This Guy Walks

Big Daddy Cordes would like to thank all the little people out there like his trainer Jeff Giddings and his doctor Bharat Desai, his friends Wayne Crill and Chris Klinga who put him in touch with the good doc, his sister Jill and her husband Phil and baby Fia, and all my baby’s mommas out there – yo Latisha! – and the good lord above for giving me the talent and determination, the margarita drive, and all the agave farmers in Mexico who make that magic mystery potion so revelant – er, excuse me, relevant – to my recovery, and to Big Daddy’s good friends who give him da potions, and to his lovely Jenna as she put up wit me day in day out I love you baby!, and to my sponsors and the agave farmers in Mexico, and, last but most definitely not least, to the Jesus and the Baby Jesus.

Er, sorry. Got a little excited and thought I was a professional boxer in a post-fight interview, or a rapper. Will go back to referring to myself in first-person and rambling slightly less than normal. But first, for the record, I’m sure that lots of 140-pound white guys go by “Big Daddy.”

The cane is just the first step in my makeover.

So, a few days ago, Tuesday, April 27, after consult with my doc, and upon Jeff’s (my awesome Physical Therapist) evaluation of my progress, Jeff sent me this email:

“Don’t overdo it and use a crutch/cane if you’re having pain, otherwise, start walking like a real person.”

Like someone who’d been touched by the hand of a TV evangelist, I stood up out of my chair and I fucking walked. Hell yeah. Can I get an Amen?

Five steps. Or maybe four. I don’t know, but I walked. My first unaided steps since February 1. Less than three months from “vaporizing” my ankle and lower leg, as someone aptly put it, to walking – even just a little. Not bad, I’m psyched. But I’ve still got a huge road ahead. It’s not like I suddenly jump up and am all better – remember that scene in the Big Lebowski, when Walter convinces himself that The Millionaire Lebowski (not the Deadbeat Lebowski), is “A goldbricker, a fuckin’ phony, this guy walks! I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life!” And he suddenly picks him up out of his wheelchair and Mr. Lebowski crumples to the ground. Horrible scene, in a way, only funny because Walter’s such an asshole. Well, that’d be me if I tried to do too much. So, progress, slowly, surely I hope, and, yeah, it hurts and it’s sore and stiff, but I’m working at it and I’m getting better.

I’m working on proving Walter right about one thing: This guy walks.

31 thoughts on “This Guy Walks

  1. Freaking awesome!!!! I’ve been following your progress and this phenomenal. Don’t forget one of the steps of recovering is overdoing it and setting yourself back. So, be careful with the moon walking!

  2. you are definitely hence forth named… sir OG. You know… you don’t really need your feet for steep sport climbing, thats what your arms are for.

    • OG, why, but of course. i, uh, i been called that my whole life sucka! (that IS “Original Gangsta” right? i’m gonna be really embarrassed if it means Orange Grove). soon i think i’ll be able to get outside, Matt — teach me to sport climb. i suck and need to improve. won’t be able to walk far, but will be able to climb.

  3. Nice going……I remember those days well…..WALK AS MUCH AS YOU CAN EVERY DAY……..

    And it will still take probably a year to get rid your your limp…..

  4. Amen, Kelly! May I suggest a Don Julio Anejo with Grand Marnier marg to celebrate? (My personal favorite marg, reserved for very special occasions as it’s pretty spendy…)

  5. You rock dude!!…..that’s the most inspiring video I’ve seen in a long time!!!…..keep going!!!!….best wishes from Venezuela

  6. you should have made a skit (a la the one you did with Tommy) with some evangelical preacher screaming, “I command ye to rise. I say RISE. Now WALK, WALK, ye will feel the power of thy hand!”

    or something like that.

    congrats, your hard work paid off!

  7. Nice work, dude. Although I awoke to the reality that I’ll be sitting in a cubicle for four more days this week, that made my morning.

    • haaaa! man, nice. cracked me up. somehow reminds me of that old Eddie Murphy stand-up skit, where he’s going off on how with black guys you CAN’T make fun of Stevie Wonder. ever see it? wonder if it’s available online or something. just this litany of curse words and stuff, “you don’t fuck with Stevie, man, Stevie’s a genius, a musical genius MFer!”

  8. Big deal. So you can walk. Lots of climbers have walked before.

    It is not even like you did the 2nd first walk or even the third 2nd walk.

    Definetly not American Journal of Walkers (AJW) worthy.

    Now if you were a black jewish lesbian and walked fast, maybe we’d publish your entry.

    Walking Shoes Joe (famous walker from the golden age of walkers): Walking is always under-rated and under-appericated, until you can’t walk, in which case ya might have to roll.
    low gravity day, thnx to your progress.

    • what about a short guy with a girl’s name and a low IQ who now can walk? i think i’m sending it to the AAJ. they’ll publish anything!

  9. Way to go Kelly! I broke my leg in 09 and you are walking faster than I did and your injury was worse. Just take it day by day and try to keep your eye on the prize..a return to the big hills. Best of luck to you! I enjoy reading your blog a lot.

