Saturday, 28 November 2009

A bit of a fiasco

The sun may be shining now, but at 8.30 this morning it was dark grey skies and showers of ice-like rain... definitely a gloves, thick socks, coat, scarf and blanket day. And so I set forth looking like a Yeti and made the short journey into town.

I had my coffee but not before almost crashing on to my backside as the wet surface of the rubber pad on the end of one of my crutches slipped and I took my full weight on my bad led and felt a muscle pull or sprain. It was one of those heavy landings where your knee flexes in exactly the opposite direction it's supposed too. The pain was excruciating.

So, back into the wheelchair and off to the bank to sort out a long overdue matter and then I picked up some spectacles that were ready for me. It was then I noticed that one of the wheelchair tyres had gone flat. Frankly that was about all I could take. We headed back for the car in the stinging rain while all around me people walked casually by without even thinking about putting one foot in front of the other. From my lower vantage point even children looked tall, and though it may sound strange, everything felt so intimidating.

I have to say it was one of the lowest points of the past year. I simply couldn't cope with the bustling Christmas crowds and was just happy to be heading back home to put up my aching limb and take a shot of Oramorph for the pain in my back and leg. As I shuffled into the car I couldn't be sure if it was raindrop that rolled off the end of my nose or bit of self pity.

I think I'll give town a miss next week.


  1. I think you're entitled to a little bit of self-pity, TM. Just a little, though. I'll bet home looked great after that trip. (And this is a nice bit of writing!)

  2. ET, I am so sorry you had a bad day in town. I can empathise, in high school I was on crutches after a badly broken ankle. I was trying to get to my seat in the science lab, which had a highly polished lino floor that a hospital would have been proud of. It was winter so other students had traipsed in some water. my crutch went out from under me. I ended up on my bum, launched my bag and crutches towards my chair, and crawled over to my seat.

    I did find one good use for crutches though, some kid was picking on me, so I turned my crutch around, so the bolts pointed forwards, and swung the crutch into his shin, embedding the bolt in ;) It was the only time I reacted to bullying, but it was soooooo satisfying ;)


    Kat in Perth.

  3. So sorry - this healing process of yours is dragging along, really, now, why would you need a flat tyre and drizzling rain on top of it? It is just unfair. Hope your pain will be quickly shrinking down to a mark at least at which it won't bother you. I am going to make another pot of Krautsuppe now. Have Whisky come and cuddle you, and look forward to some of Ms XTM's kitchen treats. Best wishes!! Barbara (Styria)

  4. Sorry it was such a shitty trip out. I've had that experience of the knee bending the wrong way and it's awful. I hope your leg is ok with it. As someone has said, you're entitled to your bit of self pity. I hope the day gets better for you. I wish I could send something nice. Take care.

  5. While on crutches I crossed a road and slid on ice and ended up flat out on the road. A bus driver tooted his horn at me as I was in his way and nobody came to help me to my feet. I too felt overwhelmed. It was a really low moment, but it made me determined to walk normally again and to help anyone struggling with a disability. The world is full of self-centred people, but it is also full of caring people and if I had been there I would have proudly helped you. You have come so far and done so well, dont let this be more than a blip.

  6. I know how you feel. I had the same experience a few years back, crutches flew out from under me, cracked down on my coccyx, thankfully not my hip - whilst you're doing that mental damage assessment, you realise that no-one has rushed to your aid but they have no problem with staring at you as they bustle past with their masses of shopping bags that almost bash you in the face. You definitely see the world and society differently, and it changes your attitude towards people you see on crutches or in wheelchairs.

    Chin up, christmas shopping crowds are hell anyways at the best of times! I hope you're ok though and the knee isnt' too bad. :o)

  7. It will get better, honestly. Next Christmas, you'll look back on this one and be so grateful that the wheelchair and crutches weren't permanent.

  8. XTM, I hope you are feeling a bit better by now. Hopefully you are sitting comfortably in front of a roaring fire with your leg up, oramorphed the pain down to a level you can cope with, and have had something tasty for lunch.
    There are bound to be days like this when everything goes horribly wrong but hopefully they will be few and far between, interspersed with some really wonderful, top of the world days too.
    Take care,

  9. Sorry to hear that XTM. Please wipe your tear/raindrop away and delight in your loyal followers who are thinking of you.

