Aug 17, 2014

Broken Ankle Diary - Week 3

Broken Ankle Diary - Week 3 
Entries: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

Continuing the saga.  Because being broken is my new hobby.

Monday

Last night we went to a friend's house for game night.  It was a good time and I finally got to try out my new Lord of the Rings Monopoly game.  (Awesome, in case you were wondering.  As is everything that is LotR themed)  However... it was not a crutches-friendly environment.  Baby gates, narrow hallways, things on the ground to trip over, rugs that slide.  I nearly died.  (I'm disabled, I get to be melodramatic if I want to!)

Oh!  The heel of my hand is peeling a tiny bit.  Because my skin is wimpy.  (In the past I've gotten blisters from canoeing, mowing the lawn, trimming a llama, just generally anything that applies pressure to my hands.)  But my foot is almost normal colored.  So, trade-offs.

I'm still sore from my not-so-lazy weekend so today my only goal is to move as little as possible.

Tuesday

I've done a lot of complaining and feeling sorry for myself so for today I'm just going to talk about the positives.
  • My toes are just about normal color, and it no longer hurts to elevate the foot
  • I've gotten a lot better at maneuvering with crutches, so going sideways/around corners are no longer the impossibilities they once were
  • My family has been really awesome and helpful, and I really appreciate what they've been doing for me.  Significant, in particular, has had to take up a lot of extra chores with dog walking and grocery shopping (which he hates).
  • I figured out the magical toes hanging off the bed trick, and can now sleep with only occasional discomfort
  • I found jeans that fit over the cast!
  • I've been using my foot a little bit (leaning on it, using it for balance, and even taking a few steps on it with crutches) and it doesn't hurt!!!
I'm hoping to start phasing my foot back into regular use this week, starting slow, of course.  Time for some baby steps!  (I was going to say "literal" because they'll be tiny steps, but then wondered if they were actually literal baby steps if they weren't taken by a baby.  Thoughts?)

Wednesday

Yesterday I didn't want to mess up my positive thinking, so I saved this little anecdote for today.  Yesterday I met up with Significant for lunch, despite the light sprinkle.  I was wearing my newly discovered to be wide-legged enough jeans, so I figured I'd just roll them down over the cast if the rain got heavier, which it did.  Right as I got back to work, the skies unleashed a torrent.  I thought, "Maybe I'll wait this out."

Nope.  The minutes ticked by and my lunch hour was expanding into a lunch hour and a quarter.  So I unrolled the jeans, assembled my things, and dove into the downpour.  As I was soggily crutching up to the door, a UPS truck pulled up and headed in at the same time, heavily laden with packages.  Somehow this kind fellow managed to hold the door open for me, despite having his hands full.  He began a story that I'll never know the end of, but it began, "Back when I was in high school..."

Why will I never know the end?  Because I chose that moment to place my left crutch into one of the small puddles dotting the hallway.  The world teetered back and forth as my left support went flying.  An unnecessarily loud, "OH SHIT!" may have escaped my mouth.  I did a double hop, realized I'd fall if I didn't put my other foot down, and caught my balance just in time, .

The UPS guy watched helplessly, unable even to retrieve the crutch for me.  In order to cover my embarrassment, I muttered something about needing to dry off the crutches and turned around to the carpet in the entryway, after picking up the offending item.  After hesitating, he continued on his way, and I felt a small surge of relief that at least no one else knew about it.  That feeling was short-lived, ending the moment I entered my office to see him standing there, and my boss signing for the packages.

Thursday

Progress report: I did some walking with about 60% weight on the foot.  No pain!

Last night Significant checked the mailbox for the first time in... well, a while.  It's all junk, right?  Not so much.  There was a letter that sent us into a panic: long story short, there was an issue with one of the credit cards we charge rent to, and we were already past the 5 day deadline before they could start legal proceedings.  Holy shit.

Today we fixed it, and it was no big deal, despite the scary legalese in the letter, but I had to hop all over the place today, and it was interesting to see the different reactions from people when I'm crutching on by.

Some avoid eye contact, I guess so they won't get roped into holding doors or because they're awkward, or because they hate people with crutches?  I don't know.  Others catch my eye just long enough to acknowledge that I'm broken and we exchange smiles.  These are also the ones that will hold the door when they're going that way anyway.  And a couple of super thoughtful beings have gone completely out of their way in order to hold a door and make my mini-odyssey a bit easier.  One of the maintenance guys in our building regularly does this when he sees me coming back from the bathroom, because he know which office I'm headed to.

Even if it makes me uncomfortable to be getting continual favors from people, it really is a day-brightener when someone bothers to do this.  I will say this, though.  Sometimes people are well-meaning, but it's not as simple as it seems.  They're opening that door for me, but they're on the inside of it, which means they have to stand partially in the doorway in order to keep the door open.

Aiming is hard.  And keeping the crutches that close together.  So I'm not entirely sure if this is easier than opening and hopping through on my own.  But I do still appreciate their kindness.  And if I ever see someone on crutches in the future, I will know to give them plenty of space!

Friday

My office chair steering is improving.

Edit: I totally forgot!  Some super nice stranger saw me crutching by, chatted a bit about broken legs and then offered me his old knee walker that he was no longer using.  I'm still a little blown away by the kindness of this total stranger!  (I didn't take it for 2 reasons: 1) I originally decided not to get one because I wanted to get some exercise with the crutches and 2) I'm almost to the end of it.  Cast is coming off next week!)

Saturday

So tired.  Walking on foot.  Feels almost normal.

Sunday

Being lazy.  I earned it!

Do you have any embarrassing injury stories?  Have you had people treat you differently because of an injury?


