There are a lot of things you notice when you’re stuck using crutches for several months.  Like, for example, how annoying crutches are.  But, there are many other things as well.  You see the good and the bad of our healthcare system, you come to appreciate how helpful other people can be, and you learn to distinguish between the things you really need and the things you only thought you needed…

So after six weeks in this situation, I figured I would put pen to paper and write up a list of some of the lessons I’ve learned and things I’ve noticed during this process.

        1. Under no circumstances should you Google your medical condition. It will only freak you out and convince you the doctors are, eventually, unquestionably, gonna have to amputate your leg.
        2. If you can’t help yourself and you do Google your condition, at the very least, don’t tell your husband about all the terrible things you’re now convinced are gonna happen to you. The more you talk, the more likely he’ll be to change the wifi password and cut off your internet access entirely.
        3. When you give a pharmacist a Vicodin prescription written by a Massachusetts doctor, a driver’s license issued by the State of Florida, and tell him your primary care doctor is located in Virginia, he’s gonna have some questions for you.vicodin
        4. Yoga pants rock. I started wearing them out of necessity because they were the only thing that fit under my brace, but now I understand why so many women wear them everywhere they go. And yes, I am now gonna be one of those women. Sorry, not sorry.
        5. I joke around a lot on this blog, but even if I’m just writing nonsense, for whatever reason, I find it incredibly therapeutic to write.
        6. When you’re laid up for a while, you realize it’s not the big things you can’t do that bother you; it’s your inability to complete the small, insignificant, daily tasks that you used to think nothing of.coffee-cup
        7. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where the first question so many people ask when they hear what happened is “Are you gonna sue?”
        8. The ability to take a real shower should never be taken for granted.
        9. Dry shampoo is incredibly effective, but there is a definite limit to how many days you can use it.  At some point, you touch your hair and basically sprint to the faucet.
        10. Don’t mock the fanny-pack. When you’re on crutches, those things are the bomb dot com.   fanny-pack
        11. Washing dishes while on crutches? Yes!!!!  Vacuuming while on crutches?  Noooooooo!
        12. People are way chattier with you when you’re injured. I’ve had more strangers strike up conversations with me in the past six weeks than the rest of my life combined.
        13. People also go out of their way to try to help. I’ve watched numerous people completely stop what they were doing, just so they could run over and open a door for me.
        14. Ya know when you’re driving around a really crowded parking lot and you see a whole line of unused handicapped parking spaces and you think to yourself, “Do they really need THAT many handicapped spaces?”  The answer is yes.G-42 (5).plt *
        15. Grocery stores are treacherous when you’re on crutches – wet floors, little bits of paper everywhere, little old ladies who don’t give a crap about you or your broken leg….
        16. When you’re trying to stay out of everyone’s way in a store, no matter where you choose to stand, you’ll be in someone’s way.  When Kevin is running around getting our stuff, I’ll set up in front of the least appealing food I can find.  “A giant rutabaga display? Perfect!”  And that’s when everyone and their mother will suddenly decide they need to make a rutabaga pie for dinner that night.
        17. Living in a tiny space with a 75 pound German Shepherd who gets VERY EXCITED to see you every time you come home, can be extremely unnerving.

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          Dixie at the front door waiting to pounce
        18. Remember when you were a toddler and you learned to go down a set of stairs on your bum?  It can still be an effective way to get where you need to go, even if you are pushing 40.
        19. Speaking of which, nothing relieves you of your delusions of dignity quite like a stay at the hospital.
        20. You lose an insane amount of muscle incredibly quickly when you don’t get up and walk around. My left quad, which I have been unable to put any weight on since my injury, is probably about 20% smaller than my right one.
        21. You can suffer actual physical withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking narcotic meds, even after just a few weeks.
        22. Massive infusions of narcotic medications (for example, during surgery) can make you constipated.  I did not know that.  Now I do. I wish I didn’t.
        23. Many doctors do a lousy job of discussing how to properly handle narcotic meds with their patients. It’s not hard to see why so many people end up addicted, or alternatively, are unwilling to take them for fear that they’ll become addicted.
        24. The true strength of a marriage is determined when things go wrong. Flowers and anniversary dinners are nice, but you really find out what you’ve got when the wheels have come off the bus.0474
        25. Living in an RV when recuperating from a mobility-limiting injury is good because everything is small and close together
        26. Living in an RV when recuperating from a mobility-limiting injury is bad because everything is small and close together
        27. Facebook and Instagram are your best friends when you need to kill time and fight the feelings of isolation that come with being laid up for a bit. Interacting with people, even strangers, can brighten your whole day.
        28. Instagram is a far more enjoyable app than Facebook: No politics, no trolls, no soapboxes, minimal advertising. Just pretty pictures and amusing hashtags from the people you find interesting.
        29. Twitter is confusing, hard to follow, full of advertisements, and, basically, terrible.
        30. Dogs do not understand crutches, nor do they care.  If they’re comfy, you’re out of luck.

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          “No, no Dixie. You just stay where you are. I’ll crutch around you….”
        31. I think I finally figured out a practical, real world application for pole vault training.

