It’s been a little over two weeks, actually.
The quadriceps tendon basically attaches your knee to your thigh muscle. I badly hurt mine stretching one morning. You might agree with the urgent care doctor who told me I “need a better story.”
In thinking about how stupidly easy I hurt myself and how it resulted in severe inconvenience, I realized there were many lessons I was getting out of this experience if I so choose to embrace them.
4 Things I Learned During My 2 Weeks on Crutches
1. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” doesn’t go far enough in my opinion. I would change that to “Be sweet and patient towards the hand that feeds you” even though it’s not as catchy.
My husband, Alex, helped me out of bed in the morning. He made my food. He did the laundry. He took over things with the kids. He washed the dishes. He took the time to make my “second coffee” because the first is for me to wake up and the other to enjoy slowly. He even visited with me so that I wouldn’t feel lonely in between all his work, which included building an entire fenced-in garden.
At first, Alex was overwhelmed. Why wouldn’t he be? He has an entirely different routine every day of the week. Stepping into someone else’s busy day without having their habits and experience is harder than it sounds. I’ll admit I was secretly a little pleased that he saw how hard I work, even though he doesn’t make me feel like I don’t work hard.
I initially insisted that things be done a certain way or asked him to do more and realized this was counterproductive. The first two days were rough with him trying to adjust to some rhythm, and I worked hard to bite my tongue and really sweetly say nothing other than “thank you”. My gratitude for all he was doing and patience for his learning curve paid off. I saw my efforts rewarded with a superman I’ve never seen before. Alex was like a young Alfred Pennyworth. For various brief moments, I considered never walking again.
Be sweet and patient with those helping you out.
2. It’s a real act of courage to be vulnerable. Now, normally I’m all about doing whatever we all can to avoid being pitiful. I try to take care of myself, handle my problems on my own whenever possible, and I don’t let myself be a pushover.
Sometimes, we simply are vulnerable. Not only could I not walk, my tendon was causing me a lot of pain so even if I was sitting still, I was grimacing or tearing up. For the first week, I tried doing everything myself and hopped around so much my good leg started feeling sore. I didn’t want my husband to help me or see me having a hard time because I didn’t want him to pity me. I told him this, and he reassured me that he didn’t pity me in an “ugh” way but in an “I love you, and I’m sorry you’re hurt” kind of way.
So, I tried to let go and be what I was–someone who couldn’t even put pants on. After all, if I was going to heal, I needed just to accept help and be ok with someone looking at me like “awww…”
I cried a bit over the helplessness I felt at everyone doing everything for me. But maybe I also cried because of how lovely it was to be taken care of in all those ways.
Accept help when you need it and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
3. Sometimes life makes us stop and smell the flowers because we’re too busy to remember they’re even there. I found myself looking out the window at the lovely trees and wishing I could take a stroll around the block. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t taken the time out to enjoy Spring! How silly of me!
I’ve made a list of things I want to do, like plant some stuff in the garden, as soon as I am able. It’s funny how we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone.
In the meantime, I’ve embraced what I can do now, so I’ve been watching movies that Alex enjoys (he deserves it) and reading books and sleeping more. I cleaned out my closet while on crutches by throwing clothes I don’t wear on the bed to fold once I was sitting and then putting them in a bag for donation. I’ve also been able to catch up with my parents and brother and sister who have come over to help me.
Do what you can, today, because tomorrow you may not be able to.
4. I’ve also surprised myself by missing chores like cleaning the floor, cooking, and washing dishes. Not because I particularly enjoy these tasks, but because doing these things keeps the house nice and tidy and they are acts of love for oneself and one’s family.
I watched my family doing these things, and I felt the love. And so I thought, “Is this what Alex and the kids feel when they see me doing all these things?” This felt like an epiphany, and I vowed to never complain about cleaning and cooking again but be glad I have the privilege to do it and the loved ones for whom to do it.
Work isn’t a drag, it’s an honor.
I try to go through hard times gracefully, and I think I manage ok, but always only after a rough start. The first week of my injury I woke up every single morning from a nightmare. I cried every single day. It seems silly now that my leg finally feels like it’s beginning to heal. I’ve been nervous because the earliest a specialist could see me was weeks away! What if I wasn’t doing the right things for my leg to heal properly?
But I think it’s going to be ok, and I believe I’m going to be better off because of this experience and what I’ve learned from it.