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8 comments:

  1. Thankfully (oh, so thankfully) I haven't had a major injury like this. Reading about it makes me realize that I would be a terrible patient. I'm glad some people are helpful to you! I'm sure it's so difficult to get around with crutches.

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  2. Oh gosh...I guess I take having never broken a bone for granted. I know I would be so helpless and needy with a broken ankle. Also, I haven't played Monopoly in years!! That sounds really fun!

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  3. Thanks for continuing to share your experiences. Having a cast on your leg and hobbling on crutches gives you a whole new perspective on life, as well as a deeper appreciation for the little things in life we take for granted; it is always a struggle showering and getting dressed. I work in a law firm, so dressing conservatively is expected and that has been challenge( at lease until now); especially picking just one shoe has been strange. Then of course everyone you see stares your feet… and you have repeat your story over for the curious ones who want to know what happened- I guess it is not everyday you see a young woman in a cast and on crutches. Since I work with different clients, it is some new person who inquires about my cast and injury. I have had same experience like you where some have not bothered to ask about it. Also a couple of times I have gone by subway to work, and I have had to request someone to give up the seat (reserved by law) for the handicapped. Navigating the public transport system with one leg and crutches is crazy tiring. Also during these past several weeks, I have had those who have been helpful as I have hobbled on crutches on one leg.
    Also be careful not to put too much weight on your injured leg if you are walking and it has not been cleared by your ortho doc. Because although you may feel perfectly normal without any pain, the bone union may not have fully completed. From what I have read…and has been told by my doc, a complete union does not take place for at least 6 weeks….although and 4 weeks you will some calcification in the X rays.
    Lastly, my family has planned a family gathering at the beach before the Labor Day weekend….that is going to be fun….making sure that sand and water does not get into the cast…that is if I am still in one by then, and crutching on the sand will be an experience. My six week check up is this Friday…..let’s see how it goes…if they put me back in a cast what color should I get? Hope your check-up goes well….by chance if they put you back in a cast what color will you get? Happy Healing!

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    1. Don't worry - my doctor said to put weight on my leg as it is able to bear it (and doesn't hurt). So unless it's some sort of scheme to get more visits out of me, I should be ok!

      I can't even imagine doing the public transportation thing. And shame on those people who didn't move right away! I was wishing I had a temporary handicapped sticker, because sometimes the close parking will be full and I'm too worried about parking in the handicapped spots when I'm not technically supposed to. And that's just one parking lot!

      I hope you get to keep the cast off and don't have to worry about going to the beach with it on! I can only imagine how irritating sand in the cast would be. My next doctor's appointment is on Tuesday, and I'm really hoping they don't put another cast on, but if they do I'll probably request another bright color, like orange.

      Good luck on Friday!

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    2. Wanted to keep you posted.
      So today (Friday) was my six week appointment with the ortho. My appointment was at 10am, so I was there around 9:50. After crutching towards the reception and signing in I was informed that my doc was running late due to an emergency surgery she was performing that morning. I also noticed the waiting areas was full…compared to the other times I have been there. As I glanced around to see where to sit, I notice at least two other short leg casts…and a back slab splint. I crutched and sat near a mother who had come with her teenage daughter. The daughter was wearing a bright green cast on her right leg. They had come for her four week check-up. The teenager had broken her ankle doing a backflip at a cheer leading coaching camp. Since I had to wait some time I also spoke with a 40ish woman. She was waring a black color cast with nice dark red toe polish and had a cast shoe on….she had been cleared to bare weight at her 4 week appointment. Finally after waiting for more than 45 minutes I was called to the back. The doctor apologized for being late…and said it was perfectly understandable. After sawing they sawed off the cast, the doc came and examined and mentioned that since mine was not a fracture in the traditional sense I could start walking slowly with crutches or that she could put me in a boot. I had also taken my right flip flop thinking I could walk normally—-silly me. Anyway, once the cast is cut off I was allowed to wash my skin for the first
      time in many weeks with an alcohol wipes. There were tons of dry, flaky skin. The muscles were tiny and I had hair like a forest. After they wiped my I tried to slip on my left flip flop and take few steps….not only did it feel wired to feel the sandal on my left leg, I could not even take more than a few steps without the crutches…So they fitted me with air cast…not a CAM boot….and told me to start taking a few steps at time at home….and also gave me some exercises. If I still needed PT she said to call the office and she will write a proscription for PT. I felt waring the flip flop will be not good idea until I cleansed the dead skin….so I crutched back to the car. After I got home I took a long bath and soaked my foot for as long as I could to remove the dead skin….oh believe me it felt soooo good….just to have water running over your leg. I still have a lot of soaking to do….which I plan to do this weekend as well….Life without a cast feels so good…I was warned that I will have a limp for some time….and not to overdo any walking.
      I took a ton of pictures and documented this experience…. Hope your appointment goes well on Tuesday...

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    3. Hooray! Cast free!!!

      They gave me an air cast at the walk-in clinic before I got the full cast on. Maybe I should bring it so that I don't have to buy another one if that's what they opt for.

      I cannot wait to wash my leg and foot. I'm so glad you got to have it removed before your beach trip. Enjoy the water!

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    4. Thanks. I spent the weekend soaking and removing the layers of dead skin. I also went and got a pedicure...i have to get beach ready :) Went to the gym and did some workouts to strengthen my weak calf muscles....I am still limping....it is amazing how a few weeks could wipe out the strength in your leg. I am going to take my crutches to work just in case...and then off to the beach on Wednesday.....looking forward to touching the sand with my toes. Yes, take your air cast...but since mine was a stress injury they went with the air cast. They may give you a boot since you had a break...but no harm taking the air cast. Keep us posted....you should also treat your self to to pedicure...

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    5. I might just do that! I almost never get pedicures, but if there was ever a time to do it, coming out of the cast would be it. :P

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