Here is an update on my friend, who broke her ankle two weeks ago. She tells me her morning routine has changed.
The universe has shrunk. It must be a nice day outside, because the living room is bright. Most of the day is experienced with a single view, from the sofa. There are distractions and points of focus, and a few channels to the outside world.
Two weeks after breaking the bone, it still seems important to keep it horizontal as much as possible to promote healing. Some normal simple household tasks are completely impossible, while others can only be done at the expense of too much time spent with the leg vertical. Keep a close eye on the toes, if they start to darken, stop and elevate the leg above the heart until it normalises again. Make sure you don’t put pressure on the cast, or on the leg within the cast.
A dining chair has been moved into the kitchen, so that cooking and washing up can be done sitting down if needed. Eating can be done at the site of food preparation. Getting food from the fridge is quite complicated and difficult, still.
The normal morning routine is exhausting and puts maximum stress on the leg. Doing any additional tasks is a challenge – today moved the allergy medicine from the dresser on one side of the room to the other, so that it is accessible. Took five minutes and a lot of flinging about. Then had to clean up a bit of cat upchucked food – not nasty, it just happens when they eat too fast, but how to bend down and pick it up in a tissue while in the hallway? And how to move it from there to the toilet? I was almost in throwing distance, so practiced my basketball technique – bundle it up as tight as possible in the tissue, aim at toilet, toss, hit the package of loo roll next to the toilet, bundle falls apart, now bits of cat food fallen behind toilet. Ha ha. Defeated me for a few minutes, then I managed with some struggle to retrieve all the pieces and dispose of them. And yet one more additional task outside the routine today…retrieve a clear plastic recycle bag from the shelves on the opposite side of the dining table (table is pushed against those shelves to make enough room for me to walk around the other way on crutches). Ha ha! Crutches can be used as a tool. Stand on one foot or move a chair into position and use the crutch to knock the roll of bags off the shelf, then pull it towards you. Takes five minutes. Win! Exhausted! Put clean yogurt tubs and takeaway boxes into the bag and leave it in easy reach. Feed cats. Drink leftover coffee from yesterday (clever). Worry about colour of toes, so sit down on sofa without eating anything just yet.
Take a few pictures, because the photo journal exercise is continuing. Write a journal entry – that’s your bit of creative writing for the day. Sit in the centre of a very small universe, as if the horizon has been shrink-wrapped tight to your skin.
Look forward to a visit and cherish the friends who make contact, whether electronically or in person.
Empathise with people who face similar things every day without having an end-date in sight. At the moment, I’m hoping I’m one-third of the way through.