  10. Nice job, brah!

    Regarding that pimp outfit, however, I recommend swapping out the old skool walking stick for a 90cm BD Raven mountaineering axe. (Its aggressive pick could prove useful if somebody starts jumping ugly with one of your biatches…)

    And just think, you could do for Black Diamond what DMX did for The North Face…

    Stylin’, yo!

    • love it! i’m gonna work on that right now. and i need to come up with a dark rendition of some old song, like DMX did to Ain’t No Sunshine (what a badass version, btw). maybe i can come up with a gangsta rap version (i mean, c’mon, i fit the part anyway — matt, higher up, said i’m now officially OG which, i think anyway, means “original gangsta” — help us out here, matt?) to Pop Goes the Weasel? with a cameo by Weasel One. whew, wheels are turnin’.

  11. thanks so much, everybody! really appreciate it. wow, it’s so cool to walk again. guess we take things for granted. that’s ok in a sense, though, and i look forward to reaching the point again where i take walking for granted. grateful for it all, good perspective, and eager to keep moving forward — without the Frankenstein gait, i hope. a pimp limp, now i just might have to keep that.

  12. Kelly,
    I came across your blog doing research on pilon fractures and running afterwards. (not sure how come Google directed me to your climbing blog….must be related) and I really have enjoyed reading your posts about your accident and your obvious determination to recover AND continue climbing. I am 14 months out from a snowboarding accident that resulted in a similar pilon fracture. I am convinced it only happened because i was trash talking my 4 girls who ALL wimped out in a simple rail in the terrain park, and I didn’t pay attention for a milisecond. I am extremely active in a varitely of things, running, cycling, snowboarding, wakeboarding and had begun climing. The hardest things to deal with was not knowing when I could do all the things i LOVED to do. So, 14 months later, I have been cycling since the day my dr. let me start to walk – side note…incredibly PT and helps with range of motion), snowboarded all year, and have been out wakeboarding a few times…when the weather has cooperated, and have climbed a handful of times. In January, at my 3 week hardware removal post-op appointment, my dr. told me I couldn’t ever run like I used to. I regualarly ran 5k’s and 10k’s and trained constantly to maintain a better time. So, I am currently researching what it will take to get me back to where I can do what I am nost passionate about, and that is running. 95% of your recovery is sheer will power so I wanted to lend you words of encouragement that even though it is a difficult recovery, and the information on the internet regarding pilon fractures is not encouraging, there are those who have had sucessful recoveries and are back out there enjoying life! Good luck to you on your recovery, I hope is it speedy and you are back to climbing in no time!

  13. Hi Katie, and apologies for my delay, and thank you for the good words. So sorry to hear about your accident — no doubt, damned nasty pilon fractures. They suck. But so it goes, no? I figure we have to learn something from it, or through the recovery process, otherwise it’s a waste and we’re just wasting ourselves and wasting time. Crazy, too, how just that millisecond lapse, as you and I both had, can result in such a severe outcome. Something to remember, I suppose — gotta stay vigilant.

    The running thing seems like it might be cruxy. Are you having any luck? Seems everyone I know who has had such an injury and recovers says something like “the only thing I can’t do anymore is run.” Like you, I love(d?) running, and it’ll be tough for me to take if I can’t do it anymore, but i guess I’ll deal with it. Am back to hiking to climbs (hiked about 1.5 hrs the other day, it’s the farthest yet, leg felt great), and climbing lots, which makes me happy. Still really miss getting into the backcountry (can’t walk that far yet; used to run the trails in to such climbs…), but that’ll come.

    Thanks for sharing and for you words of encouragement — same to you.

    Take care,

  14. Hi Kelly,

    It’s probable that you hear my story rather frequently, but after reading through your blog I felt that I had to write and say thanks for sharing everything that you went through after breaking your ankle. A week ago I fell climbing in Lumpy and since I had never broken a bone before decided it would be a good time to test out shattering all of the bones in my ankle. I have since decided that it hurts and I don’t want to do it again. I have an external fixator on my right leg right now and am getting ready for my second surgery. After I got home friend told me that I should google your blog and read what you had to write about your injury. I’ve been reading through them for the past few days and have felt so inspired by your positive attitude and your willpower. I have a plane ticket for Buenos Aires on November 30 and my goal is to be walking by then, also speaking spanish. I’m not sure how my ankle even compares to the mush that your turned into, but you have definitely left me inspired! Thanks!


    • Hi Virginia, thank you for the note. Really appreciate the good words, and I’m glad that it’s been helpful to you. Pretty amazing to realize how many folks have gone through this stuff — I never knew until getting comments and emails from folks after I posted some of this stuff, and so it’s been a great cycle of learning and being inspired by others, too. A lot of remarkable stories out there, and yours will surely become one.

      Dang, and at Lumpy, too. Shoot. Was just out there yesterday, had such a wonderful day. You’ll be back at it, just be smart and stay vigilant and determined. But good to get that leg breaking stuff out of the way and realize there’s no need to do it again — I agree!

      Keep up the positive attitude, and take good care. You’ll be back at it soon.

      Thank you!

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