    I'm visiting my parents in Holland. My Mum had an operation last month and had high hopes of a speedy recovery but has also had a setback and low days. The blasted weather doesn't help...


  10. Count your blessings so ok town wasn't fun but it isn't often for many able bodied and at least your disability is hopefully temporary and now no doubt you are curled up in front of your lovely fire with a glass of something nice. Some of my friends are both currently awaiting amputation and not expected home till Feb. Family men with kids. I'm behind you all the way traction man but a flat tyre and a little rain? Murphy's law should have pre warned you that your first outing wasn't going to be White Christmas. As a previous posted said. Patience it will get better and soon enough. xx Better luck next time xx

  11. It was just a series of silly little things that simply multiplied up on each other. I know I'm fortunate etc etc... but it just seemed like the day was going pear-shaped. I've had so many setbacks this year that I tend to be a bit pessimistic. Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts and for putting things in perspective. And as for that flat tyre... you're right all it needs is some air. Not really a problem in the grand scheme of things.

  12. We are all entiteld to bouts of self pity tm,chin up hope you have a better sunday

  13. Cheer up, two weeks ago you were stuck in a mad house with the most awful grub. You might feel sore and low but you can have anything you want qithin reason and a hug, cuddle and kiss from thos who love you. It will get better, it just takes time and that is hard to adjust to. Look after yourselves. Take care, much love Kitty

  14. Hope that posting this and sharing it got it off your chest and that all this virtual support helps you feel better. I don't think you would want to do Christmas shopping able-bodied. I do virtually all mine on line - you can do it when you feel like it regardless of the weather of what hour of the day it is. It's going to be a slow old road, two steps forward one step back etc. but keep your sense of humour and please keep blogging

  15. What a craptacular day, XTM. At least it's over and done with, and tomorrow is a new one.

    On the topic of helping people on crutches/wheelchairs who've fallen over.. years ago, someone in a wheelchair told me he resented able-bodied people rushing to his aid whenever he had a spill. Something about being perfectly capable of getting himself back into the chair, and he didn't need someone feeling sorry for him.

    Ever since, I've felt very awkward about even offering to help people in that situation. In the back of my mind, there's his voice saying, "he can do it himself, he's not a pity case, leave him be". It usually overrides the voice that says "You're not offering to help because he's a wheelie, you're offering to help because you'd do it for anyone".

    Should I reject that wheelchair dude's comments? My conscience says I should. Actually, I think I just answered my own question.

  16. Ahh, crutches and mishaps...I think Murphy had stock in crutches. I had a 3rd degree sprain and was in an 'air cast' & on crutches for a short time (I was more apt to increase my injury so dr. moved me to a cane) While I never fell I certainly did my fair share of hopping to regain balance. Thankfully I was out of the cast before the icey roads and sidewalks of winter-I was such a klutz that I would've been in physio for even longer than I was for that.

    Pushing a full sized stroller in the early 80's made me realize how inhospitable our stores were for wheelchairs. I had trouble opening doors and getting in that I wondered how those in wheelchairs managed.

    The reward though is that you have a lovely wife, a cat and a fireplace and children (importance is not necessarily in that order lol)

  17. I think when you stay in hospital when you come out you're on a kind of 'high'. It lasts for a few days as you think - ooh I can do a bit of the crossword in the loo - or check this, I couldn't have done this in hospital. Even making a cup of coffee for YOURSELF and the first time you have HOT soup. But then you realise that you still have a way to go and that it hurts. I hope this stage goes quickly as for me it went to the thrawn stage (good Scottish word meaning stubborn)next.

    Hope you feel much better very soon. Everythings such a thought when you aren't really mobile. Picking things up, carrying things, light bulbs going - just daft wee things can make you so weary. You'll be in my thoughts (and the pea brains of Ruby and Hamish - my beautiful girly cats)

  18. A thought. Have you noticed that there are a lot of cat lovers here? Just saying

  19. I've noticed many similarities between posters. I cannot explain it and I'm not sure I need to. It's a connection we seem to feel.

