I was just reading another fantastic blog by my friend Kimberly at “All Work and No Play Make Mommy Go Something Something” (I reviewed her blog here.) Her blog today is entitled “Mr. Sun“, and she suggests:
“I hate hearing people say “You shouldn’t be doing that” or “I thought that you couldn’t handle things like that” and it pisses me off. Just because my back is an asshole that doesn’t mean that I “can’t” do things or “shouldn’t” do things. I have good days and I take advantage of them. Life keeps keeping on just like I do. I am looking forward to all of this sun this weekend.”
It certainly struck a chord with me. As you all may know, I had a bad car accident a little over three years ago. My leg was broken in over four places. My knee was shattered. I had seven hours in surgery three days after the accident, and then two more surgeries after that. I was off my feet for over three months after the accident, and then two more months with the other two surgeries. The surgeons did their best—but like Humpty Dumpty, my leg will never be the same.
Among the difficulties I still have:
- I have difficulty going up or down an incline.
- Walking on uneven ground (stones, gravel, grass) is difficult.
- If I step on a very small stone, I recover easily with my left foot—but my right feels like a knife has pierced my flesh.
- Going up stairs is difficult, but going down is even more so. And don’t even talk to me about carrying things up and down—especially if they’re big and awkward.
- I’m not in constant pain, but if I happen to “overdo” it, I generally have to take painkillers to go to sleep. Nothing heavy—just Tylenol typically, but something is more than nothing.
- I can no longer sleep on my left side or on my back comfortably (haven’t been able to sleep on my stomach since the kids). I’ve suffered from anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress.
- I have terrible nightmares and the occasional bout of insomnia. My brain does not function at the level it should. I forget things.
- I had a pulmonary embolism while in the hospital. It could have killed me but for a thankfully observant angel who was my nurse. I have to be careful now about further potential clots.
- I had to have needles in my stomach for four months after the accident. And then again after my son was born. Just in case.
That’s a big list right? My lawyer made me write it out. There are probably more ways it’s affected my life that I haven’t listed. Makes me sound like I don’t have much of a life.
But you know what? I do. I’m alive. They didn’t put me into a hole and I refuse to be put in one. Nothing is easy in this life. Life has no remote. You have to get up and change it yourself.
I make plans and I do things. Sometimes I have to do them differently than I did before, but I’m still getting them done.
My husband says to me, “Are you sure you want to do all that today? You’re going to feel it tonight.” And, like Kimberly, it pisses me off.
I’m still alive. Given the extent of the damage, I could have quite easily let them dig me a hole and crawled into it. I probably could have used it as an excuse not to go back to work – ever. I had disability insurance. I would have taken a pay cut, but I could have done it. I certainly could have used it as an excuse not to have another child—especially considering the clot and prior c-Sections put me at risk for another one. I could have lied down that day and never got back up again.
But, dear Hubs and anyone else who tells me to take it slow—I will not. I refuse. You can give that hole to someone else. It’s not for me.
I got back up. I’m going to keep getting up. Every day. And I’m going to keep going. Whether or not my lawyer thinks I’m a bad client. I won’t disguise the difficulties I experience but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them hold me back.
So don’t ask me if I’m sure I want to do something. If I’ve said it, I want to do it. I will do it. Because I can.
(And Hubs darling, if you’re reading this—you know I love you and appreciate that you want to take care of me. But I’m not in the hole. Don’t throw dirt on me.)
~ Liv (ing)
A version of this post originally appeared on Live by Surprise in May, 2014.
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