Two days ago, I broke my little toe, and fractured the toes beside it in 2 different places, after slamming it into a doorframe, while I was half asleep and rushing to see what my baby son was crying about. Turns out his mother was in the room with him, but was preparing my other 2 sons to go to school. So the baby was just being a baby.
And I had broken my toes for nothing.
It wasn't much fun, and it hurt like having a steamroller have its way with my foot.
Fast forward the first 2 days of absolute misery, waiting on a wheelchair at 2 different clinics and lastly the hospital. Fast forward the day after in my PJs, feeling painful, and miserable, full of self-pity and loss of self-worth.
It is now Day 3. The deadline is closing in and I have so much that I haven't done. We are leaving NZ for good in just over 3 weeks' time. So much to do. Packing. Shipping. Writing PhD.
Most pressing is the fact that I have to sell my beloved Honda Odyssey in a few days' time, and I told the buyer that I would have it in tip-top shape before passing him the keys. This meant that I had to change a tyre, send the car for a warrant of inspection, and even as a token of goodwill, pay for a month of the rego (a.k.a vehicle license/road tax). All a walk in the park and could be done in a single full day - provided that one was not on crutches, as I was soon to discover.
This morning I woke up and desperately wanted to shake off this wave of self-pity that was starting to take a grip starting from yesterday. I knew that I needed to do something normal to prove to myself that I was still able to do things, and not just depend on my overtired, overworked wife, who, bless her soul, gets up at 3.30am, goes to work, comes back 7am, gets the kids ready, sends the kids to school, gets back, clears the house, takes care of the baby, packs, cooks, and now, takes care of her husband who is much use around the house anymore.
At around 11am, I saw that she had dropped off to make up for some lost sleep. I was glad because at least she was getting some sleep. And I was also glad because it was now time to make my move. I knew she would disapprove of me getting up on my feet and going about town just 2 days after I had broken my toes.
I showered first. A very, very difficult thing to do apparently if you have to cover your foot with a plastic bag and not get your bandages wet. And not put too much pressure on the foot. And having to angle the foot all the time. And having to shower sitting on a chair.
Putting on normal, everyday clothes instead of being in your PJs all day really helps, I find. It puts you in a state of mind that is prepared to do things, rather than just be helpless, lie down, and mope.
Once I'd achieved all this, I took my crutches and hobbled down the stairs quickly before Salmah woke up. With a great deal of effort, I got into the car, and drove off.
Here is what I did:
I went to the bank to draw money from Malaysia to pay off the credit card. I went to the tyre shop to change the tyre, but was told I'd have to come back tomorrow because they were full. I bought some food. I went to the butcher's to buy some meat. I drove home.
Here is what I discovered:
i) Going ANYWHERE is hard if you're on crutches. My crutch skills were improving, but it was still SO hard to go anywhere. If you want to get in and out of your car, it takes a superb amount of skill, effort and patience, especially if there is an inconsiderate bastard who happens to park just beside you. You move between hopping and hobbling, hoping for all that you are worth that you don't bang the foot into anything, and that you don't end up putting too much pressure on it. And some people manage to make it look easy. I don't know how they do that. Perhaps they went to crutch bootcamp or were trained by the CIA.
ii) You have nowhere to hold your plastic bags/groceries/food. This one I discovered the hard way today. I bought food. I went to the butcher's. First WTF moment was when I discovered I had almost no way of carrying the stuff I had just bought to the car. After a few minutes of not really knowing what to do, I decided to hang the plastic bag on my crutch handles. And then hobble slowly to the car. Nailed it. But then when I got home, I realised I had the meat, and also the food I had bought, to bring from the car to the stairs, then up the stairs, and then into the apartment. Took me a bloody 15 minutes to figure out how to do this, and to actually do it. Lesson - next time, always take a backpack/satchel.
iii) Keeping your weight off your foot means exactly that. I thought I could do a semi-off your foot. So hobble a bit. Hop a bit. Step using heel a bit. Drive a bit. NO. Sorry. It doesn't work that way. When I arrived home my foot had ballooned to the size of a wombat. Must have been the driving, because the Odyssey props you up straighter, and puts more weight on your feet. I hope I haven't done anything permanently damaging.
iv) People surprise you. At the bank, someone held the door of the car open. Inside the bank, the cashier was very nice and sympathetic. At the tyre shop the dude held the door open. And then you build some expectations that people are going to help wherever you go. Until you go to places where people don't help. Then they surprise you as well. And you'd think they were assholes.
v) Your wife goes on a guilt trip when she finds out you snuck off while she was sleeping. And she makes you promise not to do it again, because, yeah you're not supposed to do it, and yeah, your foot is now the size of a wombat.
Now it is 2.15 of Day 3. Still a month plus expected for the duration of this sentence.