Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Top Ten Reasons NOT to Break Your Foot

First week of broken foot.  Lots of swelling.

#10.  It really hurt!  There was no doubt about it.  When I fell down our front steps and landed so gracefully on the front sidewalk, I knew immediately that I had broken my foot!  I didn't hear it break (as some people tell) but I did know that it instantly hurt more than any other thing I had experienced in life.  (This is my first official broken bone.  I may have broken my pinky toe once and there was some discussion over a possible broken nose a few years ago---but the radiologist said no.)  I knew it wasn't going to be a bad sprain or a bad bruise.  I felt my foot bend in half lengthwise or diagonally.  Not the way it was meant to bend.  The first words out of my mouth were, "Ow!  Ow!  Ow!  I think I broke my foot!"

View from the top of the steps.  There are 7 steps.  My brain computed 4 and forgot about the last 3.    That's a lot of steps to forget.  In my defense, I remember thinking how very hot it was that day...right before I fell.

This is the soft sidewalk I landed on.

#9.  It still really hurts!  Yep.  It's been more than 2 weeks and the pain hasn't gone away.  Certainly, I have learned to handle the pain better.  Certainly, there are moments of it hurting less than others.  But the constant knowledge that something is not right in my body and that it isn't going to fade away in a few minutes is always there.  It's kind of like having your tooth drilled---but constantly.  You have a bit of numbing medicine, but you can feel the pain still and the dentist is never done!

Second week.  The whole foot took on a lovely color.  And the most bruising pooled at my toes--which is strange because the break is much further up the foot.

#8.  Plants.  I never got or get to see the flowers we were so carefully planting that day.  We had finally chosen flowers for the front of our brick wall (after 2 whole years of nothing!) and I was so excited to be getting them in.  Roses that were just the right color to blend with my front door.  Blue Delphiniums---because I love blue!  Yellow Something-flowers to balance it all out! If I wasn't hurt, I would be out there every day admiring them, watering them, seeing to their newly transplanted needs!  Instead, I hope for the best---knowing that they are perennials and that with good luck, I will be able to enjoy them next summer.  My family has been watering them when they have time---but do they know how to notice their special needs?  Do they appreciate them?  Do they stand back and say, "Yes.  These are the right plants for this house!  These belong to the plant part of our family now!"  And even if my husband or daughter do think these things---I don't get to!  I don't get to see them, feel them, or enjoy them.  I'm stuck inside and can't see them from here.  And it's terribly disappointing.

I asked Rachael to go and take some pictures of my flowers.

See.  I'm pretty sure this flower needs me!  Some of the blooms are too dry!

Oh, but I DO love this rose color!

I can't wait until these are many, standing all tall and blue together!

#7.  Stairs.  Any kind of stairs.  They are all awful.  And our house is filled with them!  Stairs are what caused my injury!  Stairs are required to go to the bathroom.  Stairs are required to go to the family room.  Stairs are required to get to the kitchen.  Anywhere I go in my home, stairs must be met, terror overcome, and crutches, along with my broken self must traverse them with success.  The first day, my husband tried to teach me how to go up and down stairs with crutches.  Because he had needed crutches in his youth and knew all about it!  At that time, I couldn't even put a little bit of pressure on my foot.  I couldn't use it for balance.  And there wasn't any way I was going to use those crutches on the stairs!  It was a total joke!  Take a person with a broken foot and give them 2 aluminum sticks and make them go up and down an insane obstacle course balancing on those sticks with the promise of a "soft" landing on rock or ceramic flooring at the bottom of their fall.  I was having none of it!  I chose to crawl up and down the stairs that week.  It was by far the most reasonable option.

This is what the stairs in our house look like to me.
This is the reality.  Scary enough!  Notice the soft rock floor at the bottom.

#6.  Depression.  Yes, as would be expected, breaking your foot is depressing!  It's terribly disappointing.  A constant nuisance.  And sometimes it just makes you cry.  Actually, quite a few times.  And at inconvenient and embarrassing times and places.  Like at church.  Or in the shower.  Or the middle of the night.  I don't want to have a broken foot.  I want it to be all better already.  I don't feel patient---which I now understand more fully why they gave that name to lovely sick people!  Patients.  They have to be patient!  And I am assuredly not!

