Accepting Help & Finding Gratitude
So, last week I thought it would be a great idea to slip down the stairs and sprain my ankle and fracture my fibula. Six weeks non-weight bearing, six weeks of no driving, six weeks of trying to get around in a two-story house with one foot, two scooters and two pairs of crutches. That cute step down into my family room now my nemesis!
On Tuesday, my son drove me to my doctor (Thank you, Dr. Heidee Kalmar, you have been nothing short of amazing) and I told him I would just get an Uber home because I am an independent chick and no ankle fracture is going to stop that! As a pediatric chiropractor, I decided that I should have a rainbow cast and let all the kids sign it with gold & silver sharpies–won’t that be fun when I am back in the office in two or three days? So, I crutch on out to the sidewalk in my colorful cast, trying to stay positive. The crutches hurt my bad shoulder, and the one step down to the road is way more difficult than I thought it would be. I awkwardly crawl into the Uber with a moment of “oh crap, this SUCKS.” But, before I can let that negativity fully set in, I come to learn that my driver was in a terrible car accident when he was 12-years-old, fracturing his tibia and his fibula in BOTH of his legs. He was bedridden for eighteen weeks with casts from his toes to his hips. He is still in pain every day. Wow. Perspective. I hand him my card and let him know if he ever needs anything, my office will take care of him for free.
Now to this taking care of yourself on one-foot thing. I can do this.
My friend Monica loaned me a plethora of ankle-breaking items – shower stool, leg condom (yes, that is a thing), body wipes for when I don’t want to put the leg condom on, two sets of crutches, a scooter from her cousin, and a ton of moral support. I tried to figure out the best systems for getting from one floor to the next and down that damn step to my family room. I got my trusty backpack and figure I can wear it to transport things as I get around the house. I was pretty tired, but felt positive, even though this really DOES suck. I scooted on over to the fridge and filled up my Yeti with a master plan to put it in the backpack, scoot over to the family room, transfer down the one step with the crutches and happily land my butt on the couch for the evening and find a new Netflix show to binge.
Great plan, but it wasn’t my reality.
I put the full Yeti on the counter, turned around to get my backpack off to put it in, and I proceed to knock the full Yeti on the floor. There is ice and water everywhere, surrounding me and my scooter….and I just start to cry. I collect myself, scoot through the water, get the roll of paper towels and do my best to individually pick up and throw the sixteen scattered ice cubes into the sink and mop up the floor. If that water wasn’t going to hurt my hardwood, I swear I just would have left it there and called it a night, dehydrated and all.
Why on earth wasn’t anyone there to help me? There is one answer to that – ME. I said “no” to countless offers of help–my boyfriend, friends, my kids, my staff and even a few people I have never met in person from The Branch (what a community this is!). I have worked so hard to be able to take care of myself all these years, that I don’t exactly know how to ask for or accept help when I truly need it. I put this into the folder marked, “Lessons I Need to Learn Right Freakin’ Now.”
The next day, I have the taping for four segments of The Moms Network at NCTV17. This date has been planned for months, we have five of my mom co-hosts and four guests joining us, the set is up, and the staff is ready. It is something I just can’t cancel. I ended up sleeping only one hour that night because the cast was so hot, and I am pretty claustrophobic. At 3:00 AM, I determined that I was probably willing to pay Dr. Heidee $15,000 to come and cut this thing off. At 3:45 AM, I actually called Edward Hospital to see if I took an Uber there, would they cut it off because I was close to having a panic attack (for future reference, they will only cut off a cast another doctor has put on if it is an emergency. Good to know.) I sleep from 4:00 AM to 5:09 AM and then I am up again overwhelmed with the thought of having to figure out how to shower, do my hair/makeup standing on one foot, get dressed, carry my second month’s show outfit (we change in between shows) down the stairs, get myself down the stairs, get coffee, get breakfast and be ready for Saritha (one of my co-hosts) to pick me up.
6:09 AM, I get a text from Monica asking if I need help getting ready, and if so, she would bring me coffee and breakfast as well. I cry again. This time, I say “yes”, and “thank you!”
Struggling to ask for and accept help is just so dumb. If any of my friends were going through what I was going through, I would happily help with a ride, a meal, a grocery store run, some company. In fact, I immediately apologized to Monica for not helping her as much as I should have when she went through her ankle surgery a few years ago. I certainly helped her, but not enough, especially now that I know how difficult it is to be on one foot.
I am one week in as I write this, and I am opening up to the fact that I can’t actually do this alone. Miss independent woman, mom, and business owner needs her tribe. I have said “yes” to all other offers of help and already have meals on their way, company to keep me entertained and a better plan to get through these six weeks. My two-three days out of the practice thought was cute but completely unrealistic. I hate not being able to be there, but I need to take care of this ankle and myself more right now.
I am also focusing on gratitude. Gratitude that other than this, I am healthy. Gratitude that I have two amazing doctors, Dr. Pat and Dr. Claire, at my practice that are doing an incredible job taking care of our patients. Gratitude that I have an Allison (my practice manager) –#EveryoneNeedsAnAllison has never been more accurate. Gratitude to my patients that they understand why I am not there. Gratitude that I have the very best friends and community around me. Gratitude that some of my work can be done from my jammies, in my dining room on my computer. Gratitude that this is a temporary thing, not a life-long struggle.
Choosing to keep your mind in a positive state can be challenging at times, but we always have that choice. I believe everything happens for a reason, even the bad stuff, so for the next six weeks, I am going to sit back (literally) and pay attention to all the lessons I need to learn, and the silver linings I can find.