That Crutch Life


2014-09-25 05.32.55

Six screws and a plate later. Yes, to actual x-rays before my surgery roughly a week ago. What horror! Anyhow…

It’s interesting how an injured, and a very broken ankle changes your perspective on just about everything. Like how it’s possible to be afraid to come outside after this type of freaky incident. Or how I won’t risk taking a bath/shower with a bag over my hard cast for fear of infection – so I stick with cloth baths. To be honest, I can’t even count all the ways yet, but for the moment these are my current reflections.

I now think about a road map of the easiest access with the least amount of distance and body trouble. I think about what libraries have full wheelchair accessibility and what streets have the least amount of bumps and cracks. I think about how bad the weather is going to be, what big pants can I wear, and if the supermarket has big aisles for me to wheel myself around in.

I now check other people out who are in wheelchairs and I remember every single person I’ve ever encountered in my every day life or those who came to the gyms I worked or I’ve trained at. I made sure I complimented those who worked out with splints, crutches and wheelchairs because I’d imagine it would be one of the hardest things to do in life. So, it’s interesting to be on the other side of it – and I was right – it’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with, and I mean this in terms of the mental aspect.

I never thought shit like this would happen to me and I’ve been going through (is it possible?) my 5 stages of grief in my own way with this Crutch Life. Related: I had so many different plans, started a new job, about to start another semester of school – among other things and life kind of robbed me and for some reason unbeknownst to me has me sitting put on the bench. Probably because there’s something greater coming my way – gasp – I hope! Life – my ambiguous teacher.

Lately, I flip flop between emotions. I can’t stick to one: Sometimes I think yes I’m glad I wanted to practice longboarding and it’s the chances one takes in life that makes you feel fully alive. Or on the flip side, fear is an indicator to keep you safe and perhaps I should have listened to my initial gut so I can continue to keep a short regret list in my life. I’m now fearful of skateboards and longboards apparently. I was even scared to come outside for fear of falling down again and this time completely breaking my ankle off. The struggle of imagination is real my friends and I’ve been flirting on the line of post traumatic stress disorder.

I’m now both embarrassed and humiliated when I go outside (mind you I’ve been camping out at a friend’s house, far away from where I live to avoid further embarrassment/shame – and yes it’s fucking stupid I think like this) and crutch slower than an elderly who panics at the sight of ongoing traffic. I hang my head low and I chew on my bottom lip as if I defeat myself with every crutch-step I take, counting them like reps, pausing when there’s not enough gas in my system with sweat thrown at the back of my neck because holding my injured leg up and out in front of me kills my hip flexor and the healthy leg/foot screams at the amount of work it needs to do just to keep the rest of my 185lb body afloat.

It’s really interesting how having crutches changes your world. I’m not sure what’s more interesting, the strangers who offer their shoulder to replace my crutches or the people who have a deep sadness in their eyes and tell me about the time when they had their injury and they know just how hard it is to be on crutches and they’re very sorry I have to go through this. Or those other strangers who don’t care and ignore you completely whether its because they believe injuries and crutches are contagious or just because (insert whatever here).

I made use of a sliding technique involving my foot as hopping on one leg has been dreadful ever since the surgery. But I get enough internal and external rotation from this like one wouldn’t believe. Thank the Lord for the sliding and twisting technique. Thank the Lord for my having actually being faithful to my training as I wouldn’t know how I would’ve push through exhaustion or know what to do when my body wants to cramp up and spasm. All those single-leg exercises came in handy and who knew I would live through a time when it’s critically needed.

As for the medicated life, it has been a small type of hell. I had the doctor switch me from one pill to another pill because I’m not a drug addict (don’t intend to be either) and I don’t need strong stuff, plus I don’t need to vomit the entire day for the next few months. I’ll take the pain just like the word pain tattooed on my arm. Thank you. Still, the medication screws with my taste buds and they have also made me constipated to the point where I give birth and my rosebud goes numb from the excruciating pain of widening to three times its size. I’m still hurt.

I don’t groom nowadays. I wear no make up. My eyebrows are growing in and they seem to bring back the nostalgic days of being in elementary school and not knowing what to do with eyebrow thickness. The truth is though, I don’t look in the mirror anymore. I’m more selfless than ever before. But I’ll make sure to make it a point to paint my nails because colors brighten my fucking day – and I need my fucking day brighten now more than ever!

Have I mentioned how bitter I am towards certain people? People speak from a place usually without knowing how you or they would feel or think in this situation. So, so far I think the biggest lie and shitty advice anyone has given me is: “You’ll be extra grateful for having your broken ankle after the fact.” Really? How fucking so? I’ve been grateful before the injury. One reason why I’m a gym rat and why I weightlift is because I have limbs. I should put my entire body to use. But these people, these people speak from an unknown place. They speak without considering that they don’t gym it. The use and extent of their ankle is only going to and from work – and don’t get me started on if they have a sitting down job! So telling me or anyone else whose injured they’ll be extra grateful, I don’t see the purpose in saying this, unless the desire was to insult.

Also to point out, it’s difficult for me to eat my pride and even harder for me to allow others to take care of me. It’s hard for me to sit back and be okay with being vulnerable. It’s hard to ask another for anything, hard to be dependent and it’s also hard to inconvenience someone else at my expense, even when they don’t mind.

I haven’t even touched how I feel about taking time off from the gym because it would depress the fuck out if me if I sat down and really thought about it. In any event, right now I’m taking it one day at a time. That Crutch life!

-Pennington

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2 thoughts on “That Crutch Life

  1. I know how you feel, having been in your position (broken ankle, out-for-the-count). I also found it very scary to go outside again, and even now, nearly 3 years later, I am very careful when I walk my dog, which is how I broke my ankle the first time.

    It is a depressing situation but will eventually improve. Best wishes as you move towards non-crutch times.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve learn a few things and already have been inspired to write 4 and a half pages of my own reflections. Thanks for coming onto my site and reading and commenting. It means a lot. Also thanks for being genuine. Blessed be. πŸ™‚

      Like

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