Monday, 15 September 2014

8 Things I Learned From Fracturing My Ankle

I am not qualified to deal with emergencies
I fell to the ground and immediately began screaming. I was so panicked that I couldn't even rest my head on my backpack. I was crying and shivering and had to be told to calm down. It didn't even occur to me that screaming was not the best way to deal with a possible broken bone whilst 1km up a mountain.

It is possible to have a more hygienic toileting experience in the bush than in a doctor's surgery
The day of my injury, I climbed a mountain. We were prepared for the questionable lavatory conditions and packed some wet wipes to keep things clean. When we arrived at the doctor's surgery to get my ankle looked at, their toilet was down a long hallway and a few stairs. I hopped/staggered into the unknown by myself. Once I finally reached the bathroom... let's just say, time wasn't on my side. It wasn't until I'd relieved myself that I was confronted by the sight of an empty toilet roll. I hobbled all around in search of the basic sanitary requirement but to no avail. I am still tormented by chilling flashbacks of that afternoon.

Confidence is Temporary
I ended up with ankles the size of my head after my good one swelled as well. The day I got kankles, I kissed my confidence goodbye. It seemed as though the smallest of issues would result in me feeling embarrassed and wanting to get the hell out of whatever restaurant or movie theater I happened to be in. I found that different issues occupied my mind while experiencing those places. Instead of enjoying my meal and the company I was surrounded by, I found myself looking at other girls with their glossy hair, trendy outfits and unchallenged mobility.

I'm either an independent woman or a whiney baby – there's no in between
I take pride in getting things done on my own. When my boyfriend ended up becoming my care giver, I felt grateful but confused. Without him, everything would have been twice as hard but I know I would have gritted my teeth and found a solution to whatever issue I was dealing with.
Fun fact: those tasks become extremely difficult when someone is constantly trying to take care of you. When you're told to stay seated and someone will bring you your toothbrush, water and a cup to spit into, you end up believing that's the only way you're capable of brushing your teeth.

Men are afraid of angry women in pain
Working in a male dominated environment means I'm often surprised by some of the opposite sex's strange behaviour. After returning to work, I got to experience the joy of my pals coming into the office purely to laugh at my clumsiness. This part I didn't mind. If anything, I expected it. The weirdness occurred when I embarked on my only trip beyond the confines of my office. I was shocked and kind of humoured to see groups of men strangely dispersing as I ventured up the hallway on my crutches. I guess my severe case of bitch face may have scared them off.

I'm afraid of myself when I'm angry and in pain
Not only was I required to deal with the frustration of being unable to perform simple tasks like carrying my handbag, I also had to reign in my strong desire to yell at people. I assure you, this is not an issue I usually experience. As always, my number one victim was the person kind enough to help me with everything. Sadly, my internal fury was also released onto many other innocent bystanders. I honestly don't know how I still have friends.

Sometimes, it really sucks when you can't go to work
I found going to work was helping the feeling of uselessness brought on by my injury. Although my routine was adjusted to limit my movement, I still felt as though I was capable of contributing. That is, until the onsite nurse saw me on crutches and said I needed to leave site to ensure my safety. I am 100% behind any initiative to keep me alive and I understand their desire to avoid the obvious risk to HSE stats. However, working from a secondary location only increased my guilt of minimal contribution. Believe it or not, I really couldn't wait to get back onsite.

Cruel jokes are nicer than sympathy
My boss took the time out of his busy schedule to critique my ability to use crutches. I believe he said I was “really, really bad at that.” A friend found the kindness in her heart to laugh at me for using the crutches incorrectly and gave me a quick demo. My boyfriend loved me enough to laugh at me after checking I was ok, every time I fell over. It's small gestures like this that gave me a chance to indulge in a little self-depreciating humour. Aside from some fun pain killers, that's all a girl with a temporary injury can ask for.

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