Tag Archives: Crutches

Hiding Out


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I stayed indoors with my fears of falling again and re-injuring or injuring a new body part of mine. I stayed indoors because I live in New York City where the people are wild with busy bodies. I stayed indoors because I realized quickly that the world outside is definitely “lack of movement friendly.” I stayed indoors because it was better than dealing with the antics of and lack of wheelchair or crutch accessibility. I was much safer being in the house, safer being away from obstacles that would love nothing more but to come and test me.

During the moments of going out into the world, I watched and lingered with my eyes on people’s ability to move, walk, jog, sit, jump, ride a skateboard and dance. It looks easy – using two legs to perform. Everything is easier. I wonder, if they understand how awesome it is to be able to move so freely in the world of rapid movement.

I wonder, how many of them were grateful.  Or how many of them like me never even pregnant a thought of having their ankle mobility and such taken away for a limited of time. So, I miss being able to use my ankle in various ways in a very mobile friendly world.

Moving on – everyone has a habit of wanting to tell you what to do with your life and they even go as far as to give unsolicited advice many times because everyone whose not you has the solution to everything, including your broken/displaced ankle. Imagine when all kinds of people – relatives, registered nurses who are connected to friends and the surgeon want to chime in on my life and what decisions I should be making and why I should do this or that.

There were quite a few people who were against me and my obtaining a wheelchair. They said it will limit my body use and I’ll lose my muscles at a quicker rate, not to mention stall the healing of my ankle. I got a wheelchair anyway because this is MY life, not theirs. And if these people have never had the pleasure and interesting experience of learning how to use crutches and over long distance (or have a built-in mental fear of using crutches), well, why the FUCK would I listen to them for?

To rewind a little, from the emergency I was given lots of pain medication and they practically threw the crutches into my lap like another useless perscription of sort without instructing me on how to use my brand new legs. Did this build my confidence level with crutches? And was it supposed to? I think absolutely fucking not!

Towards the ending when I was heading out the emergency room it was time for my body to vomit it’s organs, raging anger and maniac depression out. I was outside (thankfully with a good friend) at 4am from the cab ride home to the concrete of what was going to be my new place of stay – vomiting and vomiting and vomiting and vomiting. I thought about people who used heavy drugs and why? I thought about why was I going through this and than quickly thought: Why ask why?

It took me 30 minutes to get inside the apartment, due to my drugged-ness of medication and learning how to use crutches for the very first time. The feeling of illness, nausea, pain in my foot, vomiting every few crutch-steps, along with a crackhead up my ass telling me a home remedy consisting of soaking my foot in butter and sugar – while trying to balance from the extreme dizziness I felt and eyeing the ground for immediate cracks on the floor at 4am was one of the hardest things to do in my life. I still don’t know how the fuck I made it into the elevator or into the abode.

The same week, a few days later, I felt froggy and decided on going to hang out with a friend of mine like we do every Friday. The only catch was using crutches. (I didn’t even think about getting a wheelchair yet and the thought of staying indoors seemed very depressing.) It didn’t hit me until I got to the lobby where I actually felt frightened – as frightened as the first day of kindergarten: Was I going to fall? How long will it take me to go to his car from the building (which is a 40 second walk) with these crutches? Am I sure I want to do this? I allowed myself to feel the panic. I digested it and braved on. It took roughly 10 minutes.

Mentally I was completely helpless. I felt powerless, which triggered humiliation, shame and pure embarrassment. Note: This doesn’t mean I look at people who use crutches or a wheelchair and say to myself, “They should feel humiliated.” This is what I feel personally. This is my experience. And those 10 minutes felt long. I lowered my head in defeat, and when people asked me if I needed help – I smiled half ass and unconvincingly. I was drowning, fatigued. I had to stop short every 5 crutch-step. It was enough and still is enough to use a wheelchair when necessary, especially when I’m going the distance and/or shopping.

I’m not above using a wheelchair at the moment and I don’t see why I should be. Why can’t I make things easy for me when I need it now the most? Why do I have to abuse myself physically even when I have a broken bone that needs to fuse together and heal? I physically abuse myself when I go to the gym and weightlift for hours during the week. (This doesn’t include cardio or stretching work.) I easily put in 10 hours or more at the gym a week. This doesn’t include workouts at home or how much I walk the city streets for extra mileage and to boost my metabolism whenever I can.

I also know, unlike most people I don’t have a problem with inactivity. I have the opposite problem – where I need to learn and force my hand for when my body, central nervous system or mind needs a day off from the gym. So when it’s time to bounce back, I’m going to put in 100% because I have a wonderful gym mentality and like a dear friend who reads my blog has stated to me, “You want it more than most.” And I do. And I’ve already proven this to my motherfuckin self for a decade with weightlifting.

So, excuse me if I want a fucking wheelchair. Excuse me, if for the moment that I believe it’s necessary to take a moment out, to relax, to say, “Hey, it’s alright to take it easy because it’s important right now.” I’ve given myself permission and fuck what anyone else thinks. Who likes hopping or swinging on one leg? This is my life. Fuck everybody else!

I write this, just in case someone else is questioning whether they should use a wheelchair at any point in time for their fibula fracture when they need it because people couldn’t mind their fucking business and you may doubt yourself. Just because you’re young and not obese doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to use a wheelchair. It’s your life, your business, your prerogative. Fuck everybody else and their shameless opinions. They don’t know you or what you’re going through. They get NO say! You have my permission. 🙂

Pretty soon I’ll be hopeful in not needing to spend money on cabs like I’m made out of trees or hold my heavy leg up during the cab ride because New York City and their infamous potholes hurt! I’ll be hopeful to not have to base a decision at the whim of a day or night – trying to figure out if I can be fundamentally happy where I nap and put the world and my ankle to sleep, so I don’t wallow in pain or depression. I’ll be hopeful about the near future where I don’t have to pick something off the floor in trembling balance and any sign of dog toys or sneakers on the floor won’t instill fear in me.

-Pennington

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That Crutch Life


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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