Well, last week I finally did it.  I took my first drumming lesson, with Alpha.  Alpha teaches drumming according to the Guinea style.

Last summer I bought a djembe, a type of African drum.  Since then, I’ve been looking for a drumming circle within a fairly easy driving distance of our home, with little luck.  Through postings on various newsgroups, I learned of Alpha’s weekly class in Guelph, and last week I finally (a) felt good enough, ankle-wise, to engage in after-work activities; (b) made sure that I didn’t have a boatload of work to bring home; and (c) worked up the courage to go to a class.

The others there – maybe 6 or 8 people – were far, far ahead of me.  Being ahead of me is saying nothing, since my total prior exposure was playing along with YouTube-like djembe lessons – but the people in the class were phenomenal.  The rhythms can be quite complicated, and the timing not necessarily intuitive.  I found if I watched others, I’d be thrown off – it was kind of like the feeling of counting money and having someone else come in and start counting at a different point.

But Alpha was kind and a good teacher, the other students understanding, and I had patience.  It was a pleasure listening to the others.  Maybe in 10-15-20 years I, too, will be able to drum like some of them.  Until that time, I’m just going to try and have fun doing it.

On the ankle front, I continue to improve.  Tomorrow is my 8-week anniversary of the surgery, and I’m as mobile as I was before the surgey, if not a bit more.  I’ve put away my aircast, can walk a fair distance without even a cane.  There’s at least one benefit I’ve already seen from the surgery:  pre-surgery, after I’d stand from sitting or laying down, I’d have to just be still for a minute or two before I could walk.  No longer.  As soon as I stand up, I can ambulate.  My ankle feels totally secure.

i still have a fair amount of swelling, though, which elevation and icing helps.  I understand that the swelling may take months to go away.  I also have limited range of motion – but I think that that’s even a tiny bit better than pre-surgery.

And – still thanking my lucky stars – I continue to have very little pain.  What pain I do have now is from the workout that my poor unused muscles and tendons are experiencing, and I find that an Aleve 2x a day does the trick pretty well.

Last Friday was my 12th anniversary of my arrival in Canada.  I assure you that 12 years ago, if someone had told me I’d be writing a blog about taking djembe lessons after having ankle replacement surgery, I would have suggested that that someone needed serious help. Just goes to show, we never know what our future holds in store.