Yep.  Broken Foot=Sad Face.

#5.  Stupidity.  It turns out that constant pain and inconvenient handicap make me stupid.  I can't think straight most of the time.  I can't make decisions.  I can't follow conversations very well.  I have to reread sentences over and over again.  And I notice this!  It wouldn't be so bad if I was also so stupid I didn't notice the change! But to be aware of being stupid---well, that's just mean!  Luckily, my family is nice to me anyway.
"What would you like for dinner?"  
"I dunno."  
"Well, what sounds good?"  
"Nothing.  Anything.  I dunno."  
(a few minutes later...)
"Okay, here is the lovely dinner I made/bought/brought for you."  
"Yuck.  I hate it."  

(I have a good family.)

Yes this IS an actual X-ray of my brain since the accident.

#4.  Inability to Help.  Not only is it frustrating to not be able to fully take care of yourself, but it is terribly frustrating to not be able to help others.  Especially when they really need it!  A few days into my broken foot, my daughter got really sick!  On the very day she was supposed to graduate from high school!!!  I was laid up in bed. She was throwing up violently in the bathroom.  And no one else was home.  It was horrible!  She needed me.  And I needed to help her!  But the stupid broken foot was in the way.  Somehow, I managed to hobble in on crutches to comfort her.  I honestly had never seen her so sick.  And I've been caring for her for 18 years!  With some grit and resolve, I managed those dreaded stairs to attempt to bring her some ginger ale from the kitchen.  But how?  How can you carry a glass of ginger ale up the stairs on crutches?  It wasn't possible.  Both my arms were needed for carrying myself.  But I figured a way!  I poured ginger ale into a Ziploc container with a screw-top lid.  I put on my cooking apron with the big pocket in front.  Into the pocket the container went and up the stairs I carefully climbed.  This is how I would care for her for the rest of the day.  A bit of toast?  No problem.  I am a kangaroo mother with a pocket and two aluminum crutch hopping feet.  I can still care for my baby.  Just watch me!  (And by the end of the day, she was better enough to walk in her graduation!  Thank goodness for miracles!  Of all kinds!)

Success at bringing her back from the dead!!!

#3.  People's Helpfulness.  You would think that I would be overjoyed and appreciative of everyone's helpfulness.  And honestly, I do appreciate the help!  I would not have survived thus far without it!  Especially from my family!  But there is some kind of help that is helpful.  And some kind that is not.  My first week back at church, after the meetings were over with, I foot-pushed my wheelchair (thanks be to the person who lent me a basic wheelchair!) out into the hall to meet my daughter who had walked to the end of the hall and was coming right back to push me out to the car.  I was feeling a terribly delightful feeling of independence.  I was going to be halfway down the hall before my daughter came back!  And no one was in the hall that could bump my foot!  I had a straight shot and I was making it! Push, push, push with my good foot!  Look at me go!!! Then I felt someone grab a hold of my wheelchair handles.  "I'll push you!"  "No, no!  I protested!  I'm fine!  My daughter is just down the hall.  She will be right back!"  "No.  I will push you!"  The person was insistent.  And though I protested, she had me by the back of the wheelchair and there was nothing I could do.  Even when my daughter showed up and tried to take back over, this person was set on "helping" me.  All. The. Way. Out. To. The. Car.  

Life-saving wheelchair!  Hugs to the person who lent it to me!
I don't know how to communicate forcefully enough that some kinds of help just aren't helpful.  It makes me sound ungrateful and rude.  But I think I will try to remember in the future that my need to be helpful should never overshadow the real needs of the person whom I serve.  

