You know how one prays feverishly that last hour before midnight on New Year’s eve? Thankfully counting their blessings, mentally reviewing the to-do list for the just-concluded year, and making determined plans for the about-to-start year?
Yes, that was me on the 31st of December 2018.
Two weeks later, I was wrapped firmly in a cast and armed with 2 steel crutches. A freak accident, that I don’t like to recount, happened. It’s a difficult memory, you see. Well, it left me with 2 fractures in my right foot. The x-ray report called it a Fifth Metatarsal fracture.
“At least 10 weeks in a hard cast”. Doctor’s orders.
It was 11.
The wait for recovery was my life’s lesson in patience. I could not rush the process, I had no control over it. I had to wait. Me, the Number One Rush-Rush queen of the Universe, Everything-Sharp-Sharp-No-dulling, Ginja dot com. This was hard on my mind.
The sadness started to engulf me when I realised that the days till the 10-week mark was 70 and not 7.
Every reason to move became a game of chess in my head. Fun fact- Crutches are not-so-easy to manoveur around in.
I still recall the mental debates with myself.
“How will you stand in the shower today without getting the cast wet?”
“Do you really need to pee right now?”
“Who’ll carry your laptop bag when you get out of the taxi”
“Has the 4-storey building got an elevator”
“Are you sure you want to eat now, how will you carry the plate from the kitchen to the dining table?”
“Can you hop on one leg from the door to the bed?”
There were many days when my other leg got tired and achy from supporting my weight. Days when my biceps got sore from the exertion of the crutches. Days when the pressure from excess swelling felt like the cast was literally squeezing my brain.
I remember the many pillows layered to elevate the leg and relieve the swelling.
I realised that I had to cope, and the days rolled by.
At first, my back became soul mates with the couch, later my buttocks became best friends with the chair by the window in the living room. Then, I learned how to stand on one leg.
I was allowed to work from home for most of the week, which was great.
I even went to the beach for the Her Network Chats and Cocktails event, crutches in tow!
75 days later.
The day of my hospital appointment felt like Christmas, I was almost manic with excitement.
I grinned so much as the cast was sliced off my foot. I was shocked to see major swelling when my foot appeared, it was oddly mis-shapened too. I had zero flexibility in my ankle, zero flexibility in the toes. It was a stiff, painful mass.
The thing is, I’d assumed that I would fly once the cast came off, but I still couldn’t even walk, which was quite disappointing. Still, I was beyond thankful that the bones had fused.
Expectedly, I could not drive a car or pedal a sewing machine. It was 1 more month with the crutches, another 2 months using a steel cane. Little by little, it got easier.
It’s been 6 months since the injury and I’ll be honest, my foot isn’t quite the same yet. There’s mild to throbbing pain sometimes. I started doing physio exercises at home to improve flexibility. It’s helping.
THE BIG LESSON
Around the 8th week, someone asked me, “What have you learned from this experience?”
I pondered this… I’d learned a lot actually. Kindness, Compassion. Empathy. Love. Courage. Resolve. Patience. Gratitude. Humour.
People, absolute strangers even, were so helpful. So generous with their assistance.
I became even more reassured of the unconditional support, affection, care and love from my mother. You see, I became quite child-like again, and had to stay at her place as I could not stay at mine without help.
I got a glimpse of living a life requiring physical assistance, of being limited by one’s immobility while doing life.
I found the strength to not feel sorry for myself, I just continued with life as best as I could. I gained wisdom to not take wholeness, good health for granted. To be thankful.
No one knows tomorrow, enjoy today wholeheartedly. Do enough…