... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Happiest Bad News

Well, it's official: I broke my foot. According to the orthopedist, I have two broken metatarsals (3rd and 4th) as well as a sprained ankle. Oddly enough, this could not have been better news. There is no displacement in the bones, no midfoot or arch involvement, and thus no surgery necessary.

I have been saddled up with this nifty boot (and I thought that my EarBandits were fashionable!) and have been learning to hobble around on it with some level of grace. Okay, there is no grace involved. I am just relieved to be able to move -- even if only very slowly -- without crutches, which are much more cumbersome than I had previously imagined.

Problems with crutches:
1. Carrying anything liquid is freaking impossible. I drink a lot of tea, and I burned my hand and completely soaked my floor a lot of times trying to make it from the kitchen to the couch.
2. Your underarms and hands get really sore. Everyone makes it look like bearing all of your weight on your hands and underarms is easy. It is not. Hauling my ass around like that left bruises that made each step painful and unpleasant. I think this is supposed to be a secret, because I've never heard anyone talk about it. I guess I'm breaking the crutch code.
3. Cooking becomes the most frustrating project ever. Trying to balance on one leg and reach far enough to grab things from the fridge, stove, and sink quickly deteriorates into knocking over crutches, spilling and dropping food, and swearing at the top of your lungs.
4. Everyday housework is just a joke. Vacuuming, sweeping, and scrubbing the bathroom result in dripping sweat and spasming calf muscles. Leaning over repeatedly makes your hamstrings feel like they are burning up and you will drop whatever it is you need at least five times. Like cooking, it quickly deteriorates into swearing and throwing things. Doing laundry, however, tops it all. After trying to hold all of the clothes and the measuring cup of detergent in my arms while hopping on one foot outside to the washer, I ended up sitting on the ground crying in frustration, surrounded by a trail of wayward socks and covered in powdered detergent. After this initial failure I managed to carry our bedsheets outside by wrapping them around my shoulders, neck, and head. Not chic, but it worked.

For these reasons, I love my boot. I can't take full steps by any means and it takes me about a year to walk from one end of our tiny house to the other, but I can use my hands if I need them. Talk about luxury. My foot is fully immobilized which had made it much less painful.

I was told that I will have to wear the boot for about 5 weeks (6 weeks healing time total) after which I will start doing rehab. I am allowed to bike in the boot whenever I feel comfortable. I managed to swim in the ocean for the first time yesterday -- not necessarily doctor-kosher but I made absolutely sure not to kick at all with either foot. I wrapped the foot and used crutches to get down to the beach, crutched down to the water line, then Sean was kind enough to carry the crutches back to our towels as I awkwardly hopped into the water, dodging breaking waves and trying not to get knocked over.

Note: It is really, really difficult to swim without any leg motion because they quickly sink and pull your entire body downward. The only solution I found was to hold my breath as much as possible and use my abs to keep my back slightly arched, pulling my legs up toward the surface. Not ideal swimming form, but at least I can keep my arms in shape. I am thinking that with a flotation device held between my ankles to keep my legs up (and still) I should be able to get a decent workout. Just moving freely in the water felt amazing after a week and a half of heavy, uncomfortable hopping.

Basically, I'm getting adjusted to this new state of being. I know that I will be frustrated with the steps backward in my training, but for now I am just grateful to be able to move around. I can carry my dinner from the kitchen to the table. I can go outside. I can drink my tea while curled up on the couch, reading. I can cook without dropping half the food on the floor, and I can feel weightless as the ocean rocks my body back and forth. I know that when the time comes, I'll be ready to face the challenge of rehab.

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