again soon. Thanks to all of you who have reached out and offered your support – your encouragement has meant a lot to me and I appreciate all your kinds words, your prayers and most of all, your friendship.