Sunday, February 27, 2011

What I've Learned from a Chair With Wheels and Crutches

The whole thought of having two metatarsals sawed off and re-screwed down was not appealing. But neither was hobbling in pain on one foot day in and out. According to my new podiatrist, two bones have grown too long, dropped below the fatty pad of my foot and consequently rubbed a callous on the bottom of my foot. My livelihood stands on my feet and so do most things I enjoy. No choice here.

With that said, I was mentally prepared for the possibility of pain. I was not and am not mentally prepared for viewing the world from wheels on a chair or from crutches. It has been a dismal and frustrating perspective.

I have a new found empathy and respect for those wheelchair/crutch bound. It doesn't matter how much you mentally want to do something, if your body won't allow, it just won't allow. Wishes don't count.

Here's a short list of a few other things I've learned:

You have to eat like a bird or be as large as a barge. Physical restraint leads to weight gain. I've done my own physical therapy (yoga and massage), and it does little to elevate my heart rate to a fat burning level.

Organization is key. Most things I reach for are at the other end of the house or two inches beyond my grasp. This experience gives new impetus to get my house in order. Extra steps means extra time and extra energy. In fact, I think there should be whole new branch of organization created; "What Would I Do if I Were in a Wheelchair" philosophy?

I have new goggles for viewing those I meet who are overweight and with physical limitations. It is a situation that takes no prisoners. It's viscous. And someone with the know-how needs to reach out to these folks with a few physical conditioning/training options, if any exist.

I will never underestimate the power of friendship and empathy. My friends have helped me through this: subbing in my classes, grading papers while I am under the influence of pain meds, preparing food, phoning for foot checks, bringing food, sending pizza cash for my big boys, or just being there with an sympathetic ear.

Certainly not least on my short list, is the shame I feel for not being there for my own friends and family when they were in similar situations. My philosophy: someone else is better at this "caring thing" than I am. Let them do it. Shame on me. Every drop of care in the bucket counts.

With that being said, I stand grateful for the long arm of friendship and grateful for the perspective this experience has given. And even after I am once again standing on two feet, I stand thankful for so much.

No comments: