The State of Things; or a Broken Hip is a Pain in the Ass
A few months ago, I wrote how I was going for silent for a little while because I was writing a book. Specifically, I was editing my master’s thesis on Renaissance occult philosophy (not light reading) for publication, which will hopefully happen next spring. And then I went largely silent for two months.
The good news is I got the manuscript done.
The bad news is just a couple days after I posted that, I had a bicycling accident. It involved raptors. And nuns. Very messy.
Or it involved my toe clips refusing to disengage and my bike toppling over when I attempted to stop.
Nope, it was totally raptors.
Every cyclist does this fall a couple times. I’ve done it before. Nothing hurt beyond my pride. This time, however, I somehow managed to break two bones.
My fibromyalgia causes me to experience pain differently than other people. I’ve always feared ignoring a serious problem because I ignored the pain as being fibro. My doctor has encouraged me with the fact that an injury will likely be a sharp, distinct pain, while fibro is a much more general pain.
So I hit the ground, and my fibro did what it always does: my entire body lights up as my brain flails its arms shouting “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!” This commonly happens for about 15 seconds, during which time I make what one friend has termed “fibro face.” It scares the crap out of people.
Two bystanders immediately asked if I was ok. I knew I would say “yes” and they would disbelieve me, as they always do.
I was totally planning on saying “yes.”
My mouth said “no.”
Somehow, my subconscious knew I was in trouble before I did.
I had, in fact, broken both my rip hip and my right arm. The arm was not that big of a deal in and of itself. It wasn’t put into a cast, although I wasn’t allowed to bear weight on it. I could still type with it, although my handwriting was atrocious. However, it significantly complicated dealing with my hip, which needed surgery.
I had to stay off the hip for five weeks. Crutches are moderately annoying but not that big of a deal, right? Oh, right, broken arm. So I get five weeks using a walker with an arm sling attachment.
BTW, you know what my walker and Governor Walker have in common? They’re both bought and paid for. But I digress.
You know what you can’t do in a walker? Use stairs, unless they’re deep enough to handle the walker, which almost none are. We (read: my husband, Jerry) built out the stair in the garage with concrete blocks so I could just barely get in and out of the house. Going up was the worst: I had to essentially stand on one leg, lift the awkwardly sized walker, and then half-hop, half-drag myself up, with every sudden movement jostling my bad hip.
You know what’s the difference between my walker and Governor Walker? My walker supports me.
Going backwards was nearly impossible. That meant I couldn’t open doors…which meant I couldn’t close doors that needed to be opened again…like the one to the bathroom.
I couldn’t open the refrigerator, and even if I could, I couldn’t carry anything while working the walker. Every morning, Jerry made me breakfast, then packed food and drinks in a cooler at the kitchen table so I could eat while he was at work.
Think about that for a second: without someone’s assistance, I couldn’t eat, even though food was mere feet away. It was an interesting revelation.
For the first week, friends took turns staying with me because we didn’t trust leaving me alone. Then we had the bad luck of Jerry needing to go away for a trade show. A friend stayed for the first night, then my father came in from out-of-state.
My husband had to take over all of my chores, including cooking. That got interesting.
I couldn’t stand at the sink to brush my teeth. I did it at the dining room table. I also couldn’t throw out my glass of dirty water when I was done, so Jerry had to do it. Ick.
I couldn’t leave the house without supervision, because of the dangers of going up and down that single stair.
I couldn’t drive.
I couldn’t put on socks.
I couldn’t stand up from overly low chairs.
Or from toilets. We installed risers on ours, which are a great invention. I’m not sure I’m ever taking them off. Why the hell are toilets so short? Who thought bucket height was a good level for toilets now that we aren’t using literal buckets?
Or from a bathtub. We installed a bath bench.
And certainly not from the floor. If I ever slipped, I would most definitely be saying “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” Followed, no doubt, by a lot of swearing. When I was alone I was supposed to always have my phone on me, just in case. And I had phone numbers of neighbors.
Without friends and family, I have absolutely no idea how I would have coped. Absolutely none. If you don’t think I have thanked you enough, consider this another thank you.
Where Did the Time Go?
At least I’ll have lots of time to write, I thought. I’d get more freelance work, I’d write a bunch of blog posts, so on and so forth. In fact, I got almost nothing done.
Turns out, healing is really hard work. I was sleeping 12 hours a day and was often still tired when awake. (I also lost 6 pounds in five weeks, even though I was barely moving, much less exercising.) My concentration was shot. It was laborious to complete the few professional commitments I already had. On top of which, I just couldn’t sit in the chair in the study for long periods of time. It wasn’t acutely uncomfortable, but something about it just didn’t work.
So I was left with watching TV. I would have re-watched Farscape (again) except I couldn’t change DVDs in the player. I couldn’t even reach where it normally rests. I was desperate enough I tried watching The Last Airbender (although I only made it about 20 minutes) and The Avengers (no, not the superhero movie. That movie). I looked forward to when my daily dose of Law & Order: SVU re-runs played.
Thank goodness I don’t hold a traditional job. There’s no way I would have been able to perform it, even if it was a desk job.
Where I Am Now
After five weeks with the walker, I was able to graduate to a cane, and after a couple more days, I was allowed to move freely if able. In truth, I ended up using the cane for about three weeks to varying degrees.
A couple weeks ago was GenCon. That’s a ton of walking in comparison to just puttering around the house. I did pretty good Thursday and Friday, but by Saturday evening it started to wear, and by Sunday I knew I was done. Then I had to deal with the consequences for the next week.
I still limp, at least sometimes. That should eventually go away.
Eleven weeks later, I am still sleeping propped up on the couch. Something in the way I sleep in a bed just doesn’t work.
I tried biking last week, and I couldn’t…because I can’t swing my leg high enough to actually get onto the bike. That worries me a little, but I’m probably overreacting. There’s been a lot of overreactive fears throughout the ordeal. Will I ever get off the cane? Will I stop limping? Will it stop hurting? Why can’t I sleep in a *%&%ing bed like a normal person? The doctor expects a full recovery, and absolutely nothing has suggested I won’t. I’ve followed an ideal timetable so far.
And just as this drama comes to a close, I face a new one: my fibromyalgia.
I am astounded it didn’t flare up earlier. I control it with two things: medication and exercise. I continued with the medication, but exercise was impossible.
I made it ten weeks before it reared its ugly head. For me, it’s painful, causes weakness, and causes spasms. The pain is enough to keep me awake, and the spasms are completely debilitating.
So now I have to exercise, and biking just isn’t in the cards. I’ve started doing 30-minute walks. It’s kind of a power-walk in slow motion. Today I went to the gym, which I absolutely hate, but I suspect just walking isn’t going to cut it. And I did pretty good. 20 minutes on a stationary bike at reasonable speed. Ten minutes of weight machines, on which I was passable in comparison to the last time I was there, which was March.
This should get the fibromyalgia back under control, although I don’t know how long it will take. We’ve also adjusted my medication, which I don’t like, but I’m going to have to suck up. I dislike flailing on the couch, too. Right now it’s one or the other.
Where does the blog go from here? I’m going to try posting at least once a week, which I was roughly doing before the accident. I have a weekly commitment to the Pandora Society, where I write about Doctor Who and history (and whatever geeky things I might be involved in). I repost some of that material here. I also have professional commitments. But, at this point, my life is starting to return to normal.