Rolling Without Limits

Your mobility may be limited. Your voice, boundless.

Don't Run Before You Can Walk!
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Don't Run Before You Can Walk!

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

Leave a Comment

  1. SignLanguage
    Glad you got over this. Sounds like it was terrible. All I have is a throbbing pain in my shoulder because I fell in the shower three months ago - almost four now - but it's just when I force it, like if I need to push or pick up something. This is by far worse! Voted!
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  2. Teresa Thomas
    Teresa Thomas
    vote #6. Wow! Sounds like you've had one whale of experience there. Hope that you get to feeling better. I'm about to write another one on here myself. I'm going to work on it first before posting it on here. Thanks for the vote and comment on my post about Was Going Back To Work, The Right Choice. I appreciate it. Take care.
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  3. pftsusan
    #7 You are blessed and I hope you are feeling better. I been through some real whopping injuries. My first major fracture occurred in my left foot in the military in 1980. Four months in a cast. Then six weeks in a jelly cast. Once done with the crutches, I was afraid to walk on it and learned how to walk again. It healed to be stronger that what it was.
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  4. Val85
    It's lovely to read your posts. I voted for both of them. I will admit that I can understand where you are coming from to a certain extent. However, I happen to think that none of us are broken, but more individually made than mass produced - if you catch my drift. You spoke in your article about the psychological crutches which people are tempted to use. I know that the last time I was hospitalized, the case worker that had been assigned to me was concerned that I live on my own in a metropolitan area where there aren't very many friends or family near by to assist me. However, I got along alright before, during, and after the hospital stay on my own. Now that I've read your experiences with your rehabilitation, my philosophical quandary is this: In the case of being individuals with disabilities, does the mass populous in western society provide too many psychological crutches for us - or too little?
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    1. Broken English
      Broken English
      Hi Val, thanks a lot for your vote and comment. That is a very good question - too many psychological crutches or too little? I don't know the answer to that. I suppose we all rely on them to a certain extent, even non-disabled people. .
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  5. Lil Nana
    Lil Nana
    #11 Thanks for sharing
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