Week 6 – The end is in sight
This week has drifted past in another blur of having good days and having bad days. It may be a lot to do with the fact that I can count the times I’ve been outside on 3 fingers since I had my accident. In hindsight, the first thing I should’ve done is get a wheelchair on loan from the Red Cross. It might have been difficult for me to get around on my own though, which was one of the things that stopped me. But as least I might have been able to get outside into the garden safely and get a bit of fresh air. Or perhaps been able to go shopping with a friend etc. It sure would’ve made for some interesting blog posts too; me getting carried away in a gust of wind (I live on a hill), or ending up upside down by the wheelie bins in the garden. I rule nothing out where accidents are concerned now believe me! The longer being “holed up” goes on, the more reclusive I can feel myself becoming and that is no good at all. I know that once I’m in a boot my life isn’t suddenly going to be as good as it was before. I know that I’m still going to be pretty much semi mobile for a few weeks yet, but I will be one step further to normality….that’s what I keep having to tell myself.
I’ve been reading other people’s experiences via the internet and social media groups, and I suppose a lot depends on the kind of fracture you have, and whether you’ve had surgery. I think probably I need to stop reading and stop over analysing and just RECOVER! Yes, actually that sounds like a plan!
Having said that I’ve really loved being able to talk to others online, and especially to be able to offer help or be around for a chat to anyone who’s just hobbling around on the fracture start line. My hopes are that my blog will continue to hang around in cyber space and that maybe others will read this and think “Yep, she’s saying everything I feel and really don’t want to admit to!”, or that some link or tip I share will really help someone out. Who knows eh? Anyway, I’m nowhere near signing off and disappearing back off the land of the two functioning leg person for a good while yet – so you are stuck with me!
Maybe the next entry will be from me – free of cast! I have to be honest here and say that I cannot wait to shave my legs again – a quick peek down my cast has pretty much confirmed that I have morphed into a hairy beast of some description (possible a gibbon). I may have to resist the temptation for take my ladyshave to the plaster room with me to de-fuzz the moment that the plaster is removed.
I will see you on the other side!
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.
- 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”.
- You will feel guilty that you’re not doing anything
- You will feel useless and like a burden
- 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.
- You will worry if you ever will be able to walk “normally” again.
- You will regret not walking your dog for 10 miles a day while you had the chance.
- You will worry about your job.
- You will start to go stir crazy.
- 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.
- 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…..
- You will think that you will NEVER be able to control your crutches. You will. I promise.
- 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.
- You will miss driving and your independence.
- You will wonder if you’ll be able to weight bear without your ankle snapping again immediately.
- You will feel slightly jealous at some point of those that can drive or those that are independent.
- You will think about events that you’ve got planned for the year ahead and wonder if you’ll be able to cope.
- 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.
- 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.
- You will realise what’s really important in life.
- 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.
Week 3: My moods are changing all the time. Each week brings a change.
With any luck I am now just over half way through my time in plaster, but this week has seemed the longest yet. I’ve felt quite reclusive. I’ve not studied. I’ve just basically holed myself up and watched films that I’ve always meant to watch, and I’ve read books that I’ve wanted to read and not had the time. I’ve tried to get about, but the swelling starts within five minutes of being on my feet, so I really have resigned myself to rest. Total rest. I did have two days where I had to look after my eldest son – and that absolutely wore me out.
I seem to have come in for a bit of grief regarding me resting. I think the thought seems to be that I should be up and about and doing much more than I am. But this is my ankle, and my family, and if I don’t rest up then I’m going to end up with surgery – and then being right back to square one. My normal life can be an exhausting one. If you don’t walk my path, then you cannot possibly understand it. And if I have any hope of returning to it without my son ending up in residential care, then I need to do as I’m told now.
This evening for the first time, I am wearing mascara, perfume and a pretty top (with my ever faithful track suit bottoms). My hair is blow dried and I feel half decent for the first time in weeks. The girls are coming round for takeaway and for us to make plans for later in the year. I’m not doing too bad on the Sticks of Satan, and I can shower quite easily alone now, although I need help getting the cover for my cast on. Taking things slowly seems to be the key for me. I know I will get though this. And then once I’m back on my feet I’m going to send my husband away on a holiday cos he actually really deserves it! Well actually the family budget probably wouldn’t allow for it, but I’d like to try to do something. I will have to get my thinking cap on.
I know that soon I’ll be out of plaster and into a boot. I’m hoping that it’s on my next appointment, although I daren’t put too much hope on it. I’m hoping that will also mean some partial weight-bearing? And then hopefully after another six weeks I’ll be well and truly on the home straight to recovery.
Oh to do the things I normally do.
Who would’ve thought that I would miss tasks like loading the washing machine and dryer! However, I’m sure that with a bit of adaptation I could manage to do at least something other than fall down the side of the toilet?
Here’s my wish list. I will cross things off as I achieve them!
