Seven Days

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!

finishlineahead

 

 

 

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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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Reality Check

Week 2.  And a kick up the bum

I really am going to have to do this another way.  I went to the hospital yesterday for my check up. Ankle was found to be in a non-satisfactory position.  Cast was whipped off (well, sawn off with that vibrating circular saw from hell) and my ankle was then moved into a totally new position.  I didn’t swear, I just stuck my top in my mouth and bit down.  After 5 minutes of my foot being held in the new position I didn’t feel the pain anymore….so it’s official….I’m hardcore.  In the grand scheme of things I’m not.  The folks who have hardware in their ankle are hardcore.  I am just so grateful I never had to endure that. I had a new cast to hold my foot, and another x-ray and sent home for another 4 weeks.  The Consultant said that when I go back hopefully the cast can come off and I can go into a boot.

However.  The swelling I have is not good.  And the Nurse picked up on this straight away.  I got a telling off.  And yep, she was right on everything she said, so I’m abandoning my to-do list because this isn’t a race.  I escaped pins and plates by the skin of my teeth and there is nothing to say that in 4 weeks, if my ankle hasn’t repaired well, the decision won’t be made to put pins in then!  And that really would be the end of the world for me.  The bottom line is I’m trying to do too much and I’m not resting enough.  Attempting to load washing machines or trying to live as I did before in any way is not an option as things stand at the moment.  I am still going to attempt to get around the house a bit more BUT in short bursts, and actually not for the next few days at least as I need to get this swelling down.  I’m at the stage evidently (2 weeks in) where the swelling is at its worst, so I really need to behave and be kind to myself.  And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

 

 

 

 

An achievable life

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.

Some kind of normality?

7am.  Husband is up and about.

Last night was the first night he actually shared a bed with me since the middle of last week.  I don’t know if it’s because right now he’s scared of kicking my leg in his sleep, or whether it’s because I’m a class A bitch to be around at the moment (I do have my nice moments though), or it may have been because he’s purely too tired by the time he’s finished meeting my barking demands and keeping everything else ticking over that he’s just fell asleep on the sofa downstairs.  Downstairs is the one part of the house that isn’t filled with my bossiness.  Maybe it’s become his own personal sanctuary.  Space to clear his head of the days events?

Or maybe he’s just being an arsehole.  I don’t know, and to be honest I haven’t really thought about it that much.  Trapped somewhere between the pure irritation and indignance of not being in control of my own life and responsibilities (How Dare life do this to me!), and at time big juicy bites of feeling sorry for myself, I’ve been purely selfish in my train of thought 99 per cent of the time.

The title of this blog is How to own a broken ankle.  You can take the title in two ways:

  1. How to own a broken ankle – and be a po-faced martyr, making everyone miserable in the process.
  2. How to OWN a broken ankle; be the boss of your own life even if you are hopping through it currently.  Hop through it with style, use the break to get on with your life in other ways, smile, find ways of coping. Take your painkillers like a good girl and GET ON WITH IT!

Currently I’m yet to reach stage 2.  I’ve found an amazing Facebook group filled with a few thousand folks that are in the same boat as me all in varying degrees.  Although I’m one of millions around the world currently in plaster, it still feels like I’m the only one.  I think that the only way to stop feeling this way is to get on with life.  And that has to start now.

9.43am.

I’m dressed, I’ve eaten and drank, I’ve taken meds.  I’m still upstairs.  I stood perched and unaided by my bedroom window looking out on the morning.  I’ve watched the lady across the road clean the inside of her windows, I’ve looked at the clouds and pondered the concept of chemtrails, and I’ve watched husband wheel our son into his car and take him off to college.  I’ve packed a bag that I will sling across my body containing the essentials I will need during the day – including my phone just in cast I get trapped in the lift…which is my biggest fear.   I’ve read another chapter of Apple Tree Yard (books are always better that anything on TV).  And here I am.  Still on the bed.  I think the excuse I’m using is the elbow crutches I am using are killing my left shoulder and therefore I should just stay put.  However, I’m determined to start living and resting in other parts of the house.  Anyone would think I’m contemplating boarding a plane whilst trying to deal with a fear of flying.  I’m just contemplating moving myself downstairs.  This is so ridiculous.

12.44pm.

I’ve been a busy girl.  I got downstairs in one piece to let the dog out….and then got one of my crutches caught round a chair leg whilst trying to close the door and took a tumble sideways again.  Luckily, I managed to avoid falling by hopping madly to the left…..and I stayed upright.  I swore at the chair, and demanded it’s removal.  I’ve been doing this a lot.  As well as the chair, I’ve demanded the removal of remote controls, bras on the floor (don’t ask), a trailing cable from an extension lead (this house is a health and safety nightmare it seems) and the dog for nearly tripping me over.

