by Sheila Connolly
We’ve been together for a long time. Oh, things were a little unsteady at the beginning, when we were just getting to know each other, but we worked through that together. We went along smoothly for years. We did things together, traveled to wonderful places, went hiking, skiing, ice-skating. We enjoyed each other’s company. More important, we trusted each other, and you supported me in whatever I wanted to do. You were always there for me.
Then you betrayed me. I never saw it coming. I thought we understood each other, respected each other. I never asked you to do anything that wasn’t right for you. I accepted your limitations. I believed that you were strong and dependable. I was wrong.
And now I don’t trust you. How can I? My faith is shattered, and I don’t know how to rebuild the trust that I’ve lost. I know, you’re still there, waiting for me. Even I can see you don’t look good—you’ve lost weight, and your skin has lost its color. But you brought it on yourself, letting me down when I needed you. You’re going to have to earn my trust again, one day at a time.
I’m talking about my leg.
Funny how one little accident can make you reconsider a whole lot of things. One minute you’re going about your business; the next, you’re on the floor, wondering what the heck happened.
You get to consider all sorts of unexpected things. Like the sound of a breaking bone. We read thrillers where people pummel each other, accompanied by the snap, crackle, pop, and crunch of breaking bones. Now I have firsthand experience.
You learn interesting details about health care systems, and that’s before you get the bills.
You find out how your body reacts to anesthesia (I’ve had no side effects, even with morphine) and heavy-duty drugs (extremely boring—I fall asleep).
You realize that you’re a lot clumsier and less flexible than you used to be, and you have to readjust your mental image of yourself as lithe and supple (well, that was kind of overdue anyway).
You discover just how many things are difficult to do while balancing on one leg and holding on to something to support yourself with one hand. I’ll leave that to your imagination, but suffice it to say, you reconsider your clothing options. Stretchy is good; elastic is your friend.
You realize how many horror stories there are on the Internet about your particular problem, and you devoutly hope that it’s only the whiners who post.
You realize the garden isn’t going to get planted this year because it’s hard to dig with only one usable leg (I refuse to till the whole patch sitting down!).
You realize how many steps there are in the world, and how hard it is to get up and down them. That includes your own home.
You realize you need to ask for help, and you need to thank people for helping you, even while you resent your lack of independence. Most people are happy to help.
You realized how much worse things could have been. Bones heal, life goes on. Things will go back to normal—won’t they?
Can you win back my trust, dear leg? Only time will tell.