Grab a cup of coffee if you’re interested, otherwise just move along…this post is a tad bit long.
To those who are interested…
73 days, 21 hours, 33 minutes, 23 seconds, 24. 25, 26, 27….ago, a freakish 30 seconds changed my life drastically. At approximately 6:50 a.m. on a cold, snowy morning, I slipped on an icy sidewalk while walking to my office at work, fell with my foot bent awkwardly underneath me, and broke my foot and compromised the tissue, tendons and ligaments near my toes. I remember thinking, “Wow, this isn’t good,” and then “Get a grip, Carol Ann, you’re tough, just walk it off.” I tried this approach, but soon realized things were just not okay.
All these many days later I’ve experienced a season where I’ve learned so much. I now have had my first MRI, my first broken bone, my first hard cast, my first season of having to be waited on
hand and foot and foot. This has been tricky for me. I’m a doer. I’m always busy. I much prefer helping others. I am not one to delight in looonnnggg hours of isolation. I…well, you get the picture.
Initially I threw quite an internal tantrum. How was I going to manage this? I literally had to have help getting up and down our stairs, in and out of my bed, in and out of the shower (humbling, to say the least), hobbling on crutches when I had to go out to Dr’s appts. All my meals had to be prepared for me (and I love to cook – but cooking with crutches on one foot, it just doesn’t work too well). My wardrobe changed from me caring about every coordinating layer to “what will fit over my cast” which eliminated nearly 80% of my usual options. I was resigned to spandex running capris, yoga pants and t-shirts and sweatshirts. I have about 3 rotating “recovery outfits” that fit the bill with some interesting reclaimed outfits that will suffice if I do have to venture out and about.
But, I am learning so much. I’m learning to let others help. To be gracious in accepting gifts. To be willing to (gasp) ask for help when I need it. I’m learning to keep my mouth shut and pray more, to let my attitude and my mind refocus on what is beneficial to others before I open my mouth and let what’s inside venture out. I’m learning to not live in fear of “what if’s” and “what might happen” but instead to accept and be content with what is happening. I am learning that progress is progress, even if it is in the small little flicker of a toe beginning to respond to my glaring at it, willing it to bend, during physical therapy. And, much like many things in life, I’m learning that there is no firm timeline or automatic steps to returning to full function of my foot. And, much like when I was pregnant and wondered what labor would be like…only to have many women share their war stories with me and freak me out completely…the same happens with this injury. “It took me 2 years and 5 surgeries before I walked normal again.” “Well, just know that things will never be the same, I still walk with a limp 10 years later.” The stories pour in from well-meaning folks, even strangers in the supermarket. I smile, and do what my mom always told me to do, respond with, “Oh, thanks so much for sharing that with me.” And then, quickly toss out the negative and hold on to the stories that fill my heart with hope.
I would be amiss if I didn’t at this point also recognize that I’ve learned again of the goodness of people’s hearts. I have so many friends and loved ones who have showered me with calls, texts, food, emails, cards and more. And I have the most amazing team of co-workers and a boss who have been so gracious in working with my situation to allow me to keep functioning as a part of the team by working remotely from home (also humbling since video conferencing has allowed my team to get to know the real Carol Ann more than I’d ever have been comfortable with before…with no make up, partial make up, hats and bandanas on my head, sloppy t-shirts, and, though I’ve tried to camoflouge it by throwing a solid colored blanket over my headboard, they’ve had to put up with me video conferencing from my bed as I’ve had to keep my foot elevated much of the past several months and it’s easiest to do so on my bed.)
So, though I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, I’m thankful for the experience that is teaching me so much. I’m learning deeper patience, discipline and the will to choose contentment and joy despite the circumstance. God is gracious. He continues to fill my heart with joy.
Now, there have been meltdowns, I mean, I’m as human as the next person. And they haven’t been polite, ladylike meltdowns, but the kind that leave me blithering and slobbering through sobs and wails of despair. Rob and my daughter Elise, who’ve had to provide me with the most care this season, have seen me at my worst…but we shall avoid sharing more about those times.
I have hope. I will recover. Even if it takes months, years, to return to normal, or a new normal is created, I will recover. Some don’t get that option, I am grateful.
Thanks to all who have shown so much support to me on this journey. One step at a time…literally!