Like a slippery fugitive, sleep evaded me last night. Like a clock on steroids my mind ticked over and over. Jumping from thought to thought like a wild monkey swinging through vines. I worried about the events of the day, about disappointing Chris and just general anxieties about this whole process and the slow pace it is progressing at.
For the first time here I asked for a pain killer to try an subdue the burning, throbbing pain in my hip.
The nurse shook her head sadly.
“Sorry you are just charted for panadol”
Great, that’s what constantly saying no to drugs gets you.
But like any good addict, I had come prepared and had packed some of the left over pills from my last hospital stay. It is a slippery slope from here to the harder stuff.
With a new resolve of honesty I have a good chat with Chris and confess my reservations in admitting weakness and struggles.
“The strongest people are those that can admit their weakness and be comfortable with their emotions,” he tells me.
He is right. He is a wise soul.
Stefan is back this afternoon for some maintenance on our legs and to change over my knee to a lighter model.
Unlike last time, I am the last in line. I sit on the chair watching enviously as he fiddles with Ali and Dan’s legs and gets them on a fancy looking machine with lasers that helps align the knee.
Like a caffeine addict I am all jittery and fidgety.
It’s been an hour and a half of sitting still essentially doing nothing. I am not used to this.
“This is the longest I have seen you sit still,” Chris comments.
I am not enjoying this so called ‘rest’ at all. It feels like a waste of time.
Finally it’s my turn and it doesn’t feel right. The knee feels slightly clunky when walking but the real problem comes when I go to take the leg off.
It won’t come off. It is stuck steadfast.
Stefan tugs and pulls but it is firmly in place.
He unscrews one of the bolts and with an almighty yank gets it off. The force of his pressure and the jolt on the bone feels like someone has just kicked me hard and I feel the shoot of pain roar up the bone.
He apologizes and says he will return tomorrow with another part that fits.
With the hold up with Stefan I don’t get a great deal done today and I feel frustrated. I know I need to take things slow but I only have a limited time in here and I need to make the most of it.
It’s the last night the cyborg gang will be together before Ali and Dan go home so we are busting out of rehab for a celebration dinner.
Watch out Castle Towers, it’s a cyborg night out.
It feels weird being on crutches and not wearing the leg. I feel somewhat naked and I keep thinking about needing to weight shift but then realizing the leg isn’t there so it is impossible.
It is at dinner when Dan says he will drive down for his next check-up appointment rather than fly as it will be impossible to pull a suitcase while on crutches, that it hits me how hard life is going to be once I leave here.
The doctors and physios have said they want me on crutches for at least another six weeks as while I can walk a little without them they don’t want the leg to fully bear weight until they are confident the bone is strong enough.
It wasn’t until tonight I realized just what this will mean for me. Sure I can walk and sure I can manage on crutches but in terms of practical things it’s going to be tough. I don’t have a partner or family with me. Essentially when I leave here I will be on my own.
I won’t be able to carry anything. I won’t be able to carry my washing up and down the stairs at home.
And how will I be able to do my food shopping. It will be near impossible to push a trolley and use crutches. Even little things like cooking and carrying a cup of tea in the office. And cleaning, I won’t be able to do that either. Damn, that is a shame, isn’t it?
I know Flatmate 1 will be brilliant and be happy to help wherever he can but at the same time I don’t want to overload him or rely on him nor my other friends too much.
Suddenly I feel a shiver of fear and anxiety for the future. Then like a vice it grips.
I worry about returning to work. About still needing to walk with crutches and still having so far to go until I am back to normal and kicking butt and reaching my goals. I’m anxious I won’t live up to the expectations everyone back home will have.
When I left they envisaged I would return triumphant, charging full speed ahead. They had no comprehension of how hard and long this part would be. I had no idea myself. No one had quite explained just how lengthy this process was. The doctors had explained the surgery and the recovery time and then I think I just imagined once you got the leg you clicked it on, did a few weeks in rehab and then, bam! Back to real life. Ready to climb mountains, do step classes and compete in marathons.
Turns out this not the case.
I feel like I have taken a step back and I’m nervous for everyone to see me like this. I’m afraid they will be disappointed in me somehow. Like I have let them down.
I also will have to keep up the physio three times a week and fly back here every six weeks for check-ups. I don’t know how I will be able to fit this in with work. Will I have to go part-time? Quit my job? Should I move back home and go to physio here everyday?
My heart is in a vice of panic. I can feel it tightening and suddenly the future spread in front of me looks a scary place full of frightening possibilities.
I can feel the self-pity wash over me. The waves are rolling and crashing against upon me. Why me? Why must life be so difficult? Why can’t I at least have a hip?
For the first time in this entire journey a dark and frightening thought wiggles it’s way into my brain. I don’t even want to entertain it for a second. I can’t. I won’t.
“Just give up,” it whispers to me softly.
“It’s all too hard. Just give in.”
It’s voice is raspy and putrid.
I won’t listen. I won’t. I have come too far to give up now
In life there are three options: give up, give in or give it all you’ve got. I refuse to give up. I will not give in.
That only leaves one option.