Life on pause

They don’t call them broken bones anymore. Now they call them fractures, or in my case, a non-displaced fibula fracture. Whatever you choose to call it, it sucks. Big time.fibula

Today is day 53 since “The Fall”. My last blog post was about my aunt’s funeral. It was a cold, icy night in New York City and we were super careful about getting to the church. We were also super careful about leaving the church, BUT while scraping off the windshield I slipped, and I couldn’t get back up. I had always heard that if something was broken you would cry. I didn’t cry so I figured it was a sprain. My primary physician told me to keep it elevated and made arrangements for diagnostic testing.

I laid still during the MRI and once again for the x-ray. I was thanking the x-ray tech and turning the doorknob to leave the room when she told me to sit down because she detected a fracture. While she brought the Radiologist into the room, I sat on the stool and tried to figure out what this  meant. What were the consequences? I’ll throw out this very sexist statement and then deny I ever said it, I am the mother of daughters, the only broken bones I’d ever seen were on boys. I didn’t know what was next. It was too late in the day to take the next step so I didn’t meet my new best friend until the next morning. Enter Dr. Orthopedic.

While he was telling me that I would be sitting on my ass for the next six to eight weeks, he explained why my fracture was a best case scenario. First of all, it wasn’t the tibia, a weight bearing bone. A tibia fracture would have required surgery. Secondly, it wasn’t the ankle. An ankle fracture would’ve required surgery. I guess that for a woman my age, who loses bone density on an hourly basis, this was the best case scenario.

bootSo far, I’ve been able to avoid surgery and apparently been able to avoid a cast. In a very intricate manner, which has been duplicated every Tuesday and Friday since then, my foot and lower leg has been wrapped in cotton, ace bandages, gauze, and tape. It’s been covered in a cotton sock-like material and shoved (carefully) into a boot contraption that keeps everything immobile. The boot stays on, and elevated, until bedtime. No wonder I was seeking my bed early every night. Of course, those early bedtimes meant that I was waking up before five am.

So what have the last few weeks been like? Well, let me tell you. My emotions have been so out of control you would swear I still had leftover hormones. Every morning I woke up and swore I would be productive, before seven am I would give up and enter some mindless activity. I couldn’t sit at my desk because there was no way to keep my leg elevated. I sat in a recliner but couldn’t recline the chair because I couldn’t close it with one leg. The desk chair became my leg elevater-dinner tray-laptop desk. Adaption became my middle name. I almost drowned the two times I shampooed my hair while showering, so I learned to wash my hair in the kitchen sink and used the shower stall only for bathing, while keeping my leg outside the curtain. Awkward.

My car was stuck in ice for the first two weeks of my house arrest. Luckily my city didn’t institute alternate side parking until the four week mark. With the sweeper coming through four days a week I stressed over how to move my car so often. It was bad enough that my kids, my compai, and nephew had become my medical escorts and grocery carriers, I couldn’t possibly ask people to move my car so often. So probably quite illegally, I’ve learned to drive with my left foot. The only problem is that I actually have to look down to make sure my left foot is on the correct pedal. I’ve learned that it’s all about timing. Move the car as soon as the sweeper passes. There’s plenty of parking and no one on the streets to see you do something wrong.

Depression? Holy shit, yea! Unbelievable. There were days I couldn’t even look at Facebook because I didn’t want to see all the fun stuff people were doing. I had to totally put my job out of my mind because I didn’t want to think about what I would be returning to after two months away from my desk. I never take more than a week off at a time because it takes me four days to make up for being out five days. The last time I was off from work this long was in 1983 when I gave birth to my second daughter. The only difference is that back then I had people who stepped into my shoes without hesitation. This absence has been different and that’s all I’ll say on that.

I’ve missed live performances, book release parties, and spoken word events. I’ve only been to the movie theater once and for someone who used to hit the theater every Saturday, you know this hurts.mariposa tied down

Mariposa Social has been very anti-social for the last few weeks. She’s been pouting and everytime she tried to write something it turned very negative so she went back to watching tv. Now that the light is getting brighter at the end of the tunnel, I could finally put a little of my experience into words. The worst of it doesn’t need to be memorialized. Denial as a defense mechanism? Always.

Thanks go out to all of you who have helped me physically by taking me out to the doctor, grocery store, meals, and movie theater. Thanks go out to all of you who have called, sent texts, and facebooked me to let me know you were thinking of me. Mil Gracias.

This isn’t over yet. I’m still sitting on my butt and I still have my leg elevated. But it’s almost over.

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