My post title is a lyric line from my song “Take Me Away.” Recently, my piano guy created a lovely addition for this song. It will be part of an upcoming Insight Timer medley. Link to lyrics and other stories: TAKE ME AWAY
I definitely “long to escape” from my house – I’ve been housebound since breaking my ankle on July 1st. At the top of my long list of lessons from this experience is patience. I’m clearly still working on it.
I thought I was patient while navigating a wheelchair for almost two months. Every day, I made a mental note of how many days were left until my next orthopedic appointment.
But when the big day grew closer, I found myself becoming very emotional.
I was stressed because I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to there. My daughter was conflicted because the appointment was in the late afternoon and she worked that evening; my son could only take me if he didn’t work that day and that was uncertain.
I didn’t want to inconvenience either of them.
I found myself grief stricken – how I missed my mother! She had always been my cheerleader. She would have been counting down those days with me, eager to celebrate my healing.
After a lot of angst, I acknowledged my grief. I decided I could be my own cheerleader. This was still a big moment for me and it wasn’t dependent upon anyone else.
The day before my appointment, I could tell my ankle was healing well. My leg felt sturdy while getting dressed. I could balance with my heel and other foot; there wasn’t any pain. I tried a tiny step and it felt fine.
My daughter ended up taking me to my appointment. We went earlier than the scheduled time so we could beat the traffic coming back. I was giddy with excitement.
A new x-ray was taken, and while in the waiting room there was plenty of conversation going on between all the people wearing casts and splints. It was actually quite funny. In that short time, I learned the difference between “golfer and tennis elbow.”
I wasn’t scheduled to see the surgeon; I would see his assistant instead. When he came into the exam room, I beamed and said, “My big day has finally arrived!”
I didn’t notice his fainthearted smile, but I was pleased to hear him say that everything looked good. He pointed to the x-ray on a screen. “Your bone alignment is excellent and the fracture is hardly visible.”
Then with great seriousness he said, “You mentioned it’s your big day, so I’m really sorry to tell you this – If you’re planning to start walking, it’s far too soon. Any weight on your ankle opens up the possibility of the bones shifting or breaking again. You’ll need to wait another month.”
I felt a whoosh – all the air went out of me.
At that moment, I became a deflated balloon. I gulped to keep myself from crying. I was clearly begging when I stammered, “Are you sure? Could I at least do a little physical therapy?”
He shook his head, no. After he left the room, my daughter looked at me with big eyes.
I was still choking on my tears. I wondered how I had misunderstood. I was sure at my last appointment I was told I could start using my walking boot when I returned.
I sniffled all the way home while my daughter drove. She wheeled me into my apartment and left to go to work.
That night, black clouds were raining on me. I couldn’t believe that I had ended up in this situation all because of slipping while hiking.
I had planned to throw my broken wheelchair in the trash. I had planned to be independent enough to hobble to my car and go places. My calendar was ready to be filled. And now?
Another month to fight depression . . .
I cried myself to sleep.
I love mornings. A new day brings the promise of hope for me. I was still down from my appointment, but I had things to do.
I busied myself working on an art job and began pulling out my paints and brushes. At least now I could paint without having my leg up.
As I painted, I thought about how other people coped with broken bones. I wasn’t able to use crutches because the surgeon said they were too unstable.
He did recommend a scooter. I tried one out that a good friend loaned me. Unfortunately, my ankle hurt resting on it and I couldn’t maneuver it in my small apartment. It was also too bulky to transport and I still had to contend with the ramp or stairs.
Then I thought about a walker. I was given one in the emergency room the day I fell. What if I used my walker to stand up and move a little? I kept it in the bathtub near the shower. I pushed my wheelchair over to it and carried it into my dining room.
I carefully stood up, and held onto the walker, I hopped down the hallway to the kitchen. It was very tiring, but exhilarating. It felt great to be tall again.
When I became tired, I shuffled slowly. This was freedom! My mind began spinning. If I could get to my car, I could drive places and take the walker with me. This would expand my world and I became very excited.
I opened the front door and momentarily hesitated. I had a choice; it was either three steps or a steep ramp near my patio gate. I decided I would go down those three steps.
I positioned the walker below me and held onto the rail. I gingerly stepped down and it was easy. I did it!
It was absolutely glorious to be outside. I continued forward with my walker. I could see my patio from the back. I went down the pathway of my apartment complex.
I looked up at the sky and tears of joy began streaming down my face. I WAS FREE!
Ahead of me was the steep, plywood ramp that led to my patio. I decided to go up it with the walker and a moment later I passed through my back gate. I went through the sliding glass door and entered my apartment.
What I had done was only a short loop, but it represented a journey of liberation for me.
A moment after my excursion, doubt and conflict started setting in. Even though it was joyous, what I had done was risky and impulsive.
I made the decision to write to my doctor. Maybe his assistant had made a mistake? Surely he would understand what an active person I had been, and maybe I could continue to do more of this.
I typed out a message asking him if I could use a walker. I also wondered if I could possibly walk sooner than a month.
His answer the following morning was clear. I was not allowed to put any weight on my broken ankle. If my bones shifted, I would have to go through another surgery.
Going down those steps, shuffling down the walkway, and going up the steep ramp – all of this was not allowed. I had taken a big chance.
A friend I played Scrabble with had also gone through ankle surgery. She knew I was a risk-taker. That night she wrote me an honest message. I prayed that I hadn’t caused my foot any harm.
Nothing was worth the risk of hurting myself. I would be careful. I was going to get through another month somehow.
But at least now I knew what was ahead for me.
My glorious dream of walking again in the sunshine would just have to wait a little longer.
During this time, I’ve moved all of my stock images to Getty Stock. This was definitely a big project (uploading over 500 images) and a productive move for me.