Monday, April 26, 2010

Living with a broken achilles tendon

I am missing my left leg heaps. A couple of weeks ago, I broke my achilles tendon while playing tennis with Princess, at our neighourhood tennis club. The beauty about the injury is -- contrary to many accounts I have read where the injured is in heavy pain -- I suffered no real pain. Or not the sort of pain that would scar me for life. I remember reaching for a top-spin from Princess, and the next thing I knew, I was on my knees, and when I tried to get up, I fell over. So I turned to sit on my buttocks, and laughed my guts out. All I could think of was "this is ridiculous, me being on the floor sitting on my bump in the middle of the tennis court." Princess thought it might be that I had snapped my achilles tendon, I ignored her, as usual, she was right (she knew exactly what to expect as grandpa had told the story of how he snapped his, and I wasn't listening as usual.)

They tell me I am to be in a cast for 6-8 weeks. Over the weekend, someone told me he had a friend who had his injury in October last year and was only beginning to walk. Horrors! I want to get back to full steam. I want to be able to mop the floor with two hands, to vacuum,to be able to carry heaps of groceries into the house, and to sleep without lugging a tonne of bricks as I toss or turn at night.

Still, to be able to walk is a world better than having to hobble on two crutches.

Here's what inventors of medical equipment should think of....
1) A lightweight mobile platform, that operates like a mini ride-on but with a less heavy structure, something you can sit on, and rest your leg, and allows your free movement of your hand to do your chores.
2) Crutches: they kill your palms, and your hands. All the pressure you put on your hands while hauling your body around is no joke. A sort of soft-gel handle to go with the crutches would be nice.
3) A better version of plastic leg cover for when you shower. The one I have is quite good but when I walk on it, into the shower, with my metal cast/stomper, I fear it will tear at some stage. At $45, I don't want to have to replace it too soon. I can't think of a better version yet, when I have, I will let you know.

I have found that my family is not good with housework. With me being incapacitated, the first week, I felt like hell...with the mess around, and especially not being able carry a fresh cup of coffee to my study!

I have some wonderful food offerings from my friend, Michelle, who made me nice roast pork, and stir-fries; helped me with shopping, my friend Cindy who made me yummy peasoup; and my dear friend Kororia who insisted she cleaned my house, Jenny who brought me stew and Madeira cake. Jo-Ann made us dumplings for dinner and helped me unpack all my weekend stuff strewn across my living room, making it a living hell for me.

Mom rings me regularly to ask how my leg is doing. "Same old, same old." I tell her...She sighs and tsskss, but there is nothing much she can do for me being thousands of kilometres away! Plus she has more on her hand coping with her grumpy, demanding husband.

What would we do without our legs? We would use our hands a bit more, and in time, grow longer hands with very awesome grips. It is funny how insecure you feel, having one long leg, and a shorter one. Going down the stairs, I have to remember not to tilt too much, or I topple, like a badly assembled Leggo. It is amazing watching others watch you, as you walk, they fear for you, and are ready to catch, in case you crash like a rainforest tree chopped down.

In the shower, I miss not having the freedom to stand up and scrub the shower walls...And most of all, I miss not being able to run...Time slows down when you are hobbling on crutches. Your spine gets too much work, and your back and shoulder hurts from all the extra exertion you put in the wrong places. Glorious homosapiens, that we are, walking upright, standing on two feet...arms free to do as we please!

It is also amazing how quickly you can innovate. I have found many uses for my crutches. Use them:

1) To whack anyone who crosses me.
2) To draw curtains.
3) To turn the lights off in the night while in bed.
4) To push the start button on my clothes dryer.
5) To to poke/push baskets or to reach for things from far.
6) To shove laundry into a pile without bending!

All in all, the past few weeks and next month will be one where I will have to move like a slug, and retell my tennis injury story ten thousand times. I am not planning to go to parties, not that I am embarrassed. I can't be bothered to socialise.
I am not planning to do much beyond reading and whatever housework I have to do.

Love (both) your achilles need it more than it needs you!