  20. it is very common to have a high feeling when discharged from hospital, especially after such a long period of incarceration. Then reality hits and you feel as if you drop like a stone. Have a good rest, give yourself a big pat on the back for doing so well so far, then take a deep breath, relax and try to do things in YOUR time. I personally avoid town centres at this time of year - full of overstressed people rushing around, too crowded. You are in a perfect position to do everything on line, and get out in quieter places where you can get back to normal and feel less stressed. You WILL get there, just keep reminding yourself of how far you have come, not how far you have got to go... xx

  21. This is strange, yesterday was a bad day for me(riddled with arthritis, since 35 yrs).

    It was a clumsy day, I dropped everything, nothing went right, it was a totally frustrating day. I just felt like giving up, sat down and had a nice coffee, then got angry with myself for even thinking of giving up. Got off my ass and determination took over as I thought.... "if today is going to be against me then bring it on ". Everything went smoothly then.

    Don`t give up even on crappy days TM, turn situations around . Every day and every experience is a lesson that we can learn from to better our life.

    My pain fluctuates from one day to the next, from extreem to bareable to manageable then to every bone in my body all directing immense pain all at once on damp and rainy days.

    I never give in, no matter how bad I am, I force myself to fight it and all the time cursing with the words in anger " Is that all you got , bring it on ".

    This is the only way to overcome anything... sheer determination and forcing your mind and body to be in control, if I didn`t have that drive in me , to force myself to be mobile I would have been in the expected wheelchair at age 25, as predicted by specialists at age 13.

    I do hope your leg will not suffer from the fall you had. I remember years ago that a cobblers shop supplied , non slip no matter what surface rubber stoppers for cane`s, walking sticks and crutches.

    Not being funny but try

    I know it is a magazine for over 50`s but they have good stuff to sell, might get all weather rubber stoppers there . Keep well and God bless..Ness

  22. Hi XTM, I've been reading for ages but not posted until now. I'm 20 and I completely shattered my ankle 12 weeks ago and am now all pinned and plated, and a few short weeks ago I was in the same position you are now.

    I can totally sympathise with how disheartening life is - I have done the wet floor and crutch fall (scary but it happens to a lot of people) and I have also navel-gazed at people in town. But look at the positives of both of those situations: you were drinking a nice cup of coffee in your lovely home and you went into town - no longer looking at those same walls in the hospital or even the walls at home.

    Crowds get easier, I promise. I was petrified of large swarms of people having been more or less isolated for about 8 weeks - but it's getting easier day by day and I know it will for you too.

    I know all these things add up and I think that unless someone has been there it is so difficult to understand how a fall or a flat tyre can really get to you - you're allowed to feel sorry for yourself you've been through a lot! But tomorrow is a new day - don't dwell on today, but look forward to the future.

    When I first got out of my cast and stuff, I thought I was going to be jogging straight down to the gym but the opposite has been true and whilst it is a long, gruelling and very aggravating process cherish the small improvements you see every day. I keep a journal of things I have done, for example I think my biggest achievement to date was having a shower for the first time in seven weeks!

    Keep fighting the good fight - you're already doing so well and you just have to keep pushing (but not too far, XTM!).

    And keep going in the knowledge that you have so many people behind you, willing you to succeed.

