Welcome back, friends!
The title is a pun, because, as you may not be at all surprised to hear if you know me well, I am starting this new year on crutches. That’s right, round four! This means I’m really, really, good at them, and now consider crutching at high speeds to be a marketable skill that I can (bonus!) put on my online dating profile.
This time, however, the crutching thing was actually planned, as opposed to a necessary way of healing a stress fracture I’d just spent a few months running on. And this time it is probably not even my own fault! I’ve had pain when running for the last few years, and this summer we finally figured out what the problem was. Basically, in my hip socket, my bone is shaped funny, and it was tearing up my cartilage when I ran. Solution: little arthroscopic surgery--shave down the bone, patch up the cartilage, badabing badaboom! Narcotics for days!
The timing of this surgery was great for a few reasons:
1. I’m on a break between semesters, so I could go home and be waited on hand and foot by my parents and siblings. I couldn’t carry anything, and I couldn’t get my own foot off or on the bed, or put on my shoes, or hook up my own ice machine, AKA I was basically worthless. Thus, I employed my siblings as wenches -- Boot Wench, Water Wench, Plate Wench, etc., etc. There is a lesson in here somewhere about learning to rely on other people, but really I just like getting to be bossy.
2. It was Christmas time, so I could act the part of Tiny Tim in all Christmas dinners, and I also came up with the snappy title of “My Cripple Christmas.”
3. I got a sweet black hip brace, along with a continuous motion machine. I stuck my leg in said machine and it moved my leg back and forth for me for four hours a day. AKA I was becoming more machine than man AKA I was BASICALLY Darth Vader, right?? How appropriate!
The first week of recovery passed pretty uneventfully, because I passed out every couple of hours. At the end of the week when I went the whole day without napping, my family made a big happy deal of it like I was four years old. I can’t blame them; this was a significant improvement over my first day home when I was falling asleep on my brother Sam as he was trying to walk me across the kitchen. My family was concerned because they thought I was blacking out, but I was all, “Dreamland here I come!”
(The only other humorous effect of the anesthesia was that apparently, after surgery, I kept asking my mom if the surgery had happened yet, and when she told me it had, did a little cheer for myself. I’m apparently pretty chipper when I’m drugged up.)
Now I’m free of the brace and almost done with crutches. This means lots of fun (sarcasm) physical therapy, but I am so excited to be able to run/do physical activity without pain that I don’t care.
Here are some profound lessons I learned through this experience:
1. Don’t be born with funny-shaped hip bones.
Really, that’s a dumb idea.
2. 30 Rock is funnier than I thought it was.
Four hours of that continuous motion machine meant I was exploring more of Netflix, and finally found episodes of 30 Rock that were funnier than the first few in the first season. This led to another very profound moment when the spoiled Tracy Jordan character is left alone and realizes he is thirsty. He yells, “Family! Who’s in charge of my thirst?!” This is comical because that was basically me, all week.
3. My family is awesome and patient and I would have starved to death without them.
I couldn’t get out of bed by myself, so I was completely reliant on them to get me up in the morning/after naps, and they only abandoned me twice! This forced me to use my cell phone to call my cousin to let me out of my cripple prison. But other than these two, possibly sue-able offenses, they were the best.
4. Being broken is much easier if you admit you’re broken.
There are two ways something like this could have gone. One way would involve me trying my hardest not to inconvenience anyone, and suffering in silence, and being passive aggressive, and cheating on my restrictions and therapy. This seems selfless, but is really no fun for anyone. The second way is to ask for help when you need it, accept that you are temporarily useless, and take advantage of the fact that you can ask siblings to fetch you Christmas cookies on a whim and have it be a totally legitimate request. I recommend the second method.
I hope your year did NOT start with broken appendages, but if that does happen sometime this year, you call me up. I’m a very good crutch instructor.
*Credit to Carol for suggesting the awesome title of this post :)