Even as a child, I was risk averse. I stayed indoors. I played with Barbies, read books, and worked on art projects. I didn’t participate in sports. Hell, I didn’t even learn to ride a bike until I was 10 years old because I was too afraid of getting hurt. Basically, the chances of me breaking a bone were slim to none. I never imagined that I’d fracture my foot as an adult from walking on it. Sure, it had fallen asleep and I came down directly on my toes, but still. I was walking.
The official diagnosis is a fracture at the base of my fifth metatarsal. I made the mistake early on of telling people it was the “base of my little toe bone.” Few people realize how far back that bone really goes. I likely have five more weeks in the Aircast ahead of me. Three weeks will be non-weight bearing and the following two weeks will be partial weight-bearing. After that, it’s shoes with stability for the rest of the summer. (Ugh.) I am very lucky to be able to take the boot off when I’m relaxing or bathing.
I had no idea what to expect as I started my road to recovery, other than assuming it was going to suck. Which it does. It’s been an eye-opening, tear-inducing week already and I wanted to share my experiences and observations so far. So many of you shared similar war stories in this post and you have no idea how much it means to me to know that others made it through with both feet intact. For the rest of you, here’s what you’re in for if you ever have the misfortune of fracturing your foot:
- Your purchases will make you feel like you’ve aged 40 years in a matter of days. I was told that I would have to take baths until I was allowed to put weight on my foot. I’m sorry, but no. I sent Dave out to buy a shower stool for me that very day. The Walgreens version he found had an octogenarian woman on the box. Excellent. Other necessities include: crutch cushions, a backpack (crossbody tote bags threw off my balance too much), compression socks, foot powder (the Aircast isn’t the most breathable), and plenty of Tylenol.
- There’s so much bruising and not just on your foot. Before I bought my crutch cushions, the rubber top of the crutches rubbed against my sides so much that I had bruising along my bra band on both sides. I also have bruising on my knees and legs from stabilizing myself on furniture.
- You’ll drink less water at night. Nothing–nothing–is worse than getting up in the middle of the night to use the restroom.
- You don’t actually have to learn how to use stairs with crutches. Since I can’t put weight on my foot, I have to hop up and down the stairs with my crutch while hanging on to the railing for dear life. The only stairs I have to contend with are those that go up to our apartment. I’ve just been sitting down and scooting up and down on my rump like a toddler.
- You will appreciate sneakers more than you ever thought possible. KicksUSA sent over these Puma sneakers before my injury. They’ve been a lifesaver as I learn to maneuver on crutches. It’s amazing how slick ballet flats can be!
- You’re going to cry. A lot. Losing your independence is hard to deal with as an adult. You’re not able to do simple tasks like bringing a glass of water to the living room by yourself. Getting ready for the day is now a production. It’s stressful. Personally, I went through a few days of feeling useless and a bit depressed. It’s getting better as my confidence on crutches grows, but it sometimes becomes overwhelming. I usually have a mini meltdown in the evening after I’ve spent an entire day struggling.
- If you break your left foot, you’re going to feel like a rockstar when you drive. It’s pretty much the only time you’ll feel independent.
- You need to rely on people. It goes beyond having someone to help with things like bathing and grocery shopping. You’ll need to ask your coworkers for help. You’ll need to ask strangers to hold doors for you. Don’t be shy about asking, either, no one is a big enough jerk to actually say no. Just be sure to say “thank you” sincerely and often. Bribes help. I asked a coworker to make a Starbucks run for me yesterday (my weekly Wednesday treat) and offered to pay for his beverage. Honestly, most people want to help. They just don’t know what to do.
- You might take #TreatYoself to a whole new level. No? Just me? I ordered a new rug, a coffee table, and a pair of Karen Walker sunglasses in the course of a week…
- You’re going to become irrationally angry with people who tell you “it could be worse.” Well, of course it could be worse, but it’s still pretty crappy. Nothing about it is easy and it’s hard to look at the bright side all the time. And you know what? It’s okay to be angry about your injury. It’s a huge hassle. I realize that some people just don’t know what to say. If you’re one of those people, stick with “I’m so sorry. Let me know how I can help.” (To be clear, I try to look at the bright side for most situations. I’ve only started getting annoyed with “it could be worse” after hearing it on repeat for a week.)
- Place chairs wherever you usually stand to perform tasks. I have one in front of the bathroom mirror and one in the kitchen. I can rest my knee on them while I get ready for the day or help Dave cook, which allows me to ditch the crutches for a bit. It’s a small way to feel in control.
- NEVER use #FracturedFoot on an Instagram. The number of foot fetishists that come out of the woodwork is staggering and many of them have too many probing questions.