In early November of 2009 I fell down the stairs in my home. The fall began when I missed the top two steps on my staircase and landed hard on the third, which resulted in an ankle sprain and fracture of my left foot. Treatment has included a walking boot, an air cast, and a seeming life sentence of wearing sneakers.
Gradually, I have been healing with the help of physical therapy and limited use of the foot. The pain level has decreased as well, to a point where it has become relatively tolerable. There is stiffness and my gait is still not where it was pre-fall, and that causes some residual issues throughout the body.
What has surprised me though is the extent to which this pain has affected my psyche. As I said, it's relatively tolerable. I haven't taken any prescription pain meds since the day of the fall and try to avoid anything over the counter for the most part. So I am dealing with it as it is, and it's taking what seems like an inordinate toll on my mood.
Maybe it's the helplessness of it. Maybe it's the way that having my gait thrown off has thrown off my whole body. Maybe it's the pain in my back, knees, and hips that seems to have developed along with the pain in my foot. Maybe it's because I can take a series of pain free steps, up to about four or five, then the sixth one sends a lightening rod of hurt through my foot and ankle. Maybe it's the shoes gathering dust in my closet as I lace up my sneakers for yet another day. Maybe it's the cold Northeastern winter which is surely slowing my progress.
Whatever the cause, I am finding it more and more difficult to be patient. I want to be able to walk briskly again, round corners without pivoting like a basketball player, wear a pair of boots if it's supposed to snow, bound down the stairs with some enthusiasm rather than clutching the handrail for dear life.
Being slowed down by this makes everything seem slower, the hours, the days, the season. It feels at times like I am completely stuck, with the pain, the lack of progress, the sameness of it all. It brings out a part of me that is full of self pity, and it makes me want to crawl under the covers until it's magically all better.
In a few weeks I will take a warm weather vacation. I am told that I can expect to feel much better away from the cold temperatures. I can only hope that when I return the season will have begun to change here in earnest. I have every intention of wearing sandals and going barefoot in a few short months. For now, though, what a pain...