Broken Leg, Altered Track

While I would never call myself an active person, I did enjoy being outdoors, loved to jog through the neighborhood, go for the occasional run, and play tennis sporadically. I had made a silent resolution to become more active and spend quality time doing fun outdoor things with my family, knowing it was a great way to bring us closer. On one of these occasions, I ventured out with my husband and stepsons for a leisurely Saturday bike ride- destination: the beach. That fate filled ride was three years ago. We got about a mile from home, where, while walking my bike across a tricky piece of sidewalk, I fell, bike and body, off of a 16-inch curb. As these things sometimes go, I fell in a way that defied physics, and my leg became entangled and stuck in the spokes of my bike wheel, and there was a sound I’m really sure none of us will forget, “snap”. In the blink of an eye – I had a spiral compound fracture of my left leg.  I have the utmost respect for the machine that is the human body. It’s fragile while mighty. Yes, I now had broken bones that were newly re-arranged in a way I’ll spare you from visualizing, but, because of shock that had set in, my defense mechanisms prevented me from feeling pain. Fragile, yet mighty. Kind passerby’s helped us, and I was taken directly to the hospital where immediate emergency surgery included the installation of a rod and four pins to repair my leg.  I was ordered to severly limit my mobility to only the necessities for at minimum the next several months. All in all, I began to walk with some normalcy about five months after the fall. There were many lessons learned throughout this experience. Some wonderful, some surprising, some, soul searching.  Gratitude. First, the kindness of complete strangers who helped me initially, and restored my faith in the goodness of people. People truly do want to help and want the best for others. I am grateful to my family for their quick thinking and aid, as well as to the strangers who pulled over to the side of the road to help us. I have gratitude for the knowledge and compassion of the emergency medical team who calmed me and initially treated me. Loved ones I found out who in my life really means “I’m there for you when you need me”. People showed up. People helped and cared and it warmed me to no end. Emotions Now, surprisingly, while many of my friends would say “enjoy the time off and forced relaxation! Read! Write! Watch crap TV! The reality was – I found myself falling into a depression, with bouts of anxiety and a rain cloud of isolation wrapped in helplessness. Rationally, I knew my situation was temporary, however, my emotional side refused to listen to my logical side. I found online forums, and learned I was far from alone in this feeling, it’s fairly common actually. Knowing I wasn’t alone and reading what others in my similar situation had done, helped greatly. The Body On the physical side, my bone repaired well – the surgeons did a great job. My muscles were a different story. Because once I was mobile again, and rejoined my work and home routine, I neglected to continue with physical therapy, which I now recognize as a mistake. My muscles have not regained the strength they once had, to the contrary. My right leg overcompensates for the weakness in my left leg, and the range of motion in that leg is very limited. At times, I confess, I feel like my limb is a peg leg – not a sexy feeling to be sure. The silver lining - knowing I could find work as a local meteorologist, because I can often predict rain better than they can. I used to think that was an old wives tale – but I’m here to tell you it’s true. Incoming rain causes quite a bit of discomfort. Fortunately, we live in Southern California, where it’s not that frequent.  It’s up to me In the back of my mind, I always thought that someday, it would all go back to ‘normal’ (i.e. my physical well being prior to the accident). Somehow, I skimmed over the part that it would take effort from “me” to get there. Not the surgeons, not the forums, but me. When I finally came to the realization that “this is where the tire meets the road” I made an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon and got a prescription for physical therapy. I know it will take hard work, tenacity, and I know there will be days when the proverbial devil on my shoulder will try to get me to skip a class, but I now know the angel on my other shoulder is emboldened with the vision of my goal, how I want to feel and the physical condition I want to achieve.  I have daily exercises to do and about ten more sessions of PT to do.   I am motivated and focused on my goal of losing the 15 pounds that have crept on since the accident, getting into shape, and being able to do cardio again. I am unbroken and back on track.

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