Best Laid Plans

By: Anne Corke

Jul 14 2017


Category: Life stories, Rants


Focal Length:42.417mm
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Camera:Canon PowerShot SX10 IS

This March, as most people who live in this northern clime do, I was eagerly awaiting the fine weather and all the activities associated with it. I was also awaiting knee surgery which was booked for the first week in April. Alas my plans would come to naught as I stumbled and fell while out walking the dogs and broke my hip. My surgeon chose to perform a ‘gamma nail’ repair of my badly broken and displaced femur rather than a hip replacement. So here I am into my fourth month of recovery, still tottering around with a walker, hoping for a full recovery by the end of the sixth month (as promised by my surgeon). The tumble brought me down to earth in both a literal and a figurative fashion. All those plans, well, they flew right out the window.

I am extremely lucky to have my wonderful son and daughter-in-law living close by. The two of them immediately moved in to my house to look after me and the dogs. My daughter-in-law volunteered to take the whole month of April off to help me through the worst of the situation – bless her. In May, my sister came to care for me and give them a much-needed break. I honestly don’t know how I would ever have managed without my family and my close friends to support me. I’m sure they are all as sick of me as I am of myself. I am on my own most of the time now though still hampered by stiffness and pain, both in the operated hip and the knee which should have been replaced. I am not a patient patient and occasionally the air turns blue as I try to dodge dog toys with the walker or struggle to manouevre in the kitchen. Progress is slow but my temper is quick!

I’m not sure what is worse, the total (hopefully temporary) dependency on others, the fear that you may never be independent again, or the isolation that comes with being laid up at home.

It’s a rude awakening to become dependent on family and friends for the most basic of needs: meals, bathroom trips, getting in and out of bed, dressing, washing, attending appointments, and on and on. There is nothing quite so humbling as having to ask for help to wipe your behind. And of course, there’s always the fear that you may never completely recover, that you might have to leave your home, give up your pets, give up your independence forever. The immediate fear is the fear that you may lose your balance and fall again – which I have done. Fortunately I didn’t hurt myself. Meanwhile you struggle with your isolation since you can’t get out and about by yourself. I can get out the front door now and down the ramp to the yard but I can’t yet get down the deck stairs. My world is so very small. All the places I would normally go are off limits for the moment. How I miss taking the dogs to the park for a nice long walk, driving the backroads camera in lap, hitting the highway on a road trip to visit my sister, wandering around my gardens to see what’s in bloom today, cheering on my Reds with Jeremy at BMO Field, and all the little ordinary things that we take for granted like picking up a few groceries or gassing up the car. And with the isolation comes an abundance of time to contemplate your navel. Too much time to think is never a good thing. You are suddenly aware that the world has gone on without you. Everyone is getting on with their life while yours is on hold. You wait for the phone to ring or a new email to appear to let you know that someone is thinking of you, that you haven’t been forgotten. The minutes seem to crawl by though the summer is flying past.

Days are long, lonely and boring when you are confined to your own home, unable to get out and about. If it weren’t for the dogs, I think I would go stark raving mad. Perhaps I already have. I’ve taken to reading aloud to them and the other night we had a sing-a-long. But the worst part of this whole experience is the feeling of utter uselessness. Not only am I pretty useless to myself but also to my family and friends. I miss being able to contribute to their lives in my own small way. Of course as I get older, the type of help that I am able to provide may change, but there’s always something I can do. I only hope that once I am recovered I can pay back some of the kindnesses shown to me by my amazing ‘support group’. Love you all.

P.S. I managed to bake Jeremy a scratch birthday cake yesterday. So proud of myself!

Copyright 2017 Anne Corke

3 comments on “Best Laid Plans”

  1. Anne you describe not only your situation but also my own so well that I’m amazed. I send you my best wishes. Pls know that I understand and wish you well.

  2. Thanks Cynthia. It’s been a trying time but as my dear old Mum used to say “This too shall pass.” We shall persevere!

  3. Well said, Anne.. I can understand your feelings of uselessness , isolation, etc.

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