I broke my ankle in 2017 and spent nearly 3 months
in rehab, which I assure you was no picnic. I became
very familiar with Matlock, and Hallmark movies.
I nearly lost my leg in the ordeal, due to infection, but gratefully I was spared having to go hippity-hopping everywhere. I didn’t do well on one leg for 9 weeks, I assure you.
I learned to tell stories (true ones) that kept the hired help entertained, and I learned to laugh at myself to keep from crying. Laughter is the best medicine.
I am Diabetic and have Narcolepsy. so there was plenty to talk about. The CNA’s and PT’s would often remark that I was so “interesting”. I found myself falling asleep during physical therapy and the therapist woud say “Linda, wake up” Yeah, they probably thought I was crazy.
Most of the other patients there were morose and mostly lifeless. Some wouldn’t even get out of bed all day long. I’m sure the hired help thought none of those stories I told were true. How could anyone be so upbeat and positive in a place like that?
That first night in rehab I sunk so low, I didn’t think there was any possibility of surviving this ordeal. It was impossible! I couldn’t put any weight on my broken leg – no weight bearing! -0–
I had to relearn how to do everything on one leg. Everything!! How to get out of bed, turn and sit in the wheelchair, all on one leg.
That was called “a transfer.” Now I wasn’t a small person, mind you, at 255 lbs. My legs were little spindles with most of the weight from the hips up.
You try standing on only one leg and pivoting around to sit down in a chair at the side of the bed. You are half drugged out of your mind (so you don’t feel the pain that your diabetic legs can’t feel anyway) LOL
It was almost a joke. And even funnier to watch if it wasn’t so pathetic.
Then getting into the bathroom was easy. They just “wheeled you in there”, but now you have to stand up again on one leg. pivot on that one leg, 3 or four times, now sit down. Oh no, you moved the portable stool as you sat down. Ooops. Well, I guess housekeeping can take care of the spills.
Finished? OK stand up again, pivot (oh the handicap bar helped a lot there). Now sit down again. “NO WAIT till I get the chair under you” Always feel with your hand around behind you and find the wheel chair handle to make sure the chair is there before you sit down”!!
WOW, I decided to remain in that chair the rest of the day. But after I went to bed that first night, as I said before, I went to a very dark dark place that I felt there was no escaping. It was hopeless.
I was sure I would suffer the same fate my own mother had experienced when her ankle never healed from a broken bone. She died! I was nearly the same age, and this was the same scenario.
- Broken ankle
- Survive Rehab
- Open Wound that had to heal
- Possibility of infection due to contamination from the pool water that I broke my ankle in
- And last but foremost in my mind was, “You’ll most likely loose your leg Sign here to say you understand the risk.”
If I cried, my head would stuff up and I couldn’t breathe, so DON’T CRY. and the final problem, you’ve got to sleep on your back (which I couldn’t do because mucus would drop down my throat and I couldn’t breathe) PERFECT!!
And there you have it. The horrible solution to an imperfect day.
- I’m going to die.
- I couldn’t sleep.
- I was weighed down with the jaws of death lying there opened wide, ready to swallow me up.
When I finally came to my senses, I realized I wasn’t ready to die, and I decided I was never going to go to that place again during this ordeal. I had to look to the light!
I turned on the light and kept it on at night and even during the day. From then on, I played music at night, I recorded memories of my life on my iphone, listened to Podcasts, I sometimes watched “I Love Lucy” or whatever was on TV to take my mind off myself. And from that moment on I never looked back, nor cried (until now)
To recap: to get through rehab, you must
- Stay away from despair,
- Get out of bed and stay up
- Attend physical therapy
- Tell your attendants stories from your life. Your life has been full of events that need to be told.
- Get a smart phone and start recording YOUR LIFE stories as you remember them.
- Record THIS experience, ALL of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly
And now LAUGH at the humor that you see in the memory. After all, “Laughter is the best medicine.”