Well, that’s it, then. I’ve managed to survive six weeks of this thing.
By this time tomorrow, it should be off, I should have had some x-rays (which are going to show that all is well, at least with the talus bone itself), and I will presumably have had explained to me whatever physiotherapeutic regime I need to endure before I can get back to the autonomous mobility to which I am accustomed.
I am assuming—or more precisely hoping—that I will be able to walk pretty much straight off the bat, however slowly and awkwardly at first. That said, a simple eyeball assessment shows that my calf muscle has withered somewhat with six weeks of enforced inaction, and I suspect all the complex little bits and pieces in the foot itself are even more discombobulated (given they went through some pretty serious trauma before they got locked up in there).
One thing’s for sure: when it comes to motivation for getting myself shipshape once more, I have a surplus rather than a surfeit, which I’ll likely have to be mindful of. I’ve (kinda) accepted that I’m not going to be back on the climbing wall for a few weeks yet, but at the same time, getting back to that activity, so vital for my mental well-being, is a priority, and if I have to endure a few weeks of climbing low grades using only one leg, so be it. (At a guess, the biggest risk is dropping from height, given that’s what caused the fracture in the first place—so asking how soon the bone can be trusted to take a similar level of force to normal is going to be a priority for me.)
At the risk of being performatively worthy, after the manner of 1980s cartoon serials bluntly explaining their supposed moral content before the credits roll, this has been a genuinely eye-opening experience in at least two senses. First of all, the fragility of personal autonomy as a person who lives alone: if not for the unstinting support (both moral and logistical) of a good friend who’s been willing not just to do shopping runs on my behalf but spend time with me, I would be both physically and emotionally battered by this point. I think I could have coped without that support, but it would have been a pretty desperate struggle that left little time or energy for anything else; as it is, I’ve managed to keep working, albeit at less than full capacity… though that is still a greater capacity than I managed through most of January, so, y’know, onward and upward. (The gradual arrival of spring during my convalescence, and the psychic lift thus provided, should not be discounted in any assessment of this trend.)
The other thing is to do with suddenly being put in a position where empathy with the differently-able—which I like to think I’ve made an effort to develop over the last twenty years—moves beyond the merely intellectual. I hope I will never forget the way in which the landscape between, say, me and my nearest supermarket, transformed overnight from being less ten minutes of barely-noticed urban backdrop to stroll through while thinking about something else, to being closer to forty minutes of countless minor hazards and inconveniences against which to thump and stagger my awkward way.
There are many things one could use as an exemplar, but I think the one that occurred to me most often is the absence of public seating—and even that provided me with an opportunity to double-check my privilege. I mentioned this absence to a friend, and expressed my wonder at how older folk with walking frames and such cope with long distances; her response, somewhat paraphrased, was “yeah, you wanna try it when you’re pregnant, man”.
So yeah: some lessons learned, which I will do my best to not forget once I’m back on my feet, both literally and figuratively. The upside of those lessons should be a newfound appreciation of my normative mobility; I plan to make a lot more time for walking just for its own sake, because now I know what it’s like to not even have the option.