I asked my friends on Facebook what they saw. Some saw the missing boot – one friend saw a tanned leg vs an untanned leg, and another friend saw two shoes on the wrong feet. What a group. I see a swollen leg, a brutal scar, and no boot.
I have been in a boot since I got back from the Bahama’s in early October, 2013. I chipped my tibia on the beach, remember? I even wrote a story about coming back with a broken ankle (unknown to me) and how I accidentally gave my real phone number to some cute surgeon I met on the airplane because he asked for it. He had it at “You’re a comic? I LOVE comedy.” Went right for the ego. SMH. I’m just happy he didn’t turn out to be some kind of slasher or something because I couldn’t pick him out of a line-up if my life depended on it. Besides, I’m fairly certain he didn’t even give me his real name.
I had surgery on October 24, 2013 in order to straighten my tibia and I’ve been in the boot ever since.
YEP! That’s me all right.
I’ll be honest this has been hard for me. It hasn’t been easy for my husband either. It didn’t take him long to figure out the answer to the question, “So what exactly do you do all day?” Turns out, I do a lot. Now he knows.
I spent an entire year sitting on my front porch watching the seasons change from Fall to Winter, to Spring, to Summer and back to Fall again with absolutely no help from me. That was both inspiring and frustrating.
I had to learn how to deal with life without running away from it. No more running to the Cove, or the Stables, or the club to tell jokes, or even banjo lessons. I just had to sit still and let life unfold. This took work. Huge work.
I had to depend on my husband for almost everything. I don’t do that well. I wasn’t allowed to walk for over 6 months. I spent three months in an electric scooter and three months on a knee scooter. I didn’t get released to walk in my boot until July of this year. Driving was out of the question. I couldn’t even take a shower by myself for several weeks.
I also found several restaurants in Tulsa that are not handicap friendly. I couldn’t get in the front door with my scooter. Not being able to eat at my favorite restaurant was frustrating, however my husband and I did find a new favorite restaurant in Broken Arrow. So there is that.
Being laid up made my blog challenging as well. No races. No traveling. No adventures after kids. But isn’t that life? We have our ups and downs. Not everything is a mountain top experience. I did get to try a new thing.
I learned how to be still.
And I made it to level 327 in Candy Crush.
Okay, not really.
I did, however, read every book I could get my hands on, some brag worthy, others purely for entertainment purposes. I’m okay with that.
And I practiced banjo. A LOT!
I panicked for months about being forgotten as both a writer and a comic if I wasn’t out there doing the deal. I even panicked about banjo lessons. “What if my teacher doesn’t have any openings once I come back? What if after a year on my own, I still suck at banjo?” What if. What if. What if.
I spent a lot more time living in the fear-based world of “what if” than I like to admit.
We did join a new church last winter and all they’ve known is the handicapped version of me. The woman who can’t walk and has to rely on her husband to take her everywhere. The woman who can’t volunteer yet, because she can’t drive. I had to simply be a member and meet and get to know people without giving anything in return.
I even get felt up by TSA this year when the metal in my leg set off their alarms. That was fun.
I had to find value in me without the “stuff.”
I was hoping to hit the ground running, but no such luck. I’ve been walking with a crooked leg since I was 12. It’s going to take time — lots and lots of time — learning how to walk properly. It hurts more often than not.
I find that interesting. My leg is straight for the first time in 35 years, my hips are finally even and my body is screaming. My back, my hips, my leg all want to stay bent and crooked. Everything is out of alignment and it doesn’t know what to do with this new order of things. Allowing things to find their new place is going to take time. Yes, I’m sure there is a spiritual connotation here. I’m still working on finding that.
My ankle should be able to finally bend properly, but it doesn’t know how. It’s partially frozen from lack of proper use. My right foot automatically turns out and my ankle wants to bend on an angle like it always did. I have to consciously turn my leg inward and force myself to walk heel-toe. The simple act of walking has become a practice in Zen philosophy. It requires total focus of mind and body. The only way to stop the pain is to walk it out and teach my leg how to work properly.
If I don’t do that, then the surgery was for nothing.
Even though I’m only allowed to walk in sneakers that look like they are on the wrong feet and use a cane for balance — I have a dream. One day soon, I’ll get to walk in these again and I cannot wait!
A full year came and went without my help.
I made friends based on who I am and not what I can do for them.
I learned how to receive.
My husband learned a new way of loving.
My boys learned how to spread their wings and do for themselves.
Without having me at his beck and call, even my Dad (75) learned how to do some things for himself.
Healing can still be an adventure if you let it.
As for cycling. I’m still grounded, however I am allowed to ride my trainer this winter. I’m out for 2015 for any competition. I’m not allowed on trails or streets for at least another six months. Hills are a big no no for at least a year.
That’s okay. I’m not what I do. Seasons still change if I give it enough time. I’m starting to be okay with that.