I’m kicking of Thanksvember with good news about an injury I sustained a year ago yesterday. Here’s what happened:
On Halloween last year, I decided it would be a great idea to move some furniture around in my back room. I was also cleaning out the closets back there and decluttering in general, so there was stuff all over the floor. At one point as I walked through/around the stuff on the floor to get to a piece of furniture, I tripped and went sailing through the air. Fortunately the floor was clear where I was headed, but unfortunately my foot went sideways and I landed hard on my right side.
I remember saying, out loud, “Oh no!” as I flew through the air. And I remember thinking, “Get up and get to your phone. Just get to your phone.” My cell was in my bedroom, at the front of the house, but somehow I managed to strip off the boot on my right foot (I was wearing Uggs, which I think prevented my ankle from breaking, but I was afraid my ankle would swell so much that I’d have to cut the boot to get it off), get through the clutter on the floor, and get to my room – stopping to grab an ice pack on my way through the kitchen – before the pain really hit.
Now I was also in the middle of going through my winter clothes, so I had stacks of clothing on my bed, which meant I had to walk around the bed to where I could lay down and reach my phone. By then, the pain was excrutiating and I was starting to shake and gasp. My hands were trembling so hard, it took six tries on my touchscreen phone to call my Mom, who lives next door. I gasped out something like, “Help! I need help!” By the time she got to my house, I was in shock.
Have you ever been in shock? Like, traumatic shock? I never really understood why people on TV were given blankets by EMTs after a traumatic experience. Now I do. I was freezing. Mom put every blanket in the house on me, and I was still shaking and my teeth were chattering. It felt like forever until Mom found the Tylenol, and I downed four in one gulp. But I was still shivering and couldn’t really tell her anything coherent. I think I kept repeating, “it’s not broken, it can’t be broken.” (It wasn’t.)
Mom finally grabbed the Rescue Remedy PM off my nightstand and gave me several drops. That calmed me down in just a couple of minutes. I never doubted it’s soothing properties again.
That first night was awful, and there was a long road to recovery ahead. I didn’t break anything, but in hindsight that probably would have been preferable. Instead, I sprained my right foot, ankle, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. The muscle trauma was severe and meant months of limited mobility.
3 weeks after – nice bruise, huh?
I required assistance in and out of bed for several days.
The way I had to be rigged up in bed or in a chair was beyond ridiculous. I remember a couple of days afterward, BigBro was staying with me while Mom was out of town, and I had to ask him to help me to the bathroom and then back to bed. He had to help me get my back, arm, and wrist propped up correctly, then make sure my right foot was covered so it would be warm but without anything actually touching it because I couldn’t bear any pressure on it. The look on his face as I explained what to do…
After two weeks, I was able to drive myself (mostly left-handed) and put my contacts in (also mostly left-handed).
After a month, I was cleared to walk a lap around the track (1/4 mile) with an ankle brace.
It was more than two months before I could hold a fork properly.
After three months, I was able to walk without the ankle brace (most of the time).
After six months, I was able to wear lace up shoes again.
After 10 months, I went to Japan and walked a lot.
After 11.5 months, I was cleared to start Zumba again. (Which is fortunate because I’ve gained 15lbs since I fell.)
Nephew Gideon came for a visit about a week after I fell. My foot and wrist are both propped up, I’m wearing button front pjs because I can’t raise my arm for a pullover, and I’m wearing my glasses because I can’t put my contacts in yet. That’s a treadmill behind my chair. I sold it a couple months later because I wouldn’t be able to use it.
I’m not back to 100%, although my foot/ankle is pretty darn close. The doctor says I may have arthritis in my elbow, but I say “no thanks.” It’s starting to ache a little, as the cold weather moves in, so I’ve been stretching it, rotating it, pronating/supinating, and generally trying to work it as much as I can…when I remember. Need to be more diligent with that. But it’s at about 85%, which is very encouraging.
My fine motor skills aren’t quite back to par, either, as evidenced by my less than tidy eyebrows. I can’t quite turn my wrist and grip the tweezers to get those stray hairs, but at least I can dress myself again. Priorities, right?
So today, a year after one of the worst nights of my life, I am thankful to be nearly recovered.
I am thankful for my Mom, who spent many nights on my couch in case I needed help and helped me hobble out to her car for rides so I didn’t go stir crazy.
I am thankful for my chiropractor, who didn’t hold a grudge when I nearly punched him with my left hand after he tried to straighten my right arm. (It was an involuntary reaction, I swear.) He’s the one who reminds me that “this was a traumatic injury and your body needs time to recover” when I get frustrated about slow progress.
I’d like to say this has given me the motivation to take better care of my body, to get my muscles super limber, and to get strong in order to prevent further injuries. And it has, somewhat. Motivation and discipline are two very different things, and I need help with the latter. Months of limited mobility and apathetic food choices have left their mark, so I have a lot of work to do, but I’m thankful that my body is healing, that I have the OK for serious exercising at last, and that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.