First observation: I am grateful. Grateful that the surgery actually might help and fix the problem. Hopeful that with any luck I can get out of the cast on time (Dec. 6th). Grateful for friends and family who have helped me so much. Grateful for the temporary handicapped parking placard I picked up before surgery! Truly thankful for the cast cover that allows me to take a shower.
Second observation: This just sucks. I’m sorry, there’s just no getting around it.
Third observation: Everyone should go through this at least once in their life.
The surgery wasn’t bad, the pain meds made me throw up rather violently (in public, no less, which was humiliating), and everything seems to be healing up okay. Crutches hurt, at first on the ribs and later on the heels of my hands, and the kneeling scooter I’m borrowing has been a lifesaver. Did an afternoon in a wheelchair at a crowded venue – let’s just say the view was all ass.
Shopping is challenging, no matter if I’m on the scooter or in one of those motorized things the stores provide. With the holidays, there are piles of crap staged about every 4 feet down the middle of the aisle, which makes navigating them pretty hard.
Public bathroom doors are the heaviest. I learned to shove the door open and quickly use the crutch as a doorstop. Handrails in the stalls are *awesome*. The hardest thing of all is getting up off the toilet at home using only one leg – no handrails, so it’s all muscle and effort. My upper body strength is improving so I’ll have to keep doing pushups after I’m back to using two legs, lol.
The mental game is the worst. I cannot STAND to be dependent on other people and absolutely despise having to ask “Can you get me …? Would you mind handing me …?” and on and on, for stupid shit that I can normally do for myself in about 3 seconds. HATE IT. Even just going to lunch with my co-workers – if I crutch into the restaurant, I can’t carry anything to the table. I don’t think anyone minds helping but I am acutely aware that they are helping, over and over and over. Would I do it for them? Sure, in a heartbeat, and wouldn’t think twice about it. The bottom line is it’s harder to receive than give. And then I feel guilty for all of this because, really, it’s not bad, it’s not permanent, and there are a lot more people way worse off than this. I feel like a complete failure at this and thought I would have a little more character. What a friggin’ mess.
Now I have some first-hand insight into what might help someone on crutches or in a wheelchair. The first thing is to just listen – see what *they* say would help. Sometimes people want to help so much they just plow right over you. And for you teenagers, get the hell out of the way and move over! (I swear to god they are oblivious.) Hold a door open, grab an item from the top shelf at the grocery store for someone. It is literally about “lending a hand.”