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          “I don’t know why we bothered to buy you a dog bed either, Dixie.”
        32. It is amusing to watch staff reactions when you’re on crutches and you enter a bar. You can see their eyes grow wide as they try to figure out whether they should notify someone.
        33. If you’re gonna break your leg, autumn is a good season to do it. Wearing a full leg brace in summer would be miserable, navigating crutches on ice and snow would be terrifying. Spring would probably be acceptable, but I’m ok with not actually finding out.
        34. Autumn, however, is doggie shedding season.  Know what sucks about living in an RV with a German Shepherd?  Shedding season.
        35. I think this photo might explain my post-surgical fondness for Dilaudid:img_0957
        36. Its weird to think of someone using carpentry tools on your bones. “No, nurse…. I said the Phillips head, not the flat-head….Ugh!”
        37. Having health insurance, even high deductible health insurance, is a lifesaver.  We can see what the hospital billed for its services, but we can also see what the insurance company’s “negotiated rate” for that service is. So, for example, the anesthesiologist bills $5,000 but the insurer’s negotiated rate for that service is only $1,000. Even if we got stuck paying for the whole thing ourselves, because we have insurance, we’d only have to pay the ‘negotiated rate.’
        38. If you’re gonna be stuck in one place for a bit, better it be eastern Massachusetts than a lot of other places.  As least there is a lot to see and do. img_1189
        39. I do much better when I have a clear schedule and set of goals for my treatment.  The worst thing is when a doctor says, “we’ll just have to see how it progresses.” I realize medical professionals don’t like to give specific timelines because sometimes things don’t go as planned. But for me, I need something to look forward to, a goal to meet, a schedule to keep.
        40. Physical therapists are really nice people. They make it difficult to dislike them, even when they’re torturing you.
        41. Having close family nearby when you’re recuperating makes all the difference in the world.Processed with Snapseed.
        42. On a related note, laughter truly is the best medicine.
        43. Once you’ve been run over by dogs, you start noticing all the people who don’t keep their dogs under control. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them.
        44. Speaking of which, I don’t care what anyone says, yellow labs are dicks.
        45. When you title your post “45 Thoughts…” but you can only come up with 44, you can just write complete drivel and people will keep reading because they’ve already read the first 44 and now they’re invested. 🙂

 

**Featured image courtesy of Karol Franks on Flickr.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Lol! It’s like deep thoughts with Jack Handy!! I know this is not what you planned at all and recovery stinks, but I also think you are progressing well due to your great attitude! So many people would have just given up and curled up in a ball for 3 months. You are finding humor and taking it in stride (except on wet, slippery handicap ramps!). Glad to see you getting healthier! Here’s to making it through the next 45 days!

    • Thank god for my overly sunny, glass half full, always find the silver lining, full of optimism, happy-go-lucky disposition, eh? Wait… What? Who AM I? What the hell happened to me? Those must have been some damn good drugs they gave me in the hospital because I should be way grumpier about this. Ah well. It would be a VERY long 12 weeks if we couldn’t find the humor in all of it. 🙂

  2. Is there anyway you can get a temporary handicap parking placard for your car? Then again I guess it would be hard with you having car registered in Florida. It might be worth a try.

    • I think we can probably get one from Florida, but at this point, assuming things continue on schedule, I really won’t need it much longer and I wouldn’t want to take a handicap spot from someone who needed it more than me. In retrospect, it probably would have been worth applying for a permit right when I first got injured, but I’m hoping to be off these crutches in just a few weeks, and then I’ll need all the exercise I can get to strengthen my leg again.

  3. I have to think you can make “now having Michelle Obama arms” as your 45th thought! Thanks for the hilarious & informative posts. I’m looking forward to your after crutches posts (as are you!)

    • That is a GOOD point! Whatever exercise I haven’t been getting for my legs, I have definitely been getting for my arms. Its way more effort than I realized. And yeah, I am definitely looking forward to putting the ‘travels’ back in chapter3travels….I think we’ve had enough character-building exercises for a while…. 🙂

  4. This was awesome. I wish I could write a running commentary whilst reading them. Alas, I cannot. Also, I just wanted to use “whilst” and “alas.”

    • Ooh, that would be a fun blog feature, huh? Some app where you could write in comments on the side of blog posts? Unless the comments were mean… then there would have to be a function where the comments would automatically delete and the person would be banned from the internet forever because no one likes trolls. Someone smarter than me should definitely make this a thing!!

    • Awww, we miss you guys too!! Hopefully we’ll be in town for a visit at the beginning of December. We should get the crew together and make Jeremy cook for us!

  5. I was with you all the way…until #44. 🙂 I will be gracious, however, and forgive your mistaken belief about yellow labs due to your circumstances (see, you’re right, people are much nicer to you when you are injured).

    Ugh, I’m glad things are progressing along though. Hopefully you’ll be up and about and we’ll be able to cross paths with you.

    With the limited mobility, I’m surprised you didn’t take over Kevin’s xbox and start playing all the games!

    • Trust me: they may look all cute and goofy and full of love, but inside they’re vicious little fur-terrorists hell bent on creating chaos wherever they go. Seriously…. I know about these things. Alright, fine… they’re not ALL bad. Just some of them…. We’ll call them “the delinquents.”

      Anyway, yes, it looks like we are gonna be in the same general vicinity for several weeks this winter, so one way or another, we’ll find a way to link up with you guys. After all this time stationary, I think we’ll be more than happy to put some miles on. We’ve got seriously itchy feet these days….

  6. I read all the way through and was nodding and grinning especially on no 1. At this point in time that you are mending and you can look back and tell yourself you made it through thanks to drugs, family and friends and therapist.
    Perhaps its time to move now on warmer places as your cast is removed and your leg can breath some fresh air.
    But looking at your Xray made me cringe.

    • Absolutely! While we’ve enjoyed the lovely New England fall colors, as it turns noticeably colder and more gray, we are so very ready for a warmer climate! As soon as we’re given the green light, we’ll be heading south to Florida. Palm trees and sunshine…. yes!!!!

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