Week#4 and what you notice from 1 leg

Week 4 of this process and it was my most frustrating. I am ready to be myself again. During this week we had firewood delivered (that I could not help stack and move) and a massive storm dumped over 2 feet of snow, that I could not help shovel. It is a feeling of worthlessness that I never want to go through again.

Every bump, stick, and stone was a death trap -Trying to help out at an event

My dad spent the past few years of his life as a double amputee and wheel chair bound. I always knew how much it bothered him, but never really knew what it was like until I had this surgery on my leg. Here are some things I noticed while cruising around on my scooter.

  1. Handicap accessible is a thing – but things are not equal. The movie seats in the theatre are the ones no one wants. The doors to the restaurant are sometimes around the back. The public bathroom you go in to might have some drunk guy in the handicap stall pissing all over everything and making it impossible for you to cleanly use it. Examples of this are everywhere.
  2. You feel like a burden. Everything you used to do that you can’t makes you feel like a burden. I began crawling up and down the stairs and dragging the scooter with me because it felt like a burden to ask Sheila to bring it up and down everyday. This also meant when you want something from another room, you often just ignore it because asking feels worse than anything. In the short term this happened, I can’t imagine the feeling of this over a lifetime. We lost power and I needed to do something. I chopped firewood from the scooter, but couldn’t carry the pieces into the house. This felt like I was only capable of half of the work which made Sheila pick up the slack. Not a fun feeling.
  3. You sense other peoples frustrations a lot more often. When you need someone to do something for you, you feel their frustration. If I want someone to do something I would normally do I can feel the frustration. If you need the simplest thing like “Can you carry this plate” and you know all they want to do is sit down and eat, you can sense that. If you used to just walk away, or go do something to keep out of an argument you lose that ability. For me that is often cleaning, shoveling, yard work. All things I was limited on so I could feel an increase in that sense of frustration. I was unable a few times to not lose my cool over the sense of frustration of others. That feeling sucks.
  4. The world is built for fully ambulatory people. Sort of like point 1, but this is even more so. Everything is built for people who can walk. Grocery shopping, fixing things, houses, driving, the gym. All of these places are designed by, and for people who walk around on 2 legs. Even with the scooter and the ability to do more than most this was terrifyingly obvious.
  5. I am not sure how older or out of shape people could do this. I am in good shape. I am strong. I can hop up and down stairs on one leg. I can carry my scooter around and over things. I can squat on one leg to use the toilet and do a sit up to get out of the couch with no issues.  I watched my parents struggle as my father became an amputee and then a double amputee so I have seen it up front, but being the person who had to be on one leg and see first hand from that side of things really made me realize just how hard this process is for those who are elderly or out of shape. It’s been a motivator to stay strong and get in better shape than I am now as I age.
  6. The “at least” crowd gets very vocal. I am 100% sure it comes from a place of caring, but the “at least” crowd chimes in. I am a runner, and an outdoorsmen, that is what my life is based around. The “at least you can….” Fill in the blank happened more times than I can count. The world needs to learn empathy vs sympathy. It’s ok for someone to upset about something, saying “at least” feel like you are saying “you shouldn’t be upset because you can do something else” (even if you don’t want to) Here, this should help the “At least” crowd get it a bit more
  7. It makes going to friends houses something that you need to plan out. Will the scooter leave marks on their new floor? Is the bathroom somewhere you can fit with the busted leg. Is getting in and out easy or a pain in the ass? You have to think about these things.
  8. If you fall – and chances are you will. It will hurt, it will be embarrassing, and it will make you not want to go out again for fear of falling. Enough said
  9. Being on the outside looking in is an odd feeling. Your mind feels like you should still be invited to runs, that people will still want you to climb mountains with them, that the photos of everyone really are as fun as they look. You literally forget that you are injured and feel left out when you notice really cool things going on around you. Then you get resentful, and sometimes even angry. It’s an odd feeling and not one I would want to be with for long
  10. You notice people looking at you a lot more. It’s not in a bad way, it’s just in a “you stand out” kind of way. People in wheel chairs and other mobility devices must feel this all the time. It’s exhausting.
  11. Things take longer. From going to the bathroom to getting dressed, you have to plan. There was a snowstorm this week. Before it even hit Sheila and I had talked about how early I would get up to be ready to get out because we know we have to leave early for work when the weather is bad. This meant extra extra early for me.
  12. Bad weather is enough to make you stay home. You can’t step over a snow bank or walk “carefully” across some patchy ice. You can’t brace against the wind or hurry out of the rain. It’s easier to send people on their two legged way and wait it out at home
  13. You find out who will really be there. Who reached out? Who showed up unannounced to do some things? Who heard about damage after a storm and came to your house to help knowing you could not do it yourself. Who was just generally welcoming to you regardless and still invited you places. To end on a positive, it’s a nice feeling knowing that you have these people and reminds you to be on the lookout to do the same for others in the future.

So the cast comes off tomorrow at 1pm…. Finally. Into the boot at that point. WBAT is the term now (weight bearing as tolerated) PT starts on Monday and the process to get back in shape starts next week when the team at 4-Performance created a new workout for me to get at the weights while I am still not able to do much else.

So here we go – Time to move forward!

One thought on “Week#4 and what you notice from 1 leg

  1. Pingback: 3 years – Emerging Trail

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