Sunday, May 15, 2011

Crutches: a humbling experience

Last weekend while letting my dog out into the backyard, standing perpendicular on our steep back porch steps, I lost my footing and fell onto the deck. After hauling myself inside and realizing a trip to Emergency was in order, I received the verdict: sprained foot with a small bone chip. Crutches for at least a week with a follow-up in the Podiatry department.

This has definitely been a big learning experience. Here are some of the things that have come up for me:

Crutches are not fun. I always envied kids who had them. Not just for the attention, they also looked like a fun challenge. Now I know that crutches are only fun when you borrow your friend’s pair for five minutes. The toughest part is not being able to carry things. No, the toughest part is feeling like the rest of my body is broken after a day of trying to get around.
I have even more respect for people who are permanently disabled or chronically ill. After three days I started to feel depressed, against my typical nature. It’s frustrating not to be able to take care of the things I normally do and to feel hurt all day long. I have a greater insight into why people with serious conditions suffer emotionally as well as physically. And I’m only here for a brief moment in time. Beans.

After spending a week in Hawaii, I was looking for a way to become even more fit and toned but I'm not a huge fan of the gym. I like exercise that has a purpose, like running with the dog or dancing or gardening. Still one has to put in time to get a sleek, firm body like the gym rats. How about something like propelling yourself with just your arms all day long and standing on one leg for periods of time?
The wise words of my good friend continue to ring in my ear:
Be careful what you wish for. And BE SPECIFIC.

Yesterday, my sweet and I took a trip to Home Depot for supplies for my new garden bed (post forthcoming!) A woman in a soft cast encouraged me to remain in my cozy seat on the bags of soil amendment, noting that some people with flatbed carts had a tendency to ram into her without cause or care. Another woman in a wheelchair rolled by and smiled, making jokes about how my guy should be carrying me everywhere. Even though I noticed her making friends with everyone else in the garden department, I somehow felt seen and understood, as well as having the ability to see and understand. I was grateful for the care from these strangers as much as the love of my friends and family over the past week.

To quote The Phantom Tollbooth (our current classroom read aloud) “The way you see things depends a great deal on where you look at them from.” I suppose I no longer see the world from the same Point of View. And I am much the better for it.