If you’re a Seinfeld fan you may understand ‘The Summer Of Jane’. If not – Google ‘The Summer Of George’. Basically, George gets a 3 month ‘holiday’ from work and starts with all these grand plans of what he was going to do with his time, and finishes up as a sloth!
So last time we met, I had just been diagnosed with a fracture of the pelvis and had been instructed to do minimal weightbearing on the affected left side, no lifting, no swimming or cycling, basically no exercise at all, with the possible exception of some light seated upper body exercises.
I did go to the gym once. It was a logistical nightmare – while I could lift 4kg dumbbells sitting down, I somehow had to get them from the weight rack to the seat. So I put my gym membership on hold for a few months.
I bought a set of crutches (the thinking being that it would be cheaper than hiring them for 8 or more weeks – not that I was expecting to need them long term). I definitely made the right choice with the elbow crutches – have you ever used underarm crutches? I have. Forget about it! The big advantage is that I can let go of them to do stuff, and they stay attached to my arms. They say you have to have slightly more upper body strength to use them, but if you can manage them, they’re definitely the way to go. (Interestingly, I read that elbow crutches are the preferred option in most of the world, except for our friend America. Over there, they are specifically for people with long term disabilities. Another good reason I didn’t go over there with them!)
I kind of figured that dragging myself around on crutches was more than enough upper body workout without having to go to the gym. I’m fully expecting to end up with Michelle Obama arms!
Oh, and I wore out a pair of crutch tips after 7 weeks. I’m going to say it’s because the crutches are cheap and nasty and not because I’ve been walking too much!
OK now to the plus sides of having to use crutches to get around.
Disabled parking, aka ‘rock star parking’. I don’t use it all the time, only if there isn’t a normal park close by – the proximity to where I am going, is more important in my case than the size of the park. Although, given that I am unable to unlock my door from the driver side, the extra width does come in handy sometimes! (And before you ask, yes I do have a permit!) Free parking in the city is also a bonus, although I don’t go in there too often – again I’m not supposed to walk too much, and going to town invariably requires a fair bit of walking!
People are generally pretty courteous – opening doors (although I have worked out a pretty good method of doing it myself) and bringing coffees to me rather than me having to carry them (Spoiler alert – I can’t carry a coffee!) A couple of times at winery cellar doors I was looked after very well – special shout out to Alpha Box & Dice where we were seated on a very comfy lounge chair and the guy brought the wines to us rather than me having to flamingo at the bar!
I have to get help with putting the bins out/bringing them in, doing my weekly shopping, putting clean linen on the bed, and washing my sheets/towels. HATE THAT! Luckily for me I am able to do everything else I needed to around the house. And If I need just a few things I can manage a small shop myself. The first time I put the goods in my backpack to carry them, but then I decided that was a bad idea. Although I don’t think that anyone would suspect I wasn’t going to pay for them, it would be a pretty damn good scam if I was dodgy!
Carrying stuff around the house is the biggest problem. I did fashion a carrying tray out of a (never used) kitty litter tray, reusable bag, bulldog clip and a lanyard, and that worked well the one time I used it, but I didn’t trust if for anything heavier. Consequently I ended up eating a lot of meals sat at the kitchen bench (which I often do anyway, as I usually end up with a cat or two on me or in my food if I sit on the lounge!)
I spent the first week or so trying to find a plastic stool so I could sit in the shower to wash the lower part of my right leg (the only bit I couldn’t do standing up, because I can’t stand on my left leg) – you know those plastic stools that are shaped kind of like an hourglass? Many’s the time I’ve seen them in client’s houses and advised them against using them in the shower for safety reasons. But do you think I could find one? In the end I managed to find one from IKEA (I did have to assemble it myself but it was one of your easier assemblies!) which worked a treat!
Logistics aside, probably the thing that concerned me most in the beginning was, what the hell am I going to do? No work, no running, minimal walking – doesn’t leave a lot, does it?
