Friday, October 29, 2010

Crutches: A Lesson

This past Tuesday, my typical morning run ended abruptly as I stepped on a crab apple, twisted my ankle, and stumbled to the ground. It hurt like heck, but I figured it was primarily the shock factor. So I took Sam and hobbled on home.  However, when it puffed up like a blow fish and started to bruise, I decided to make my way to the ER (which luckily is super close to where I live!).  After three x-rays and staring at the ceiling for over an hour, the doctor on call told me I had sprained my ankle and had a bone chip (basically when my ligament detached, it took a teeny part of my bone with it).  The prognosis was good - bones heal quickly, and I should be back up and running in three to four weeks! :)  In the mean time, however, I was told I needed to keep all weight off my foot for a full week (aka the doc prescribed crutches) and for the next two weeks I was told I needed to keep my ankle in special ankle brace.

I am very fortunate that this is my first "real" injury (and it really isn't even that serious) aside from a broken nose back in 7th grade.  However, it has been a challenge.  The crutches have perhaps been the most painful/challenging element.  Within the first two days, my entire body ached and I had bruises under my arms, chaffed arms, and bruises on the palms of my hands. And of course, there was the abnormally swollen and painful foot.

As much as I have moaned and groaned, and despised with a deep passion using crutches, I must admit that it has been well worth it.  I have gained a lot of new insight and appreciation for the little things the past few days. We too often take things for granted.  The ease of taking shower. Cooking/preparing a meal. Getting dressed and ready in the morning. Driving. Going from one classroom to another. Grocery shopping (which, for your information, is impossible if you are by yourself and using crutches). Sitting comfortably in a chair. And the list goes on and on. 

I've also noticed a few things that I've never before thought about.  For example - pharmacies tend to be located in the most inconvenient part of the store: the very back. For healthy people, what is a quick walk across the store becomes a true hike for a sick or injured person. And opening doors to enter a building, such as the CU Wolf Law building, become a true task.  First of all, the doors weigh a TON and are even hard for me to open when I have full use of my hands (and am not supporting my weight on crutches).  However, they are even hard to open if you push the handicap button, which only opens the first door.  Once in the first door, you have to make your way to the next button, which is 'conveniently' located about five feet from the door, in the corner, about 4 feet off the ground. And then you sprint to make it through the second door on time.  Then, once in the building, you have to go to the far back corner to access the elevator.  It is perhaps the most difficult building to get around if you are in any way handicapped.  I cannot imagine having to face challenges like these for more than a week, and am now blatantly aware of the everyday challenges that so many people have to face. 

I am so thankful that I am normally healthy and able-bodied. Now, I can't wait to be back to 100% and get off this couch and start running again!