I am terrified to write this blog post. Why? I write every single day in a journal that I have been keeping since August 2015. Writing does not scare me and I have a lot to say. Procrastination is probably the reason behind the fear or maybe it is the other way around. The fear is uppermost in my mind.
Perhaps it is because I have not written a blog post since almost exactly one year ago. So much has happened in my life during that year. A great number of friends and relatives have passed away during that time. Some were old, as old as 100, and some were way too young to die. All of that loss makes me very grateful for my life.
And I am very mindful of my general good luck with my health because of an accident I had in January.
I fell and broke my leg at the ankle. It was just a silly accident, a misstep while trying to do something nice for someone else. However it set me on a course to be the “live in house manager” and entertainment supplier for my 99 year old mother. I had been living with her already, but now I moved in to a first floor bedroom with the knowledge that I could not leave at all for 3 months. Because I had surgery on my ankle my doctor forbad me to put any weight on my bad leg until he could remove a long screw that held the two bones in my leg together. That was rough. For 3 whole months, no weight on my foot ever. No walking cast. And there was a real fear that were I to inadvertently put weight on that leg I could cause the bones to fracture because of that screw. I got around in a wheel chair constructed of some very light metal. It could be slid around using just my one good foot and no need to be pushed. My favorite mode of transportation was on a knee scooter which was actually really fun. Becoming adept at using the tools available to “invalids“ these days, gave me a sense of accomplishment. It also gave me a healthy respect for those pioneers who forced “handicapped friendly” access all over this country. Because of those people I could go almost anywhere, including bathrooms.
When you are reduced to using a wheel chair or other vehicle like my scooter, to navigate the world, it is wonderful to discover that someone has thought of you ahead of time and made it possible. I became very comfortable with my “wheels” but also impatient as the time approached that I could put weight on my foot. It turned out to be a lot more complicated than I had thought. Today July 20th, I am still somewhat lame on my left leg. My ankle swells still, and there is pain in the muscle or ligaments sometimes. Mysterious unexplained pain. That makes me even more sympathetic to those who will forever be bound to chairs or other devices in order to move freely. It is true that gradually one adjusts to what can be done easily and what cannot. In some ways it is restful to know what your limitations are. Then you can deal with what is and leave the rest.
I found this to be true for myself. Before my accident I was constantly under a sort of tension about when I would leave my mother’s house to go home to my house in Charlottesville VA. The threat of being caught in rush hour which spans approximately 4 hours in the morning and another 4 every evening in the Washington DC area scared me into leaving early or late to avoid it. The tension underlying every day wore on me without my realizing that it colored everything.
Once I knew I must stay in one place, I resigned myself to it. It became relaxing and peaceful to have those worries taken from me. I became at peace with my enforced stay in Washington D.C. and to think of myself as a permanent resident. It seems reasonable to join local groups and try to enjoy the city which has become my home.
The Serenity Prayer is so helpful:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.