Walking around on broken legs

Well just one broken leg but in sticking with the songs as blog titles thing, this is what I went with.

** This is dedicated to my moon boot buddy Bree from work who broke her ankle the night before I did and who’s had it so much worse than me ****

I have deliberated on whether or not to write this, because to be honest, I am not proud of some of my actions and the way I ended up mentally after breaking my ankle recently. The reason for this is that I ended up very depressed and I just kept thinking about the fact that there are people who have permanent disabilities, some have had these their entire lives and some end up disabled later in their lives. And there I was, with my very temporary disability, too depressed to get out of bed and being shit to my loved ones. I figured though that as some of this obviously stems from actually having mental health issues, that I take daily medication for and frankly, mental health issues or not- it was a shitty thing to happen. I think that people (including me) are entitled to feel a sorry for themselves when shit things happen. Why do we have to feel bad when we feel down? Why does guilt play such a huge role in depression and when you get down about the hand you have been dealt in life? I figured the best way to go about this was just to tell the truth and how I felt and try not to get all philosophical about disabilities as I felt that may be a little condescending. So here is the story of my experience breaking my ankle.

It happened when I was heading into the office for work on Friday the 17th March, I’d been working from home for a month and so I was really excited to go in and see all of my friends. The night before I washed my hair, shaved my legs and was ready to face the outside world. That morning I put on my uniform, passed Emily on my way out as she was coming home from nightshift and walked to the bus stop. I walked down the stairs at the bus stop like I had a million times before and thought I’d reached the bottom step- I hadn’t. My stomach dropped along with the rest of me and before I knew it my ankle had rolled and I was on the ground. Honestly, writing this is freaking me out. I replay that moment over and over in my head and it makes me feel sick every time. The night after the accident and for a little bit after I would wake up suddenly after thinking about that moment in my sleep. This was my worst nightmare, I have a legitimately fear this exact occurrence- I used to think my constant fear of rolling my ankle while walking downstairs was irrational but in that moment I knew it wasn’t. It had happened.

This was not the first time I had hurt my ankle (it is the first time its actually broken though, got to thirty before breaking a bone, not too bad I guess). This is the third time I have injured my right ankle and I have also badly sprained my left ankle. The last time I sprained my ankle was almost ten years ago when I was still cheerleading, I rolled it on a gym mat. I was at my heaviest back then though and walked with a limp for a long time. I used to use my ankle pain as an excuse to not exercise but of course I found that as I lost weight the ankle pain went away. I used to walk slowly downstairs and had a real mental thing with my ankle. I realised after I had hurt it this time that I had finally gotten over that, I no longer was careful on stairs and I had no problem exercising. I just hope I get back to that mentality quickly after this recovery.

So I have fallen and people have seen it happen (how embarrassing!!!!) I’m sitting at the bottom of the bus stop stairs, crying and trying not to vomit from how bad the pain is. I lock eyes with a girl who suggests moving to a seat and tell her I have seriously hurt myself, I am not moving. A lady asks if I should call an ambulance- I tell her my sister is an ambulance (my brain is obviously working well) and I call Em who comes and gets me. The wait between the lady leaving me (only after I convinced her it was fine to leave me) and Em coming is awful. I am crying, embarrassed and in so much pain. A few people stop to ask if I am okay- I assure them I am. It was nice to see how many people actually cared about me- thanks Buranda bus station people. Em and I decided not to go to the hospital that day because we both couldn’t be bothered waiting forever in emergency, plus we figured it was just sprained. The next day it was very swollen and very sore, I went to the Doctor, then off to radiology, confirmed it was broken and then off to ED. The kicker was that because it was a weekend, they couldn’t put me in a moon boot as they weren’t available but not to worry- they would call me through the week and I would get the cast swapped for a moon boot. In the following two weeks while I struggled with my cast, I would lament the decision to go on Saturday not Friday, i just kept think “I would be in a moon boot right now, not this awful cast.”