But time to put my proud hat on now.  Get ready for this:

  • I’ve washed up
  • I’ve cleaned the dogs bowls out and fed the dog
  • I’ve cleaned the kitchen sink
  • I’ve programmed the washing machine for later
  • I made myself a coffee and sat and drank it.

All this was achieved using the walking frame my Mum loaned me.  It has a seat, so I’m able to sit down and either pull myself around the kitchen or I can hop with it.  I think I may well not hop barefoot anymore though as it actually hurts.  I have some Skechers Go Walks in my wardrobe….I will fish those out as I think they may well help in a hopping situation.

By the end of this I was desperate to go back upstairs and lay down on the bed.  I’m in no hurry to go back down, but I’m getting kind of peckish, so I may nip back down , make myself a packed lunch and bring it back up.  Comfort is the call of order for the rest of the day I think.  But I still feel proud – and not so useless as I did when I started this post.

1.30pm.

I did it!  I made my packed lunch and brought it back up to bed.  Feel really sleepy now.

5pm.

Wow – where did the afternoon go?  Fell sound asleep, and now time to take my son to respite.  I seriously need to get out and about, so I’m going along for the ride.

8pm.

That didn’t go as planned.  Usual route was jammed with traffic.  Stuck for ages.  Ankle started to swell up inside cast.  While husband was checking son in to respite, I hobbled out of front seat and into back.  As soon as my foot was up, swelling went down.  I’m feeling knackered again.  This is bloody ridiculous.

9pm.

Pouring with rain, husband points out that my cast is going to get wet if I hobble round the back.  Getting up the front steps is out of the question.  His solution is to half carry, half drag me up the front steps.  Something makes a cracking noise…can’t tell if it’s my spine or his, and actually I’m beyond caring and so is he.  I know I will have to get to grips with the Sticks of Satan and slay the steps, but my shoulder is hurting so much it’s hard to see how I’m every going to master the ruddy things.

10.10pm

In bed, meds taken. Husband snoring.

I think I might take things a bit steadier tomorrow.  Like I should’ve done today.

 

“Oh I’ve never broken a bone”

The sentence above was my personal claim of glory.  I’ve been through lots in my life – but I was made of strong stuff!

And then I met my fate, whilst carrying a big basket of washing down the stairs on Thursday 26th January 2017.

Life was going really well for a change. My eldest son Jack was doing really well at college, despite all the daily challenges he faces, and I had just managed to get my first job since his birth. Emotionally I was flying high.

About halfway down the stairs, I felt my right foot slide out from under me, my left foot go under me, and my left ankle in the opposite direction.  And then I heard a good solid snapping sound which will actually haunt me forever.  I slid down the rest of the stairs gasping with pain, and then I heard screaming.  That screaming came from me as it turned out.

My husband, once he’d very quickly established that I’d broken my ankle, picked me up over his shoulder (no mean feat as I’m no lightweight) and laid me on the back seat of the car and drove as quickly as he could to hospital.  By this time I think I must’ve been in a bit of shock as I just remember seeing street lights going past and me trying to block out the pain by going to the “Happy Place” in my mind.  Once we’d reached A&E I was seen really quickly, given pain relief, x-rayed.  Just as I thought I would be heading home with crutches and a cast, an orthopaedic doctor appeared and informed me that, no only had I broken a bone on the left side of my ankle, I’d manage to move another bone out-of-place, and that I’d be requiring surgery the next morning and was being admitted to a ward.  A big arrow was drawn on my leg, a canula was put in my right arm, bloods were taken and I was given some morphine.  And then I was put into a temporary cast.  However, prior to the cast, my ankle bone was manipulated back into place by the doctor.  Again, I don’t remember much, except threatening to place my big toe inside her nostril if she didn’t pack it in!  The doctor laughed.  I cried for what felt like the 50th time that evening.

The warm feel of the cast brought some relief, or maybe that was the morphine, but I was wheeled up to the trauma ward.  The story of my time there, which was thankfully brief, is one for another time.  But I met a lady I will never forget.  Her name was Monique, and she was dutch, and in her 70’s.  This lady took no prisoners, and whilst I don’t advocate being a thorn in the side of any healthcare staff, she expressed her wishes in a very forthright manner, told staff off for not treating the other patients how they deserved, and somehow got her 12 pieces of toast for breakfast the following day in a very crafty manner.  If you hear me every use the term that I’m “channelling my Inner Monique” then you will know what I’m talking about!

I was dreading surgery.  I’m no emotional lightweight, but I think the reality of being in the hospital alone was a really scary prospect.  But then I’d look around at the other ladies on the ward (all elderly) and pulled myself together and tried to get some sleep.