Life Jim, but not as we know it…

I think my brain is still in shock, never mind my body.  This is my first day on my own and I am motivated to do… nothing! Children at school, husband in Ireland for the day, sister back in Manchester, Grandma arriving tonight.  I have a work mountain, a laundry mountain (it has finally stopped raining) and probably several other mountains but somehow, with the difficulty of doing even those simple tasks like making a coffee, getting comfortable to read a book or reaching the remote control that the kids have put just out of reach of my crutches, the urgency seems to have gone from life.  So, in an effort not to feel sorry for myself, and to start to re-introduce some structure to my life, I thought I’d make some lists.

So here goes…

Things I can’t do

  • Get a cup of coffee from the kitchen to… well, anywhere else in the house.  (Not entirely true: the OT at the hospital told me to get a shoulder bag and flask).
  • Have a shower.  At least, not until a seat for the bath arrives.  But the wonderful shower in our new bathroom (and no, it’s not quite finished, since you asked) has allowed me to wash my hair at the basin.
  • Sit at a microscope with my foot raised. Or my foot down, come to that.  Maybe next week.
  • Get up & down from a microscope at will, to reach the various books, specimens etc. I need. 
  • Swim.  No way round that one.
  • Run.  Or that one.  But GP2 did comment that I’m getting faster on my crutches.
  • Cycle.  Mmm.
  • Dive.  Never mind my ankle, the ambulance cut me out of my dry suit and the hospital out of my undersuit.  Must check out my insurance.
  • Get downstairs to the front door before whoever’s rung the bell has given up and gone.  Mind you, that’s tricky, even when I can run.
  • Coach on poolside on crutches.  Or even go on poolside on crutches.  Slipping on a soapy floor doesn’t bear thinking of! I might investigate whether the pool has a wheelchair. 
  • Put up a moment longer with that dripping gutter outside the bedroom window.  But I can phone the roofer.
  • Drive.  Frustrating, but suddenly, released from my primary role as chauffeur, I have 6 weeks of free evenings stretching out in front of me.  Think of all the things I could do.  I’ve never seen television at 6pm before.  Trouble is, the evenings follow on from free days and I certainly can’t hack that much TV. 
  • Spring lightly from rock to rock like a young gazelle across a slippy, slidy, seaweed-covered, ankle-wrenching rocky shore.  OK, so ‘young’ and ‘gazelle’ aren’t terms that have applied to me in recent years, if ever.  Although I suppose I was young once, as they say.   However, I have had to cancel all the immediate fieldwork and the big question is – will I be fit to do 2 weeks in Shetland at the start of August?  Jury’s out on that one.

Things I can do:

  • Nag.
  • Give out instructions to all within earshot, mainly reluctant children.
  • Use the telephone.
  • Use 2 arms and 1 leg.
  • Wiggle my toes.  Even though I currently can’t feel all of them, spent Tuesday back in A&E having my cast split open and have to go back this afternoon to the clinic.
  • Blog, apparently, even though sitting at the PC for more than a few minutes is pretty uncomfortable just now.
  • I did manage to cook dinner last night.
  • Read, as long as it’s only inconsequential.  I did manage to read “Blood in the Water” in hospital, a novel by a local author.  I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy it much – I found the writing very stilted – but that may have had more to do with the fact that I read every paragraph at least 4 times, such was my morphine-induced concentration span.  I’m into Jodi Piccoult now, much more attention-grabbing.

Things I might be able to do:

  • The 3 legged race at Sports Day.  On my own.  “Noooo!” they shouted, as soon as the suggestion that I might turn up for Sports Day, let alone take part, popped out.
  • Clean my bedroom.  Cleaning has suddenly moved up my list of priorities.
  • Sit at a microscope – maybe next week.

10 thoughts on “Life Jim, but not as we know it…

  1. I had a nasty break of my leg & ankle a few years ago which resulted in missing almost all of the summer term. So, I completely empathise with your predicament. I found it so weird not being able to make a coffee and take it to the living room!!

    I ended up watching lots of tv and reading lots of books.

  2. Hi Fearghal. I feel much better having been up to the fracture clinic – in and out in 15 minutes – and chatted to a woman about my age whose husband lost his leg in an accident on the M8 last year. I got the full life story – she’s from Greenock, has 7 sons and 1 and 8/9ths grandchildren and artificial legs cost £22,000 each. The perspective from those sorts of stories suddenly makes me feel that perhaps I can suddenly leap across rocky shores. Maybe tomorrow.

  3. Sorry to hear of your accident, Christine. It’s funny, I spent 12 weeks on crutches in ’98 with a broken ankle and the thing I recall most is the phenomnon of drinking coffee beside the kettle. Week 1 was quite positive – improving books and a serious attempt to improve my chess. By week 3, I had descended into the horrific landscape of daytime TV. That, combined with the lack of endorphins from being so still is a recipe I’d ancourage all to avoid! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  4. I know where your coming from gpm. A guy opposit me in hospital lost a leg. He was a kiwi guy travelling and got hit by a bus. I fell 30/40ft off a cliff onto rocks! So, I tried as much as possible to remember how lucky I was. It wasn’t a bad term – breakfast, bath, lunch, reading in the garden, dinner. It could have been worse – I could’ve been in school!

  5. Onnly saving grace is that GP2 has managed to get the digibox working and the French Open is on… and Wimbledon is on the horizon! Trouble is, it was raining in Paris yesterday as well as East Lothian

  6. How did you manage the bath? I’m waiting for a seat for the shower. But thinking about it, if I’d broken the other leg, I could have a bath with my foot dangling out. Note to self: next time, break left leg.

  7. You have GOT to get yourself a limbo:

    They are absolutely BRILLIANT. It’s basically a drybag with a neoprene/latex seal – it doesn’t matter which leg it is! I didn’t have a choice as we only had a shower over the bath so there was no way of having a shower. It was very nice having a nice long bath when I couldn’t do much anyway. It also stopped me watching tv.

  8. Oh wow! COuld I go swimming with one of those?! Our shower is over the bath but they’re getting me a seat that fits across the bath.

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