#2.  Getting Ready.  You wouldn't believe it if I told you, but it still takes me more than an hour to get ready for the day!  And I'm not talking about doing hair or putting on make up.  Those things take a really low priority right now!  I'm talking about getting a shower and getting dressed.  Things I used to boast I could do in 5 minutes or less if there was a reason to!  Now everything is complicated.  Everything is dangerous.  Slipping in the shower comes second only to falling down the stairs in my world of extreme fears.  Even after my nice husband went out and bought me a shower chair---it is still very dangerous.  And complex.  Getting undressed is not easy!  Everything takes time.  Everything takes effort.  And I have to be so very careful!  Unwrapping my bruised and broken foot.  Just stepping over the threshold of the shower is a tricky business.  And slippery wet floors are involved!  With a completely vulnerable and naked foot!   You've heard the saying, "Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time?"  Well, it's that one leg that causes the problem.  It's incredibly scary to pull a pant leg over a broken foot.  And it has to be done while the broken foot is exposed--without the special boot or special flat sandal the doctor gave me.  Things that took split seconds before, now are a drawn-out and laborious effort.  I am exhausted and sweating by the time I am dressed.  It almost seems pointless.  One of the first days my husband went to work the whole day, I proudly told him when he got home, "I got a shower today and got dressed!!!"  It was the only thing I had done all day and I truly was proud of myself.

My Ace bandage must be wrapped and re-wrapped around the foot in the right way every day .  This is the main thing holding my broken bone in place.  I'm glad it's not a cast!  But I can't help but worry it isn't enough!

#1.  The number one worst thing about breaking your foot is.......Getting Up in the Morning!  Mornings are dastardly!  And deceptive!  The sun streams through the window.  The drug-induced, vividly colorful dreams give way to the gentle tweeting of birds.  My eyes blink and open.  There is a feeling of peace and tranquility and light.  I breathe a deep breath. And then.......I remember.  I remember that I am an invalid.  I remember that I will be an invalid for a long time to come.  I remember that my foot is broken, that I can't hop out of bed, that I can't do yoga this morning, that I can't make plans of any kind.  I can't go anywhere, run any errands, grocery shop, or visit anyone.  I remember that I am broken.  Dependent on others.  Incapable.  Burdening.  I try to go back to sleep.  Sleep is my one escape from this reality.  Sleep is a relief.  I'm not broken in my sleep.  I'm not aware.  I'm not in pain.  Sometimes I do manage to doze back off.  But my Evil Bladder doesn't let me escape for long.  Pain meds have worn off after the long night and my foot is throbbing.  I need to go to the bathroom.  I also need my medicine.  ALL my muscles are sore because they've had to do overtime on behalf of the broken foot.  Strangely, the palms of my hands hurt the worst.  I have to reach my boot, get it strapped on the tender foot.  I have to figure out how to stand up.  I have to twist on my good foot over to my wheelchair.  Then get some sort of shoe on that good foot---for traction or I can't move the wheelchair across the hardwood floor.  I have to make sure my crutches are at the entrance to the bathroom.  And it's all taking too long---Evil Bladder keeps informing me!  Finally relieved and awake, I make it back to my wheelchair and contemplate my day.  What will I do today?  Not much.  That's for sure.  Mornings are hard.

I have a choice.  The more protective, but incredibly heavy boot....OR...

The Velcro sandal that keeps my foot perfectly flat and flex-free!  But I feel way more vulnerable in this shoe.  My foot sticks out like a sore thumb for people to bump!

My favorite good foot gripping shoe for pushing the wheelchair across the hardwood floor.

Here I am at Rachael's graduation.  I stood up long enough to take the picture and then sat right back down in the wheelchair that is off-camera to the right.  You can see how hard my good foot is trying to balance my delicate frame (ha ha!) and not put any real pressure on the broken foot!
I will heal.  At least I think I will.  It's going to take a full 10 weeks, though.  Tomorrow I will write about the top 10 good things breaking a foot has done for me.  Well, it might only be the top 5 things.  Or maybe just 3.  I might just try to find 1 positive thing that has come out of this!  We'll see.  ; )

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much! -- this is the first time I've laughed in the three weeks since I broke my foot. No wait, I take that back. As I was climbing up the stairs on all threes (one of my wrists is sprained, too) my twenty-four year old daughter took one look at me and said I reminded her of Olivia de Havilland in "The Heiress", lumbering up the stairs after being stood up by Morris. Anyway, everything you said is so true. Thanks again for helping me to see the humor in my pathetic condition.


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