Does a walking cane go on the left or the right? It’s an adventure getting back on her feet. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Does a walking cane go on the left or the right? It’s an adventure getting back on her feet. (Jennifer Bardsley)

She’ll take two working legs and a nap, please

Water aerobics, physical therapy and grocery pick-up services have helped Jennifer Bardsley recover from an injury. Napping has been especially helpful.

I tore my calf muscle six weeks ago and still can’t walk properly. The injury happened while doing mountain climbers, a plank activity where you move your feet. The snapping sound of muscle fibers tearing was so loud that I heard it over the music I was listening to.

Luckily, my injury did not require surgery. Virginia Mason sent me to see Dr. Henry Pelto, the team doctor for the Seattle Kraken, and he used ultrasound to look inside my leg and identify the site of the injury. It turns out that it was the inner part of my calf, the soleus, and not the outer gastrocnemius muscle that tore. The next part involved a long needle to drain a hematoma, but the less said about that the better.

I’ve had a variety of complicated medical situations before, but this is the first one that’s made it difficult to walk. It’s been humbling to suddenly become the person who needs to push the automatic door opener and seek out the accessible restroom. I can finally drive again, but every trek across a parking lot seems like a marathon.

When I finally graduated from crutches to a cane, I made a rookie mistake. I purchased a cane to use with my right hand because my right foot was injured. The handle grip was specially designed for arthritis, molded into a shape that my right hand could easily grip. Then, while at physical therapy, I learned that I should be using the cane with my left hand instead, because of balance. Oops. I had to order a new cane.

In addition to physical therapy, there have been many things that have helped me while I recover. Ordering my groceries online and picking them up in the Fred Meyer parking lot has a been a blessing. Did you know that their pick-up service is free? It lets you add online coupons as well.

I got clearance to do the Peloton, my exercise bike, without any resistance. There’s an online exercise program I’ve also been doing called The Sculpt Society that has an injury safe section. I’m able to do the programs that don’t involve feet or ankles.

My physical therapist gave me the go ahead to try water aerobics as well. I went to the deep-water fitness class at the Lynnwood pool and had a blast. It’s the perfect class for someone who can’t put weight on their legs, or stress on their joints. You wear a buoyancy belt that keeps your head safely above water while you move your arms and legs around to build strength and cardio endurance. For one solid hour I didn’t have any mobility issues at all. That class was a great workout. When I came home, I took a two-hour nap!

I’m a 44-year-old mom, not a grandma facing a knee replacement. But a lot of the things that have helped me would help anyone recovering from an injury — especially the napping. Napping gets five out of five stars from me.

Jennifer Bardsley is the author of “Sweet Bliss,” “Good Catch” and more. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at

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