I was on my way back from voting, excited about the massive contribution I had made while keeping an eye out for stompies to pick up. There were cars parked in the road, so I hopped onto the low wall at the side of the road, perhaps half a metre high. At the end of the wall, I hopped off.
Landing in a crack on the road and twisting my ankle.
I managed to limp home, although it was extremely painful. The next time I tried to get up I realised I wouldn’t be walking for a while.
The first day involved an unplanned fast, as moving anywhere, much less all 10 metres to the kitchen, involved putting cushions on the floor, resting my ankle gingerly on the cushions as I lay on my back, and then sliding slowly around the house. Regularly readjusting the cushions while trying not to move my ankle. All while wishing I had nicked some of my dad’s morphine. Or some of Mr Morrison’s vegetable pills. Carrying anything meant putting it arms length in front of me, sliding forwards until it was arms length behind me, and then putting it arms length in front of me again. Unsurprisingly the green tea wasn’t flowing quite as freely. I don’t really want to remember what going to the toilet was like…
By the next day the pain had subsided enough for me to move by hopping. There were once again regular tea breaks, followed by me hopping madly with a teapot full of boiling water in one hand, teacup in the other, leaving a trail of spilt water as I went.
Soon, my good ankle and legs was sore from all the hopping, and I was back to crawling again. At least this time I could move on my hands and knees, far speedier than before.
Finally, I realised a wheelchair would come in handy, so the office chair got hauled into action. I could whizz about the house at high speed, one knee resting on the chair, green tea resting on the seat, good leg pushing away. The office chair only got soaked once or twice.
I’ve never been immobile in this way before. It didn’t take long to find a system that worked, with my office chair wheelchair, but mostly it was a lesson in frustration and patience, and it made me think about people who can’t ever move about freely.
I couldn’t walk outside or drive, and simple things I’d taken for granted needed careful planning.
I got some crutches, and my first trip outside since the day it happened involved walking to the doctor on the crutches. It wasn’t a particularly long walk, but after navigating the journey, including subway, the novelty of the crutches had worn off, replaced by sore hands.
Finally, I progressed to an air cast, which I get to wear for six weeks, and which made an immediate difference to my hobbling ability.
It’s a strange thing to have my body give out so suddenly and so dramatically. All sorts of questions went through my mind.
What if this happened while I was alone on the mountains?
What if I didn’t have money for crutches, casts and office chairs?
What if I can never walk again? Not a serious, logical question, but a feeling response that was interesting to observe.
Luckily, I’m well on the way to walking again, but a little humbled, and with a much greater understanding of the reality many people live.