As I mentioned, I was then in the cast for two weeks and a half weeks. I have never had a cast before and man, was it the worst! I was pretty immobile for that time because I had crutches and they are useless! It is absolutely impossible to carry anything at all while using your crutches and if the ground is wet, forget it. I had a scary incident when I tried to go outside with Henry and Daisy and the tiles outside of my apartment building were wet, as soon as I put weight on the crutch, it slipped. What a terrible design! Everything changed- Henry had to take Daisy downstairs to the toilet because I couldn’t hold her lead and crutch at the same time, to wash my hair I had to sit down in the shower with a plastic bag I had taped around my leg. When I ate dinner I had to sit at the bench on a chair instead of the couch and sleeping was almost impossible. The worst part about sleeping is that I move my feet in my sleep and I kept waking up with awful cramps in my calf because I had moved my foot but I couldn’t get it out because it hurt too much to move my foot again. I also had this awful spasming of my tendons that would wake me up as well which again was from moving my foot. I know this sounds pretty inconsequential but when every single thing about how you do day to day tasks changes, its rough. It was also my right foot so I couldn’t drive and I felt pretty trapped inside my house.

It is scary how quickly my mental health slipped, I was starting to feel pretty down even by the end of that first week. It was hard to look after myself and I seriously resented Henry and Emily for being able to go to work and for leaving me. I was lonely, sore and tired. I also don’t think it helps that I wasn’t taking my anti-depressants (I know, I know but I ran out and I couldn’t easily go get them and just kept forgetting as silly as that sounds). By the end of week two I was barely getting out of bed, I just didn’t see the point. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone and didn’t feel like going anywhere even if that had’ve been an option. I was awful to be around, I was angry, resentful and tired. I remember getting ready for something and getting so frustrated I hit the wall in anger- that is absolutely something I would normally do. I snapped at Emily and Henry and treated them like crap even though they were helping me. I still hadn’t heard from the fracture clinic to get my moon boot. I called and called and it just rang out, adding to my frustration. When I finally got through, the lady told me I didn’t have an appointment until the 13th April. I cried after I got off the phone, that was still two weeks away.

On the Monday of the third week, I was at my absolute lowest, I was home alone, had slept until 2pm and was sitting in the kitchen trying to will myself to cook food. I had been mean to my poor boyfriend and started a fight even though he had been amazing and looked after me. Instead of making food, I just sat and cried. Then I remembered
I had gotten two phone calls that morning from the same number- I checked the message and it was the fracture clinic. I could go in and get a moon boot and I made an appointment for Wednesday.

Henry took me to the clinic on the Wednesday, I was given my moon boot and that afternoon we went to New Farm park and I went for a slow but very happy stroll along the riverbank. Everything has looked up from there! I got rid of my crutches just after Easter and now I am only using my moon boot when I walk outside. In my apartment I don’t need it. I started Physio which is helping so much and I have almost normal movement in it again.

One of the biggest things I was scared of was gaining weight, I was absolute terrified of it. In the past, I would have just gone back to terrible eating and no exercise at all but this time I forced myself to hobble straight back into the gym. Obviously the exercises have had to change a bit, no legs, only arms and back and no cardio. To begin with Henry and to carry everything for me and set me up at each machine and I had to modify anything that required me to stand up. The moon boot meant me being able to carry my own stuff and stand up properly and then last week- I started cycling on the bike again. I am looking forward to the day when I can deadlift and squat again and it annoys me that I will have to start all over again with being the weights back up. But at the end of the day, I know I am lucky. I get to actually be able to do those things again and I know there are people that never will. Damn, I broke my promise to not get philosophical!

So theres my story, that’s how I felt and what happened to my brain when my normal life was interrupted. I am not one hundred percent proud of my actions but there really wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. I was lucky to be able to recognise that I was depressed and knew it was just because of my ankle and even though there was the old dark cloud fogging everything, I knew I just had to push through and it would get better. Depression is a bitch and it can really make you feel pretty hopeless and please, please if you are in the black fog and don’t feel you have a way out- know I am always here and there really is a way out.

 

 

Walking around on broken legs