Firstly I set myself a few rules. One, once I got out of bed in the morning (which was usually quite early as my cats would need feeding), I would close the door and not go back in there until bedtime. Two, no TV until 6pm (except on weekends if there was sport on, of course! And if there’s cricket on during the week, of course that’s an exception too!) Three, I have to leave the house every day, even if it’s just for a coffee!
Coinciding with the start of my leave was the Adelaide 6 Day event – a running event that is of absolutely no interest to me in terms of participating, but was a great way to spend a few hours each day, hanging out at the track, cheering on the runners and chatting with the volunteers and supporters.
Coffee. Well, maximum 2 cups a day, and never at home (I currently don’t have any coffee in the house). If I didn’t have a post-run coffee group to join in with (Thursday and Sunday are regular days) or a friend to catch up with, I’d try out a few new local coffee shops each week. We are definitely spoiled for choice!
Going out for lunch on a weekday is a rare treat, something I have managed to do quite a few times! And I even got to go to a “Not The Melbourne Cup” lunch that was catered by my favourite vegan Greek food truck (Staazi and Co – is there another one?)
I don’t normally watch a lot of TV but given that I don’t have to get up early for running or gym, I stay up a lot later than usual so I watch a bit more TV than I normally do. (I really got into the later seasons of ‘Two And A Half Men’ and also ‘The Office’)
One thing I was doing before that I am thankfully still able to do, is sort of play a bit of piano and guitar. I can now play pretty much the whole of Bohemian Rhapsody on piano (not particularly well, but you’d be able to recognise it!)
I tried colouring in. I bought a couple of books, one which was a Monet book. As you can see from the picture, I am not about to quit my day job!
I did a couple of jigsaws. I found I couldn’t sit and do it all day, 90 minutes at a time was about the max! I did 2 1000 piece puzzles (with the ‘help’of my cats), the first one took me a week and the second one 9 days.
I’ve done a bit of tidying up around the house – sorting through papers, books, CDs, DVDs. I got rid of a box that had been in my lounge room for 6 years. (That box contained my 72 Derwent pencils from school – which was my inspiration for trying colouring!)
I managed to cull 4 boxes of work stuff down to 1, using the scanning app on my phone and ditching the hard copies once I’d scanned them. That was VERY satisfying (and cleared my dining table so I could do jigsaws!)
I’ve made a few trips (OK, a lot of trips) to second hand book stores and op shops – partly to donate stuff, but mostly to buy more stuff. I could have spent a lot of money at the Lions Bookmart in Tusmore, the Oxfam shop in the city, the OG Book Exchange in Klemzig, and 2 different Savers stores. Luckily for my bank balance, I was limited to buying what I could carry!
I read a lot! I’m not normally a big reader but I can happily sit all day on the couch reading and listening to Triple M Hard N’ Heavy. I mix it up between mostly novels and biographies. In particular in the beginning I was looking for inspiration in the form of stories about people who have overcome challenges far greater than what I am currently dealing with!
Special mention to Adelaide’s own SJ Morgan’s new novel ‘Hide’ – I went to the book launch on a Sunday afternoon and had finished reading the book by midday the next day – genuinely unputdownable!
To stay in touch with all things running, I volunteered at a few events (Heysen 105 and Cleland trail championships) as well as at a few different parkruns – running or not, Saturday is ALWAYS parkrun day! It’s a great way to keep involved when you can’t participate yourself – the free coffee is just a bonus!
I started a social media detox. Initially, because I wasn’t enjoying seeing everyone’s running posts. And although I’m sure I have missed out on a lot of news and events, it was actually really great. I hate to think how much time I’ve wasted in the past on mindless scrolling! Instead of the aforementioned scrolling and posting about every incredibly tedious thing I was doing (actually, I don’t think I post THAT much) I’m focusing on actual proper human interaction and doing stuff. I highly recommend it!
2 months down and another month to go before I can get rid of the sticks and hopefully start walking. On the plus side(s), I am now allowed to start swimming, AND the cricket is on.
So hopefully soon this screen on my watch will stop taunting me!
Well that’s about it from me – might post another update around Christmas time!