I’ve been hopping around for a week and a half now and am trying to compile my thoughts about having a broken foot.
|I’ll be sporting a fab cast until at least 8/1|
Primarily, what I’ve discovered is that this is a life changing event. I have had to change many things in my environment in an attempt to keep some control over my family. I’ve had to ask for a lot of help, and have to admit that I’ve been surprised at some that have jumped in to help me, and others that have done nothing. I can appreciate in a new way the extent that this kind of injury has. And (please knock me over the head if/when I forget this!) have vowed that anyone I know who ends up in this situation and does not have help from husband, family, or people they are extremely close to, will get lots of help from me!
It is really, really hard to do anything when hopping around on one foot. Crutches or no. If you’ve never had this pleasure before, try it. Lift one foot up (no touching the ground!) and squat to use the toilet. Then, keep that foot up and try to wipe, get to the sink, wash your hands, dry your hands, etc. It’s really, really hard to be a flamingo!
In addition, breaking my foot means that I am down to one limb when trying to get around. I have one foot raised off the ground, and both hands gripping the crutches. This morning I left my book in my carpeted bedroom. This meant that I had to use my crutches to go get my backpack, crutch my way back to my room, sit on the bed, put the book in the backpack, crutch back out to the living room, get out the book. Any thing left on a carpeted floor is completely untouchable to me, by which I mean that I can touch it, but cannot pick it up and take it anywhere with me. This is more than slightly frustrating for my OCD-self that wants tidy rooms!
I am actually envious of my husband’s wheelchair. Today, for example, I will attempt to travel over 200 yards from the parking lot to the pool for my kids’ swimming lessons. I expect that it will be very long, very slow, and will live my under-arms very sore. If my husband were able to drop them off, however, he would zip through those 200 yards nearly as quickly as the kids could run that same length. His wheelchair really does mean freedom and not confinement (as he has always proclaimed).
Here are things I’ve found to be helpful:
1. Rolling chairs. Stationed around the house. I have 2: one for the living area and one for the kitchen (since there is a bump between my living area and kitchen the chair will not roll right in. I also bought a rolling stool which I use as well to get through narrow door ways. I have an extremely quick transfer from one chair to the other, making me feel especially deer-like.
I have learned that I need to defend my rolling chairs from the pilferers (aka my children) ferociously. If I get to a room (say the bathroom) with a rolling chair and then one of the kids rolls off with it, I am literally stranded!
2. Floors must be completely uncluttered. Whether I am traveling by crutches or rolling chairs, something as small as a dropped sock can leave me stuck. I cannot maneuver over, around, or under it. Occasionally, I can sweep it out of my way with a crutch, but more than likely that will cause me to lose my balance and (almost) fall.
Having an uncluttered floor is very difficult in a home with children. Especially my children, who take some kind of a sick joy in leaving their bed comforters scattered around the house. Not to mention the socks, shoes, and shirts that my son manages to drop in the most unimaginable places.
3. Using the kitchen requires rolling, standing, sitting, rolling to get around. I roll to the cabinet, stand up to get the item I want (on one foot), sit back down, roll to the cereal, repeat. I can do simple kitchen meals and wash the dishes in this manner.
4. Exercise. I can do it! One goal for the summer was to lose the 5 lbs that I have put on over the last 5 years. While, I seriously doubt I will be losing weight now that I cannot do aerobics, I have an exercise routine that seems sustainable. Here’s my current routine:
5. Giving the kids far more jobs than they’ve ever had before. The kids are now responsible for all the laundry in the home (I can’t go down the 2 stairs to our laundry area holding the baskets). They are learning how to run the dishwasher. My son (tried to) mowed one of the lawn areas the other day. I verbally instructed them how to make cookies and I plan to teach them how to cook a meal soon. I continue to try to maintain my idea of cleanliness and tell the kids all the things they need to pick up that I cannot reach.
I know this could be far worse. And I know I need to continue to count my blessings. But I’m still in the angry-that-I-have-to-give-up-my-summer-plans, and mad-that-I-have-no-family-to-help, and frustrated-that-my-husband-is-chronically-ill-so-he-cannot-help stage.
And I am praying that my attitude will change and that I will be able to enjoy my summer–in spite of being disabled for at least 6 weeks of it.