Broken

I lie in bed with my leg elevated. Six weeks of rest, elevation, no weight allowed on my right foot. I am halfway through my stint. A broken tibia.

Forced inertia allows time for one time to think. And I have had plenty of time to think. It hasn’t driven me round the twist. I haven’t felt weak and reached for alcohol. Have you tried crutches lately? You cannot hold anything while walking with crutches. A backpack would help but a cup of tea you cannot carry. A thermos of tea, yes but not a cup of tea. The effort to sit up in bed relying on one foot only, the effort to get to the toilet, to go down steps. I cannot go up steps. That’s where my bottom comes in handy. I creep up steps, one by one on the seat of my bum, with a flat cushion and make it to the top.

Could my fitness have been better before the break? Yes. Would it have made getting about easier. Yes. That doesn’t help me now though. I am not great on crutches.

Let me interrupt and say this: New Zealand has excellent public medical service when it comes to broken bones. I paid NZ$40 for subsidised X-rays and NZ$35 for a subsidised GP appointment and the rest was paid for by the government. Which really means by the people and our taxes. I received a moon boot. There was a long wait in Accident & Emergency. New Zealand hospitals are understaffed and underpaid. Capacity of patients in winter is at 145%. They are busy. That doesn’t stop them from being both professional and caring. I was impressed. Yes I waited a long time but others who waited also waited patiently. I received a cast after more X-rays. And follow up appointments for out-patients.

For getting about home I have been loaned a toilet seat with handles and stability. A shower chair. And later a knee scooter. I had my own crutches. The shower chair actually sits beside the bed so it makes it easier to get up and standing. Who knew how hard it is to do everything on just one leg. I am humbled by my situation. I have time to recover. I do not have children to look after. DH has been an angel with fetching and carrying things for me to keep me fed, watered, amused and functioning.

All this time to think and I have not gone bat shit crazy. I appreciate this moment in time that I have been given. It is a glitch or a correction in my life. A time to reflect and look to the future and see how I can do better, plan better. I can write, draw, use my computer. I can hobble about the house. I cannot clean. I hate cleaning anyway. But that got me thinking. I deserve to live in a clean house. I can look at cleaning as self care. Take more pride in my surroundings and care more. Don’t listen to what I say here, watch what I actually do later. Hold me to what I said here later.

The doctor asked me if I wanted a knee scooter. I said no. Why? I didn’t know what it was and it didn’t sound stable. I was an idiot. When I rang support at ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation), a government department, they suggested a knee scooter when I said how poorly I was managing on crutches. I said yes please. Not realising how helpful it would be. It was delivered to the house the next day. What a game changer. Mobility and stability with getting about. It has a basket on the front so I can carry things at the same time, The catch is, if the basket is on the front then it’s harder to turn. I ended up taking the basket off. Since having the knee scooter I can now do the laundry. I balance on my ‘bad’ leg which is supported by the knee, the breaks are on, with my ‘good’ leg firmly on the ground. I can lean down with the help of the handle bars. It allows me to function more normally. Rather than feeling useless and immobile I feel more independent and capable.

I can eat in the kitchen now for meals. I can turn the jug on. I can gather the placemats. I can do simple things. I can collect the yoghurt from the fridge, the muesli from the bench and the kiwifruit from the bowl. I can carry the knife, the bowl and the spoon in the basket and I can get my own breakfast. I still cannot carry a cup of tea.

I am not writing this for you to feel sorry for me. I am writing to voice how lucky I am. I didn’t need an operation with plates and screws. I can recover at home. I only have myself to look after and get well. DH looks after me. The cats have looked after me too. The public hospital system in New Zealand is excellent. I may have waited many hours for service but I was dealt with empathy, care and professionalism. I wish that others countries have the same level of care that we have here. My next cast will be renewed. My leg is getting skinnier. The cast feels roomier. That is life.

Everything takes longer at the moment but I have an appreciation for each thing or each action. I am lucky that this is temporary. I am grateful.

Mrs D is Going Within

Mrs D is Going Within by Lotta Dann

I’ve gone from an alcohol addiction to a reading addiction. I have finished Lotta Dann’s second book Mrs D is Going Within. One book per day. I wonder if I have an addictive personality? I would, wouldn’t you say so? I love reading and when you have a good book it is hard to put it down. Substitute reading/book for wine and it could be the same thing.

A reading obsession is healthy, isn’t it? Healthier than a sugar binge. But I tend to indulge in that occasionally too. That used to be with wine. Now the sweet tooth is going it alone.

Loved both books. Read them round the right way. Such an easy style to read. Great substance and ideas of how to proceed in the journey in sober land. I made the decision not to drink for Christmas after reading these books. It will be my first sober Christmas ever. Two years ago I started off Christmas Day with the roast meat and vegetables in the oven and champagne in the bath for me. Subsequently after a few drinks I fell asleep in the bath and ended up burning the lunch. It was edible just. Will not be repeating that again.

I tidied up the backyard today. I felt good with the results. I had help too. Many hands make light work. Gosh the weeds were high. All gone now. And with them gone I felt a lightness that made me realise that it was bothering me that the garden was a mess. I had sober issues and was concentrating on not drinking or so I told myself. Stepping into the garden was a tonic. Sitting outside for lunch was fantastic. The reed shade blocked out the sun enough to enjoy the warmth but not be burnt to a crisp.

Quitting alcohol is the easy bit. Or it is so far for me. I’m on Day 13. A newbie. Humour me. Living sober is the journey.
One which needs a toolbox for the ride.
The tools inside my bag are:

Regular Exercise (Walking, Pokemon Go, Weights)
Unconditional Love from my Two Cats (Not a tool per-say but imagine an adorable photo)
Mindfulness
Acceptance
Compassion
Sober Treats (None sweet tooth variety)
Morning Pages (3 pages of writing, Gratitude is part of this)
Internet Out of the Bedroom Habit

I am a work in progress. I don’t do everything perfectly. I make an effort most of the time. Sometimes I have time off. This week I’ve taken time off regular exercise because I cannot sleep. Insomnia is still with me. Two hours sleep last night. I hope that I can re-calibrate my sleeping habit tonight. I am hopeful. My sober treat today was a soak in the bath, with a book and bath salts and an iced glass of sparkling water. I’m trying to gather sober treats to pat myself on the back and say well done me. Morning pages were done at 1:30am. I made use of my time. My smart phone is in the hall charging instead of in the bedroom. Tonight will be the first night without my computer in the bedroom. Books will be on my bedside table instead.

Mindfulness. I think I have been doing a version of this without knowing since i was young. I didn’t know what it was. Observing while in the moment. My mind will wander away from the chatter and I will be in the moment, miss the question or the conversation and upset those around me. Perhaps this is just absentmindedness instead?