Actually, I have never enjoyed running that much anyway! In my previous blog, Take These Broken Wings and Learn To Fly Again..., I described the accident several years ago in which I broke both my legs, and my long slow recovery. It took about 3 years for my legs to completely heal: I was on two crutches for about 10 months, and then I went down to one crutch, on my right-hand side so it supported my left leg. This was the worst leg, in that it had 2 breaks in it, thigh and knee, whereas the other had one. The physiotherapists at the hospital showed me that you use the crutch or stick on the opposite side to support your bad leg, which I had not realised before!
Even when I came off the crutches, I still experienced quite a lot of pain for a while, and walked with a rolling gait (a Trellenberg gait I believe it is called); my doctor joked that a looked like a seaman, a real Jack Tar! (Presumably sailors walk in that way, rolling from side to side, because their legs have adapted to the motion of the ship). It was quite undignified and unladylike! I had a number of follow-up appointments at the hospital Fracture Clinic and with outpatient physiotherapists department. I hated the physio exercises, which were really dull, but they had to be done. I had to do a lot of them in hospital, even when I was bed-bound and completely unable to walk, to stop the muscles from wasting away completely; one of the physiotherapists told me that the muscles start shrinking after only about 24 hours of complete inactivity. I did the exercises diligently every day, as instructed, so I don't think I had much muscle loss, but I was still surprised and how painful and weak they were when I came to stand up and put weight on them again.
It was hard coming out of hospital, because I lived on my own, in a flat that was about the worst it could possibly be for someone with leg problems; it had a lot of stairs! You had to go up a flight of stairs to the first landing with the bathroom and bedroom, then another very steep flight of stairs to the upper floor which housed the sitting-room and kitchen. The first couple of weeks were horrendous, trying to manage the stairs on crutches (although the physios had taught me to do this at the hospital) but then it got easier, and I think actually all the stairs helped to build up my legs, tough as it was initially.
The physiotherapists were keen for me to get rid of the crutches as soon as possible, as they thought I might become too dependent on them, use them for longer than strictly necessary. I am sure there is a temptation for people to do that - your walking aid becomes more of a psychological crutch than a purely physical one. After dispensing with my one crutch, I still walked with a limp for a while, which took some months to go. Even today, if I have to be on my feet for a long period of time, or using a lot of stairs, my legs can still become painful and I get the limp back a bit. I am not exactly disabled now though, but I still have to be a bit careful and protective of my legs.
I have some scars from the operations which will no doubt always be there, but they have faded quite a lot, so they are not very noticeable, and they don't bother me particularly now. Sometimes I just feel a bit conscious of them when I am on the beach in a swimsuit, for example. Other than that they don't affect my quality of life. If ever I think how I wish I didn't have scars or wish my legs hadn't been broken, I think of the alternative, that I could have ended up permanently paralysed, and that gives me a reality check. The scar on my left knee looks like a horse-shoe on its side, so that is my talisman, reminds me that really I am a lucky lady!
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Your votes and comments are appreciated.
The picture shows me about a year after the accident