Saturday, December 15, 2012

Broken Foot


So, it seems this was a work in progress, maybe.  I enjoy running.  It is one of my favorite ways to release stress because I usually get to be physically active and be outside while doing it.  Unfortunately, I started having pain in my foot around the end of April, beginning of May.  I just wanted to make it through the Cleveland Half-Marathon. 

Cleveland is my hometown and to have the opportunity to run in this race meant a lot.  I remember sometime in middle school and hearing about the race and thinking what fun it would be to run in the city.  When I found out how long the race was, I wasn't sure if that could be something I could do.  In grade school, I was often the smallest and slowest runner in my class.  If I was playing tag at recess, it was only a matter of time before I was "it."  That usually meant that I was "it" for the remainder of the time because I couldn't catch anyone.  After a while, others began to catch onto this pattern and found that it really wasn't fun to have me hopelessly chasing them around the playground.  So then, mercilessly, someone would eventually volunteer to be "it" so that the kids could resume running at full speed and I could try to catch my breath...praying that someone would not say the chant (I cannot remember) that makes it so that everyone has to leave base.

Needless to say, it wasn't until I was an adult that I discovered the joys of running.  I may not be fast, but I do enjoy it.  So, I think I weakened my foot and tried to give it a rest over the summer.  When I finally decided to go see my doctor about it, I got back into my car and my phone rang with the job offer for Orlando.  I had the x-rays done in Pittsburgh and they did not show anything.  During my moving into my new apartment, I tripped on a step and my foot just did not feel the same.  I think that was when it was officially pushed over the edge.  I had x-rays done and now the break was clearly visible.

Since September I have had a series of steps in trying to heal my foot.  I started with an air cast and a knee scooter.  The lady who completed the paperwork for me to rent the scooter at the store said something about, "Now that you are disabled..."  That did not go over well.  Me, disabled?  No.  I decided to make the most of it by installing a bicycle bell on it so at least I could bring some kind of humor to the situation.  With the hospital being so new, I was quickly recognized as the girl on the scooter.  At first, people thought it was a toy and part of my job as a Child Life Specialist.  "Oh, you Child Life Specialists have all the fun toys!  You are so fun...oh, wait.  What's that on your foot?  Oh, your foot's broken.  Sorry!"  I will say the scooter was better than crutches.  I could pick up some real speed on the straight aways.  Some people teased that I would get a speeding ticket.  Others would say that I would miss the scooter because I would be so much slower.  Not so much.  As much time as I could save with going fast in a hallway here and there, I spent more time backing up and going back and forth to maneuver in and out of doorways and tight spaces.  A time or two I got a little jammed and stuck trying to get out of the elevator that I felt like Austin Powers in the golf cart in the first movie.

Over time, I realized I was in a safe bubble at work and people were just used to it.  Granted it made for a lot of extra conversation and inquires of how I was healing.  But, it was well intended and I preferred to think of it as people cheering for me, even if it was somewhat tiresome having the same conversations about ten times per day.  I usually had my canned answers, but tried to say it with a smile.  Then it started happening at the Publix.  The people who worked at the store began to recognize me and would strike up conversations with me about my progress and giving me well wishes.  It was slightly invasive and I really didn't want to be drawing extra attention.  Again, I took it as more people sending me good vibes for healing.  Then, I went to the mall and there were a lot of people who openly stared at me.  It made me feel uncomfortable.  I suddenly appreciated my safe bubbles of work and the Publix.

I was also irked when people would ask me if I had a handicapped parking pass.  What?  No.  I am not disabled...even if technically temporarily...I did not identify myself that way.  It ticked me off when people would say that I should take full advantage of my situation with the parking thing or milking it for some other favor out of pity.  NO!  That was one reason why when there was one guy that I dated for a bit that I appreciated that he did not say those kind of things.  He joked with me as was my way of coping, but he did not treat me any differently.  And he was good at listening when I could be honest about my frustrations with it.  (More on him in another post.)

After about a month, I started to transition off of the scooter and try walking more with the air cast.  Sometimes it was strange and somewhat comforting when some people didn't even realize that I didn't have the scooter anymore because it had just become no big deal.  The transition was giving me some hope.  But, I still felt awkward and it was starting to wear on me.  I found myself not wanting to go out in public for longer stretches where I might need the scooter.  I was just so done with it and my mood was dark.  I was getting into a funk.  Being restricted in not being able to really exercise was not helping and starting to take its emotional toll.

Last week I was down graded to a "walking shoe," which looks like a sandal version of the walking cast.  At least now I can swim laps in the pool, as long as I don't push off the wall.  I went for a swim after an unseasonable cool spell.  It felt great and really helped my mood.  I look forward to doing more of it, as long as the weather cooperates.  Fortunately, the pool for laps in my neighborhood is heated.

Supposedly, I'm moving in the right direction.  As long as I can handle the progression to regular shoes and walking, I *might* get to try running in February.  But, what totally stinks is that after all of this, the pain could come back to my foot and all of this could be for nothing.  That is what I fear the most.

And as much as I am trying to stay positive, it is wearing on me.  I miss wearing matching socks and shoes.  I miss wearing my cute shoes.  I haven't even been able to wear my Florida shoes yet!  With the holidays coming and the New Year, I feel like I can't really get excited about dressing up all cute.  I don't feeling like wearing a cute dress and then this aweful velcro sandal.  Maybe I'll head to the beach for New Years.  It's a good place for a flip flop.


  1. Just think, Jamie, this year you won't have to worry if people shoveled their sidewalks, the giant snow piles and slush in the streets, the straining hills and frigid temps. I think you'll recover much faster there. As annoying as the scooter and boot are (by the way I could use the scooter), they were a talking point. It almost forced you to open up and talk to people, start to plant more roots, and make more friends. I wish you healthy soon!

  2. I double socked the shoe when I came home for the holidays! Tried to avoid the wet toes.

    Generally, I have been trying to see the positive. Most people at work have been complimentary of my can-do spirit. It can sometimes be draining, espcially when I am hopefully at then end of the recovery. I want to be done already and really get out there to enjoy the sunshine!