When It’s Impossible to Move a Book

The brace I wear reminds me of the Easter Seals picture — the black and white one, from childhood, with the little girl wearing a metal brace that goes up her entire leg. In a word, it looks ridiculous. I can laugh and smile, because I know this is a temporary brace; it’s just time off my feet — well, at least one of them, for awhile.

Things that Surprised Me

  • I don’t have any pain. Well, OK, sometimes some very sharp pains, but nothing I can’t manage. I hope the pain is a sign that I’m healing.
  • I haven’t had surgery yet. Hopefully, by early May.
  • I am locked in a brace because my tibia is bent/broken, and the Meniscus (a vital sack on the kneecap) is wounded, but not damaged. This is the best news of all. Prognosis is never good with a damaged Meniscus. The surgeon needs the tibia/Meniscus to heal somewhat before surgery.
  • I believe the surgeon will be replacing either the MCL or the ACL with a donor part… I try my best to listen, but when he talks, my stomach gets queasy. Whenever he pulls out that movable model of the knee, I fall apart inside.
  • My leg is not achy, or tired of being locked in the brace. I thought I would want to stretch it — but it’s fine. He set the brace at a very comfortable angle, and I feel fine.
  • Everyone should have to walk on temporary crutches at some point in their life, and have a new-found respect for those who are disabled. It gives you a new found appreciation for climbing curbs (yes, they are quite high), and the struggle others have with opening doors, and the sudden awareness that there really aren’t enough handicapped parking spaces after all. I have yet to find one when I need one.
  • The one place that is the most frightening is our home. Carrying a simple thing, such as a contact case, let alone a clean towel, or my laundry, is a challenge that sets fear and adrenalin coursing through my bones. Navigating the 4 flights of stairs with crutches is frightening enough, but to do it while trying to hold something is impossible. Last night, I managed to put some clean clothes into a duffel bag, and a took one step at a time, stopping to move the duffel bag up each step as I went.
  • I ordered a black leather backpack, that looks like a purse, to use as a purse. You cannot carry anything around your arm with crutches. I like it; it holds my iPad for client meets.
  • I use the backpack at home, to go from room to room. The necessities, things I’m uncomfortable to be without at home are are dental floss, contact case, estrogen cream, baby aspirin, comb, iPad, dark chocolate, bobby pins and hair ties.
  • A friend dropped off an office chair with wheels so that I can glide around the kitchen. You can’t even make a simple cup of tea when you’re hands are holding crutches.
  • Even so, I have burn marks on my other knee from trying to pour the boiling water into my cup. Seated, I’m a long way from the counter.
  • I did go to the grocery store yesterday, because I was out of eggs, and wanted just a couple to make banana bread for my son to take back to college. I did go to Kroger, got myself situated in the seated cart, and someone carried my groceries to the car. When I got home, I was baffled at how I could get the groceries into the house. So, I simply loaded my purse and pockets with enough eggs for the recipe and used the crutches to go inside to my “wheel” chair. As soon as someone else was home, the groceries were carried in. I hope not to repeat this again.
  • Writing projects are rolling in like a big wave to me, and I’m grateful to have the time to sit down and get them done.
  • My new look? Maxi skirts. They hide most of the brace and make it easy to move around.
  • Each day I am stunned by how impossible it is to move something simple, like a book, from one side of the room to another.
  • I’m sleeping fine.
  • The doctor ordered one baby aspirin (yum) a day, for clotting. Did you know they are no longer called baby aspirin? Other than that, I am not to take any kind of pain meds or anti-inflammatory, because those interfere with healing.
  • Although it is starting to fade, I am utterly shocked that people have to endure that much pain. You see it all the time, when athletes tear their ACL/MCL, and agony on the TV. I am sad, shocked, and a bit terrified that I actually know what that feels like. It’s not pretty.
  • I’m tired of asking for things. This is why I went off to get eggs. Sometimes, I just need a fingernail file, and it’s far away on the third floor.
  • I broke my leg when I was two; I’m not sure if this was the same one.
  • I have quite easily buried the trauma in the recesses of my memory. At first, it was all I could do NOT to think about it; to re-live it. And heaven forbid, replay those few moments, just before it happened, trying to undo the whole thing. Part of me is afraid to have buried something so big; as if it is a relentless grizzly bear that will come after me again for locking it away.
  • I feel bad for Rudy; that this happened when I was with him.
  • Doctors don’t use casts anymore. Why, when they can sell $800 leg braces? I wish my leg actually was locked up in a cast. I’d feel safer at night, and wouldn’t have to keep adjusting the straps when they fall. At night, I fear, I do tons of damage rolling around.
  • I feel uncomfortable when people ask me if I need help with the crutches.
  • I don’t think it’s impossible for me to relax the muscles in the hurt leg. I think they are always, unconsciously tight and tense.
  • If you stop by, just text me first, and just open the door. I can’t get up quick enough to let you in, and I can’t wait to see your face.
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