Reassurance

To all of you reading who are new to the world of Broken Ankleism.

I’m imagining that you, dear reader, are at the beginning of your journey.  You’re freshly dispatched from A&E with a Backslab cast and you’re wondering what the hell has happened to your life in the past 24 hours.  I’ve been blogging about my inner feelings for the past few weeks, but I felt that a summarising post was necessary.  A post that you can quickly refer to, just to reassure yourself that you are normal.

So here are the key feelings that you may experience.

  1. If you are used to being the housewife/husband and your partner has taken over, nothing they do in the first 14 days will be right or up to your “standards”.
  2. You will feel guilty that you’re not doing anything
  3. You will feel useless and like a burden
  4. You will feel totally overwhelmed that you will be off your feet for at the very least 6 – 8 weeks, and in reality it’s going to be more like 12 weeks before you’re back in the saddle.  Actually that thought still overwhelms me (I’m 5 weeks in) so I’m not going to read that back to myself.
  5. You will worry if you ever will be able to walk “normally” again.
  6. You will regret not walking your dog for 10 miles a day while you had the chance.
  7. You will worry about your job.
  8. You will start to go stir crazy.
  9. You will watch rubbish like The Jeremy Kyle show – and wish that you could walk 10 miles with your dog just to avoid daytime TV.
  10. You will make mental lists about what you’re going to do when you are able to walk again.  If you never had a bucket list before, you will make one now.  Mine includes visiting the Grand Canyon and the Shoes by the River Exhibit in Budapest.  Best get a passport then…..
  11. You will think that you will NEVER be able to control your crutches.  You will.  I promise.
  12. You will discover you have a temper.  In the early days you will lose the plot at the slightest thing or if someone/something isn’t in the right place at the right time.  Reassurance for your loved ones – this does get better.  It’s gradually improving for me anyhow.
  13. You will miss driving and your independence.
  14. You will wonder if you’ll be able to weight bear without your ankle snapping again immediately.
  15. You will feel slightly jealous at some point of those that can drive or those that are independent.
  16. You will think about events that you’ve got planned for the year ahead and wonder if you’ll be able to cope.
  17. You will enjoy, for a brief period, being the centre of attention.  That stops when you realise how long you will be out of service.
  18. You may have a period of time where you sink under covers and feel very blue.  You will seriously consider the possibility of hibernation for the duration of your recovery.
  19. You will realise what’s really important in life.
  20. This will change you.

I’m sure, being at week 5 myself, I will continue to be able to add to that list as the weeks go on.  It’s really important that you know that you’re not alone.  There are others in exactly the same position.  And most importantly you’re not alone in how you feel.  Your feelings are normal.  You will recover.  That last point is what I’m hanging onto myself right now.

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Finding my way – but at a standstill

I’m starting to wonder if there is a mental process to all this.

Is there a line we all follow, the same sort of process as The Five Stages of Grief for example?  I know it’s a bit rich to compare the death of a loved one to a broken limb.  Death is permanent – A broken limb is temporary so really there should be no comparison whatsoever, but maybe the shock of the accident and the loss of mobility, and being able to do things alone does  cause grief.  Mourning for our usual life…not being able to get out and about, not being able to work, not being able to care for our families as we usually do.  Maybe an element of self-pity?  Actually I think the self-pity is caused by the guilt.  Guilt for being a burden, guilt for not being able to be productive.  This all sounds very deep I realise, but this weekend has been difficult.

When I first did my ankle in, I felt shock.  Mind numbing shock actually.  The first 48 hours passed in a blur.  There were visitors, and there were flowers and cards.  A few days later I got proactive; finished my college course, got some elearning for work done, caught up on important phone calls, made lists, got things done.  Then I decided that I would live as normal.  I would adapt to my circumstances!  I would be the Bitch of Broken Bones.  And then my ankle swelling got me a telling off from the fracture clinic.  And I finally had to come to terms with the fact that no I wouldn’t be adapting, and I really do have to rest.

So now, here I am.  I don’t want to be proactive anymore.  My laptop is sitting looking at me begging to get some things done.  But my mind keeps saying “Nope, today I’m just going to watch crappy TV and old films”.  I’ve heard from others that depression is common in this situation, but I really could do with avoiding that.  I think I’m more fed up that my life was just coming together for the first time in 21 years.  I was literally days away from starting, and then I fell down the stairs.  My job is being held for me, but I honestly don’t know when I’m going to be start!  In theory out of plaster in 4 weeks and then into a boot, but until I can drive everything is a non starter. Will I have full strength in my ankle?  Will this cause long-lasting effects?  Sounds pathetic doesn’t it.  I need to concentrate on just taking one day at a time.  Me stressing about things isn’t going to change a thing.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is an emotionally brighter day.

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