Go to the loo – without fearing for my life
Make a cup of tea
Make myself a sandwich
Do some washing up (even if I realise afterwards that I’ve used the sponge that’s used to clean the dog bowls out)
Get dressed in something other than tracksuit bottoms
Be able to get into my wardrobe and chose what I want to wear without having to plan a military operation
Be able to put my knickers on without swearing or pulling a muscle
Realise that I’m actually not superhuman and need to rest and not feel guilty about it
Load the washing machine
- Drive the car (that’s a long way off)
Tackle a flight of stairs – even if it’s on my bum
Learn to tackle the outside steps on my crutches – so husband no longer has to half carry half drag me back into the house
Stop feeling envious of my friends leading their normal happy lives
Let go of the fear. It’s a bloody plaster cast….not an angry alligator clamped to my leg (although it feels like it at times)
- Cook a meal for the family.
Stop worrying about what will happen financially.
Realise that this is a temporary situation. This will pass. I will walk on two legs again.
Lay to rest the fact that I may not be able to wear high heels and glamorous shoes again….not that I have in the past 5 years anyway. I’m a Skechers girl though and through!
Create another page on this blog listing all the useful tips that are being passed my way by others in the same situation.
Anyone that knows me will tell you that I’m usually always on the go.
I have 3 children to look after. Although they aren’t small any more I’m still either giving lifts here there and everywhere, or doing the mound of washing that they keep well stacked. My eldest keeps me especially busy. My husband pretty much keeps himself to himself and works a lot – which is probably his saving grace for his own sanity as our home can become chaotic at times!
So, right now, off my feet, not being able to do anything really apart from stagger on the Sticks of Satan into the loo, is not really going down too well. I have mastered the art of having a wash sitting down – no biggie you might think, but actually turning yourself round on crutches and sitting yourself down on a chair is a craft that must be mastered in the early days of breaking anything from the waist down! I have my shower stool and my cast cover and glory be, last night I managed to have a shower and wash my hair. Oh the liberation! I’ve been downstairs and sat in the kitchen while my daughter made a sandwich, and I’ve been in the living room twice – until my crutch slipped on the living room rug and I nearly went flying. Mental note made to push the rug over by the window and avoid the area in general.
However tomorrow is the big day where I must become at least partially self-sufficient. I am actually very pleased that our house is adapted for our eldest son, who’s mobility requirements are about as high as they come; level access, through floor lift, level access shower room and widened doorways. I still live with this sense of dread that either the lift will get stuck (with me in it), or that I’ll slip over and break something else or heaven forbid that I’ll fall down the side of the loo again! But the thing is I have to learn to manage this alone. I have a few weeks yet of not operating on full power, so I need to pull myself together and sort my it out – and tomorrow will be the start, so please give me a thought. I keep telling myself that others don’t have the luxury of having a husband to take over the caring role (albeit he’s moaning like hell about it – and at times expecting a medal or three for the simplest of tasks), so I have to yank myself up by the bra straps and crack on!
Bright and early my nurse arrived to get me up and ready for surgery.
I believe it was somewhere between 5.30 – 6am. I figured perhaps I was on the morning list, but when they woke all the other ladies too I realised this was the norm. Monique told the nurse to go away and turn the light out – which cheered me up no end.
No breakfast for me – nil by mouth, so I sat and watched the shenanigans with Monique unfold in the opposite bed. I decided that if was going to be there, then I may as well pick up some tips to add to my ever-expanding portfolio of being a pain in the backside to those that I really don’t want to deal with but have to. However as it turned out my stay was short-lived as the consultant arrived, and with a big grin on his face declared that at this moment in time he was happy with my x-rays and that I could go home on the condition I was on strict bed rest with my leg elevated. If I didn’t behave then I would end up having plates and pins in my foot, and that he’d see me in clinic the following week. “Get this woman some breakfast” was his parting command as he breezed off out of the bay. Tea and toast had never tasted so good. A good mental picture of me with that breakfast would be to vision the Cookie Monster with a big plate of cookies.
A visit from the physio with a pair of crutches, and a whole bag full of drugs to take home later, I was free to go!
I had never been so relieved to see my house. But I had one thing preventing me from dashing up the front steps and in through the door. My busted ankle. This was my first trip on crutches….hereby known as The Sticks of Satan. I had two choices of entrance; up a hill and along my long back garden into the back door, or up three steps into the front door. It took me about five seconds to decide that yes the front might be more tricky – but it was quicker. One problem though – the physio hadn’t shown me how to tackle steps….or if he had I’d forgotten all about it in my morphine induced delirium at being able to go home! I’m not really sure how to put into words how I got in through the front door, but it is a wonder I didn’t end up straight back in hospital!
First stop was a toilet break. That was another baptism of fire as I lost my balance fell backwards and ended up down the sideways of the loo. Grim reality started to sink in. This wasn’t going to as easy as I thought. I contemplated the future for about 3 seconds and decided I had a clear choice between bursting into tears (again) or taking a nap. I chose the nap. Which lasted for the rest of the day.