    All my best wishes,

    Amy x

  23. Hang in there XTM! By the tone of your posts you are going to be just fine. I don't usually mention this, because I regard it as a minor inconvenience, but I have been consigned to a wheelchair for most of the last five years, after developing a peculiar bone disease.All in the space of about five weeks I went from normal ( the less reverent members of the family say whatever that means in your case dear )to immobile, along with the associated pain etc so I can identify with most of the comments made by others, except rather than navel gazing my involuntary speciality is bums, as in 'Does my bum look big in this'? Taking a massive dose of Oxycontin didn't appear on my long term plan, even though I wondered what the little green men would do, nor spending my days woo-hoo! So my GP and the Specialist concerned helped to devise a plan, so I put up with a little discomfort and get by.
    What has been said about the types of people and how they handle seeing someone in a chair rings true as many people offer help, like in the supermarket asking if they can get something from a high shelf, and even little old ladies in the car park offering to lift my chair into the car. I am pretty independent but I always thank them for asking.As the ms lady said, the kids are OK, from stunned to begin with to sneaking a look round their Mum at the checkout, or just accepting what they see. The 'Grown Ups' are a bit different, but mostly OK. I don't know the situation in the UK but in Melbourne here its pretty multi-cultural
    and it's obvious that some ethnic groups have a different culture when it comes to the disabled. No problem, I just park on their toes at the checkout.
    I've actually got a collection of wheelchairs, all of the self propelled variety, a lightweight folding one for the car, and a couple of more robust ones for home and around, so with the aid of my trusty Zimmer frame I can do what's required.I'm angling to get an All Terrain four wheel drive electric chair,I figure if I got a squaddies uniform I could act up like the tanks on your Salisbury plain.ME: Look one of these would be good. Family: You are NOT getting one of those.
    In a previous post you talked about humour, and I know that is something that helped me immensely, still does. While alterations were being made to the bathroom and a couple of doors widened (by a Right said Fred builder) we had a lot of laughs with showering and so forth so much so that a shower seemed to take ages. I'd find the family in the drawing room helpless with laughter.
    Just as a footnote, after looking at the Salmon dish the other day, my memory kicked in and I got my recipe out for a cheats individual Beef Wellington.I mean who needs foie gras when you've got Latvian Liverwurst. Thought out of interest I'd look up the Sainsbury's on line to see how expensive eye fillet was. When I finished hyper ventilating I thought ours was expensive at 41.00 per kg for a nice bit of Angus beef.
    Keep on keeping on XTM,thoughts are with you.

    Chris, Melbourne OZ

  24. Words are what I do. Normally I have lots of them. Need a thousand words on any subject? No problem! I'm your man. And yet, I find myself reading through these eloquent, sensitive and achingly funny words in the comments here and I find my word cupboard bare. There's simply nothing I can say other than thank you for the sentiments, tips, hopes and best wishes for the situation in which I find myself.

    The self-pity tap has now jammed and I realise how fortunate I am. I also realise I'm no longer alone. Many people go through what I've been through and far worse. All seem to develop humour, patience and sheer doggedness to bring back the human spirit. You're all truly remarkable and thoroughly decent human beings. I feel lucky and privilege that you read my blog and care enough to encourage me to get better. Thank you.

  25. it's because we love you for the way you could make us laugh even when you were in pain and incarcerated, and we all so want you to be fit and well again, you certainly deserve it..

  26. Hi XTM

    Sorry to hear about your day out - the pesky weather is a crucial factor when you're not feeling up to snuff. Maybe stay in the warm and do any Cmas shopping on the internet with Whisky's help? Cats also lower blood pressure and the likelihood of going nuts - cats are the best!!

  27. A crappy day does let the air out of one's own tyres let along those of a wheelchair. But yes, just give life the two-fingered salute and battle on.

    Just to add to the list of stories about the horrible public, those days recuperating after a big op were very enlightening. When you finally manage to get washed and dressed and can face the first one or two ventures out to the end of the road, and then round to the corner shop, and because you're moving along at a snail's pace bent over slightly because it hurts too much to stand straight just yet, and some woman pushes you out of the way in the doorway of the shop or some guy loses his patience as you're trying to cross a road and toots his horn and moves menacingly close in his white van .. ah yes, the great British public at their sweetest *eye roll*

    But there again, there are the ones who do help, and who do notice that you're not a flighty young lamb springing about and therefore there might be a physical problem, and who offer to carry your shopping back to your front door or help you with your shopping basket in the shop. It's what I do, too. Compassion is what people have for each other. Not having compassion is a choice.

  28. Hello TractionMan...I found this post because I was looking for Umbrellas in art ("A Rainy Day" is magnificent, isn't it?)...well, then I read this post through, and it made me have a real tear (no mistaking it for a raindrop). I hope you are all healed now.

  29. Thank you, Celeste. I'm feeling a lot better now. I'm still not fully fit but much better than before. TM