“Deana you are so blessed to have this down time. I’d give anything to spend time alone with God.”
I’ll be honest, I’m feeling that vibe a lot less now than I was back in October. The first three weeks were great, then I got bored.
In October, I knew I was only going to be down for a few months. Three, maybe four tops! In that down time, I would spend a month or two in physical therapy, but surely I’d be walking and driving by April.
Not a chance.
That simple little surgery I had last October where they broke my tibia in half, straightened it out, added a metal plate, screws and a bone graft isn’t healing.
Actually, my body got hungry and ate the graft, leaving a nice hole in the middle behind the metal plate. My leg is still broken and even though I can walk with a boot and crutches, it hurts.
I am going back in tomorrow, April 2 for another bone graft. This time they’ll take the bone from my hip. I’ll be back sitting in a chair staring at water for a few weeks while this heals. No April Fools joke, this is for real. 90 days no walking and another 90 days-ish using crutches. After that we get to decide whether or not to replace my ankle. I’m going to be down for a really long time.
This is more me time than I wanted.
I’ve learned some things though.
1. I had no idea people post such drivel on Facebook or think meme’s are factually accurate.
2. Just because my leg is broken does not mean I can’t help tear apart a kitchen.
3. Dust will not kill me.
4. The dogs who have no regard for my boot and crutches however, may.
5. Laundry can wait until someone brings it downstairs. (Flinging it down the stairs while standing on crutches is not wise – don’t ask)
6. Candy Crush is rigged against you.
7. You can go broke playing Facebook games. You can also get very bored with them after level 130.
8. Online shopping rocks.
9. Number of tie-blankets you can make before losing your mind is three.
10. Banjo really does sound better when you practice.
Have a great day you guys.
Why is my road bike in my living room?
Because I can only watch so many episodes of Ally McBeal on Netflix before wondering if the writers had access to my psych files. Granted, I feel saner after watching that show.
Because my fingers can only practice banjo and guitar so many times before freezing up.
Because no amount of internal body heat caused by menopause or kitschy cycling gear can combat the polar vortex when it arrives.
Because my attitude over the things I still cannot do has gotten so bad, my family is thinking of putting me out of their misery.
Because I deserve to do the best I can to take care of me.
I have choices. I can either lament the fact that I’m not allowed to ride in the street yet, or I can set up my trainer (with permission) and get moving.
My leg is still broken (or is sticky as doc calls it) and even though I’m now allowed to walk if I use my boot and walker, I still cannot go outside or drive or do a whole lot really and when I’m being honest, I get frustrated.
It’s really starting to feel like every time I turn around I bump into something else I still can’t do yet.
This might not seem like a lot to other folks, but it’s making the world of difference to me.
I haven’t been able to walk for three months. My legs are toast. Group rides are presently out of the question as is riding on the street or trails for now. Most of my riding friends set up trainers only as a last resort. Tulsa winters are usually mild enough to ride. I’d ride too but, I’m not allowed to join them until my leg is 100% healed. That is going to take a few more months.
The issue for me isn’t so much physical as it is mental. I knew going in this road of recovery would be a while. I knew there would be physical demands and I was fully prepared to face them. What I didn’t expect to face is the mental aspect of it all. This recovery has been a huge challenge for me emotionally. I’m not used to having to rely on other people to do things for me, I’m used to doing them myself.
I needed to find something I CAN do.
Setting up my trainer is the perfect way for me to get over feeling a bit defeated and frustrated by how long it’s taking my leg to heal. It keeps my mind busy and it will strengthen my legs at the same time.
Not a bad deal if you ask me.
Sometimes, when I’m being honest with myself, I have this secret fear that I am not enough. Did you know that? No matter how hard I strive to control or contain reality, I get afraid.
Doc had to break my leg in order to make it whole again. That didn’t seem right to me and yet, because of my pain, I allowed it. I’m tired of limping. Tired of hiding my injury. Tired of staring at the ground when I walk so that I don’t accidentally trip and fall. Again.
Funny how that happens. Pain drives us sometimes. Sooner or later though, hopefully, we get tired of the pain and become willing to do whatever it takes to make it go away. This was really no different. I knew it meant being down for almost six months and frankly I was so tired, I really didn’t care.
Jeff came with me for the first two weeks, making sure that I followed the doctor’s orders by staying off my feet. Major surgery takes a lot out of you. Having your tibia broken in half, shifted, and new bone grafted in hurts. A lot really. I couldn’t be alone. At least not at first. And he, being my husband wouldn’t dream of leaving me to care for myself until he knows I am capable.
Fall has just come to the cove when I begin my recovery. The trees still have leaves on them and they are just beginning to turn. The weather is still pleasantly warm. There was a gentle breeze off the water and I spend the first six weeks of my recovery resting on the front porch with my leg up as the doctor ordered.
I watch the pelicans and ducks play across the cove chasing shad and each other back and forth every morning before settling in together. The cows from across the way come down for their morning drink and some mornings, if I am really still, deer come down as well.
In six weeks, I read four books, write five chapters of my own book, play banjo till my fingers bleed, and watch the leaves turn from green to bright yellow and then fall away, leaving my trees barren against the sky. Geese come and go their migratory way. So do the monarch.
A full season comes and goes. I witness all of it. Unhurried. No deadlines. No boundaries. No striving. No fear. Just being present as summer takes its last breath and fall prepares a covering for winter’s slumber.
Caught now in winter with Christmas behind me and full recovery only weeks away, I miss my front porch. The tightness in my chest is returning. I find myself planning my next bike ride, my next horseback ride, my next comedy show, my next banjo lesson. Everything that I think defines me is just out of my reach.
My thoughts, fears and worries that I left behind sometimes sneak out from under my bed while I’m asleep and scare me awake.
“You’ll never ride with the Diva’s. You’re a full season behind. They started training last year. You can’t keep up.”
“What if you fall off the horse? You’ll break your leg again, worse than it was before. What then?”
“Your banjo teacher will never take you back you know. His schedule is probably full. Besides, even if it isn’t, do you honestly think all of that time you spent practicing will be enough?”
“Do you really think people will remember you after taking six months off? There are plenty of comics in Tulsa who’ve been gaining a ton of stage time while you are gone. No one will remember you. You’re rusty now.”
“And what about that book you are writing? I mean seriously who are you kidding?”
If I’m being honest, sometimes I give in to the fears. I get up and go downstairs, pour myself a drink and light a cigarette in my garage and let them have their way with me.
Other times, I close my eyes and remember that summer ended, fall bloomed and passed, birds played, cattle lowed, coyotes yipped, wolves howled at the moon, (yes there are wolves in my cove) pelicans fished, and the monarchs continued on their way all while I sat as nothing more than a witness on my porch. And it was enough.
How often can we say that?
Come what ever may be as the result of my hiatus, life will continue with or without my help.
Perhaps I should follow winter’s example. The world is asleep. Spring is three months away. I’m only half way through my hiatus. I have time.
Now is not the time to let fear whisper to me like a thief in the night.
I have another season to bear witness to, Winter has lessons to teach but only if I’m willing to learn. It too will come and pass without my striving.
Another season without riding, without horses, without music lessons, without running the show – only me as a witness, nothing more, nothing less – a chance to rest and learn that even without my trappings, I am enough. May it be so.