So – my week was going well – until Tuesday evening at around half past 11 at night.
I’d never really thought about legs before – how they work, and how they support you when walking around, going up or down steps, and how staying balanced isn’t really something I ever worry about – unless I’m out and it’s icy.
I have a visual impairment, and I’m used to finding different ways of doing things for which other people use their sight, but that doesn’t stop me expecting that other parts of my body just work as they are supposed to.
That is until I slipped over on the rug. I may have been rushing. There was nothing to trip over – I just wasn’t paying attention. My mind was somewhere else. It all happened really quickly and I found myself lying on my back on the floor with one leg twisted at an angle I didn’t know it could go, and incredible pain in my knee. So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t put any weight on the leg because the knee hurt so much. That’s kind of annoying when you want to go to bed, which is on the next flor up. Even more annoying when you do something stupid like that on the day that your partner goes away on a business trip!
The only good thing was that my head landed in the doorway and didn’t collide with the door frame or the wall.
But seriously! I never have accidents!
So, I dragged myself up the stairs like some kind of mechanical spider, but less graceful. Our stairs have lots of corners!
I found it easier to sit down and go up backwards, using my one good leg and my two hands. Getting undressed was a challenge. Looking for pain killers was a challenge because I couldn’t rely on the leg not to give way again and had to hold on to the radiator, the cupboard and the chair.
By the time I was ready to sleep, I decided I needed to go downstairs again for something, so the whole thing had to be repeated twice.
The next morning, I thought everything would be better, so I tried going down the stairs standing up, which was a mistake because the leg gave out halfway down. I could just about manage to go up stairs if I took my time, but for some reason, down was harder.
There was nothing to stop me working – I just sit at a desk all day for the main part – but it made me think about all the other things that I never even consider.
If I want something, I just get up and get it.
Now, until I can rely on the leg more, I can’t carry hot drinks. So I have to put the cup on my desk and carefully bring the kettle over, because it’s easier to carry that than the hot drink. Or drag a chair over to the drink-making area in the kitchen and drink coffee there. This was until I had the idea of using our old office chair, which was conveniently in the kitchen, for shifting hot drinks and food around as I sit on it. Result – dinner at the table like a civilised person!
I had to prepare food sitting down so I didn’t fall over. I can’t just leave things in random places, because going to fetch them would be a mission. I was 3 minutes late for my meeting on Wednesday morning because I couldn’t just dash up the stairs as I usually do.
I have also learned that:
- Office chairs are great for getting around on. Office chairs are also great for using as transport when you need your hands to move hot or heavy things!
- If you’re going to prepare food, sitting down at the kitchen counter helps, but then it’s too low and your arms ache! You’re constantly reaching up and across because there’s nowhere for your legs – particularly if you’re not very tall!
- There is a limit to how much you can stuff down and carry in your top to keep your hands free. Across-the-shoulder bags are better for this!
- Long dresses maybe aren’t the best for when you’re sliding up an down the stairs sitting down!
- Everything takes longer!
- The hardest rooms to negotiate are those with a big space in the middle and nothing to hold onto so that you don’t fall over.
- It’s good to know where basic things are, such as pain killers, so you don’t have to go hunting for them.
- If you use other arms and legs to compensate for one that you’ve hurt, they will ache the next day as well!
Today does feel a bit better, but I think this is going to take a while, and the worst thing I can do is overdo it and make it worse again. Patience isn’t my thing, but I’m going to have to ride this one out!
Some people who have blind children talk about the way that their kids are always having accidents. I never did, and as an adult I’ve been lucky too, especially as I’ve often done things like horse-riding, skiing, tandem cycling or canoeing.
Now it makes me think of what it must be like for people who have to think about this kind of thing all the time. Not in a pitying way – I’m sure if this were my life, I’d find strategies round the problems and get on with it. I’m also not comparing my problems to theirs, because in a few days I’ll probably be fine. It’s just all the little steps that I’m having to plan and think of now, that I don’t even give a second thought to usually. It makes me appreciate what I have.
It’s made me stop taking my legs for granted, and the way that they just carry me wherever I want to go, and usually hold me up without collapsing. It made me grateful for the fact that so many things, even the things inside of our bodies, just work – and we only really notice them when something isn’t right.
I’m sure it’s just a sprain and if I don’t overdo it, it’ll be back to normal soon.
Till then I’ll be appreciating every cup of coffee that little bit more because of the mission it’s taken me to get it.
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