Day 2: On my own with a broken ankle

I thought I’d be fine on my own, once both Jen and my parents had left. I’m managing, but I grossly underestimated how hard it would be to take care of myself. I’m learning how difficult it must be for individuals with permanent disabilities to perform the same tasks we all take for granted. This world is really not designed with them in mind, and I can’t even imagine what it’s like in other countries that don’t ADA.

My parents and Jen did their best to help anticipate a lot of of the big recurring obstacles. I’m pretty much relegated to the couch, and to carry something back with me, I either have to hop/crutch and give up one hand, or throw the thing at the couch. The “throw” method works great with pillows or books and not so great with hot tea. My parents found some wheeled tables at the goodwill, and Jen tied a rope to it. I can push/drag stuff from one room to another with this.

My cart for transporting stuff from one room to another. 

The bathing dilemma I’d solved myself. I have a garbage bag over my cast, with a towel wrapped right under the opening and a band of surgical tubing to tie it shut.

Still, there’s a bunch of small tasks you never think about. I’m learning the basics — hopping, carrying stuff, balancing, — and my right leg is getting really strong. I’m actually a whiz with the crutches. I got the technique quickly, but now even my muscles have adapted. I use mostly core muscles — chest, lats, back — rather than arms, and I don’t fatigue easily.

It took me 40 minutes to prep the kitchen and make a salad yesterday. Next time I fill the cat’s water bowl, I’ll bring the water to the dish rather than hop with a full bowl. Cleaning up cat barf is another unpredictable event, and she’s not always considerate with her choice of locations.

All in all, yesterday was tough, and I was really grouchy. I cursed loudly and repeatedly and will be embarrassed when I next see the neighbors.

This past week, I was really bad about myself. I’m mostly confined indoors, I can only get up for short periods of time, and I’ve had people waiting on me hand and foot. I’m going to be like this for 2 more months, and I can’t (I thought at the time) even take care of myself.

What I’m learning is that I can take care of myself. Everything takes much, much longer, and you really have to learn to do everything all over again. But I’m getting much faster now that I have the basic learning curve. And it’s really, really satisfying now that I’m making some progress. So I can take care of myself, which is making me feel independent again.

The tough part continues to be restraining myself from doing too much and letting my leg heal.

2 thoughts on “Day 2: On my own with a broken ankle

  1. Jen

    You sure have figured out those crutches. I saw you balancing on them with both feet off the ground and you were hopping!

  2. Javaun Post author

    Yeah, I’ve realized that someone needs to produce high-performance crutches for the dedicated athlete. The aluminum chassis is light and strong, but very undifferentiated and no different than all the mass-produced bikes made overseas. I’m thinking someone needs to do some custom stuff, maybe some ti or carbon for different feels. Maybe some michelin rubber stoppers, selle italia arm cushions and some Oury grips.

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