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Surgery Chronicles: Hazards Outside My Door

My recovery has been going well, and the better I've felt the more I've ventured out into the public. But the public I once knew is now full of hazards that have at times led to near falls, falls, panic, and an acute awareness of every inch of space around me—especially floors and doors. Crutching itself is not really difficult or scary; it's maneuvering through tight spaces, on unlevel ground, up and down steps, on water-spotted floors, and through weighted doors that makes it somewhat terrifying. Whereas I used to take my nieces to the bathroom in a restaurant, they now have to take me because I can't hold the door for myself. Other dangers while standing: pivoting, reaching, squatting down, leaning, getting up from a low chair—basically anything done standing on one foot except simply standing still, which gets tiring, too. I'm often grateful for the years of yoga classes I've had, which have undoubtedly helped my balance and made would-be falls into just near falls (oh, eagle pose, how I used to loathe you).

Another hazard I had not really considered until I was in the midst of it is rain (good thing I'm going through this in the Florida summer). I already have a fear of slippery surfaces when I have full use of my two feet, so add crutches into the mix and the wet ground looks like certain death to me. In order to get to a particular appointment, I had to crutch not only on the wet concrete but also on wet, sloping grass and five steep steps that led up to a porch before I could get to the front door. I've managed curbs and ledges just fine, but I had not needed to go up or down any actual stairs until yesterday. All I could do was take it one step at a time, plant my crutches down onto the surface, and use my full body strength to push straight up and step forward. I made it, but in those few moments I felt I was travailing the world's most dangerous obstacle, a silly thought in hindsight. The danger was not over, for, when I left the appointment, I had to go back down the stairs and through the wet grass to get into my Uber driver's car, but fortunately I had a "spotter" with me that time.

When I made it safely home and inside my front door, I did not want to leave again for a long time. Antsy pants be damned.

My safe space: flat, dry floors, minimal obstacles, no chance of rain.

If things go well at my next appointment tomorrow, I may not have to worry about the hazards of crutching for much longer. I'm hoping that, in addition to getting the dressing and stitches removed, I'll also be able to wean off the crutches and start putting weight on my foot while in the boot. A report will follow.


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