Advice After Breaking Your Ankle
Howdy y'all, I've been quiet on my blog lately mainly due to being busy, but the past few days threw up a very different challenge and have actually stopped me doing pretty much anything - I seriously broke my ankle. I'll tell you my tale and then I'm going to give you some bits of advice I've already picked up in the few days since. No doubt they'll be more.
Long story short, I went to skate park and it didn't go well. Literally the first thing I did snapped the bones in my ankle on both side and dislocated it. I'd say it looked disgusting but I never had the courage to actually look at my injury, but if my vague memories from the actual event are anything to go by it was a fucking horror movie. And FYI, that's a stock image I've used for the post, my leg has at least double the amount of metal in it.
Anyway, I was popped in an ambulance and went to A&E where there was a dry joke about "well, I don't think she needs to go to minors" and then people were busying around me. I brush over the ambulance journey but in all honesty I've cursed the state of the roads or the existence of any sort of speed bump more in my entire life. I was on morphine and gas and air and i was still crying in pain, gives you an idea of how much I messed myself up I guess.
Anyway, in the emergency room they sedated me and re-located my ankle. I remember nothing and felt nothing for which I am incredibly grateful. Later when I was on the ward they came back and said it still wasn't right so they'd have to do it again. Cue me going into theatre at midnight and being sedated for the second time in a few hours. Then I spent the night on the ward in fitful sleep on the hottest day on the year. Yeah, good timing right?
It's not over yet! I was scheduled in the next day for the proper repair operation for my ankle. They couldn't give me a time as to when it would happen so I spent hours trying to occupy myself. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink and I felt like a sweaty ballsack the whole time in that plastic coated bed. If you're wondering what that feeling is, then you've never had it - pray you don't. The only upside is that those beds are designed to be pretty comfortable, so at least my back wasn't protesting too.
Before my operation I had a CT scan on my leg too, to make sure they hadn't missed anything on the x-rays, which was apparently and excellent plan because I had a lose shard of bone hanging about in there. It made me extremely relieved to know these guys had all their bases covered. Those flipping clever doctors, knowing all the things. The actual operation was to do three main things - put a plate on the outside of my leg to pin all the bones in place, put a plate on the inside of my leg to pin all the bones in place, and then put another pin between the two bones to, you guessed it, hold them in place. Everything went to plan according to them, so I'm glad my ankle is now all in the places it should be again.
I am now not allowed to put weight on my right leg for 6 weeks because of that last pin I mentioned. That sucks - do you know how much you use both your legs? Well, probably. But imagine having one there with a weight attached and a constant ache and not being able to do anything with it. It sucks biiiiig time. But whatever, I'm alright. I'm healing, I'm coping and I'm figuring stuff out as I go. Here are the top pieces of advice I'd give to anyone who's broken themselves.
Accept All The Help You Can
You might think you'll be able to figure out how to do everything easily enough, but I aht to break it to you (haha, pun), you won't. You'll be off balance, tired from moving around, sore from moving around, and sore from your injury. Just accept the help, it makes it easier physically and mentally.
Have visitors too. You might think that dealing with people will be too hard but the hours of waiting for stuff to happen or spent lying half asleep soon take their toll. Even quick visits are appreciated and I'm glad for everyone who stopped by to see me. I'm also very grateful for all the social messages - they kept me occupied and made me realise people do care and will offer help that you might not need but feel happy to have offered.
Don't Be a Hero, Take The Damn Painkillers
At first I thought I'd be fine and tried to hold off on painkillers, but inevitably the pain would kick in and I'd have them anyway. When you've injured yourself as badly as I have, it's not just about taking painkillers when it really hurts, there's a certain amount of keeping taking them to manage the pain overall. It takes a toll if you're crying from pain one hour and then passed out from painkillers the next. It's about finding a balance to cope. I'm starting to try and cut down on mine now because in a week I won't have any strong stuff left (it's addictive, and no one needs that to deal with). The fact is, it is going to hurt sometimes and I'm doing ok, but in those first few days, even the first week, just take the painkillers.
Showering Is The Most Difficult Thing On Earth
I thought I'd just be able to cover my leg with a bin bag and have a normal shower, but as I've already mentioned, moving and balancing on one leg is bloody tiring. Fact is a bath or a sponge bath will be easier, and having someone to help is pretty much a must. Luckily I have my husband so none of my friends have to see me intimately naked.
We're actually buying a cheap bath bench for me to use which means I can sit across the bath, cover my leg and clean the majority of myself normally. Most might not be able to afford that or see it as a silly investment but each to their own. Cleaning yourself is a really major challenge and do whatever makes you happiest to get it done.
Your House Is The Worst Place To Be On Crutches
Well, ours has been. Everything you ever thought was out of the way is now in the way. The stairs are too narrow and the bathroom is too small. You'll become aware that the banister on the stairs is completely inadequate and that doors are are constant pain in the arse. Chris really thought he'd got everything sorted for me coming home but within seconds of coming through the door I was asking him to move things and getting frustrated by the layout of our house. It's not his fault, he couldn't see what I needed and he's done amazingly well looking after me so far. Just be aware of the limitations of your home in your new hopping state.
I'm temporarily injured, but I've become very aware of how unfriendly the world is when you can't move through it like everyone else. I'm doing that privileged thing where I can see something a bit from another perspective and don't like. I was always aware the world was physically unfriendly but finding out first hand feels different.
The Sensations In Your Leg Will Be Horrible
Maybe I'm just talking from my perspective on this as my break was pretty damn serious. The level of bad where the consultant felt the need to tell me how bad it was each time he spoke to me and he repairs broken bones for a living... Anyway, the twinges and throbbing and weird sensations I've been getting make me cringe and squirm, but they're going to happen. My body is trying to conduct some major repair work. If you're feeling the same I wouldn't worry unless the pain becomes unbearable. We've got to suck it up unfortunately.
That's all my advice for now. I admit I've been injured less than a week but it's been a steep learning curve. I do hope this post makes sense as I don't think I've not been on painkillers since I got hurt and they make me woozy and it's super difficult to concentrate. Hope you liked my injury story and advice you can take to the bank if you ever smash up your leg like I did.