The last thing I did was publish my last post and turned off the lights. I guess I was tired because most nights I don’t sleep before the witching hour of 3 am the following day so sleeping before midnight was a real treat! But whatever time I went to la la land I always wake up the same time, before the rooster even which tells me I must be getting old 😄. Who cares anyway? Definitely not me!
Anyway, fully awake now I checked my phone and saw the little WordPress, WhatsApp and Facebook icon giving notice that people actually read my post. Well the WhatsApp message was something else but I am pleased with who I saw, and read and I liked them. Especially in Facebook because these are people that I personally know and knows me back.
The first three women who liked my FB post are the three women that I admire myself.
We encountered life and work together and actually a fourth even reached out to me privately when I posted my poem Falling In The Cracks. She offered to listen but all I could reply was “Thanks Amel” because I know even without telling she knows what I am feeling.
Then I saw this quote fitting tribute to the friends I made over the years.
It is not really the number of friend you have that matters its the quality and the bonds you made together.
It doesn’t matter how often you see or talk to each other its the feeling that you know they are there no matter what.
There is always that invisible tie that binds friends together and its truly great to know that the binds are made of gold thread that is priceless like that of families.
Entering the fourth month of my recovery means that I am almost there. In fact, according to the textbook, I am past the 3-month bone healing process, I should be on my way to walking independently until fully recovered
My last radiographic imaging showed that my bones were healing well. They were aligned perfectly, and my doctor gave me very positive commendation on how much progress I am making. He might just see me once a month instead of two, and that is a good sign, right?
When I say fully recovered means, more flexibility in my left ankle and no more swelling. But I still have both, and yesterday when I attended my therapy session it made me appreciate more the small changes I observed in me.
In the last months, I suffered what you will call “psychological breakdown.” Nothing serious where I need to seek professional help, I guess living with my family helps breaks my downward plunge but then if I am alone I am not able to do anything productive except maybe read a lot of books and start this blog.
It happened when I thought I made a mistake in my attempt to recover early. I told you I am my own worst patient, and I didn’t follow my own prescription and pushed myself too much. When I was not entirely satisfied with my therapy sessions, not getting good results, I increased my home treatment.
One day I started to feel pain when stepping on my left foot and attempted walking. I thought I was just tired and iced it. It didn’t improve with ice and rest, and even when I put on my aircast, I still felt pain when I put my foot down. Got more worried when I was not able to do proper gait training during my therapy session because of illness. I reported to my doctor, anticipating I made my situation worse and all knowledge and reasons I know are thrown out of the window!
No, it was brought on by me still walking on partial weight-bearing, and my forefoot and longitudinal arch are tight. All my doctor did was stretch it, it was painful, but it helped as if I didn’t have pain after all.
With that painful episode, it became a trigger for me to be getting down and worried, thinking about how pathetic my life is and replaying how I came to be in this situation. I noticed a trigger … the thought of work, of some name or words related to my life before the accident triggered these melancholic episodes that made me dive in and swim in “self-pity.” I wrote about it in my other blog Bouts of frustrations, boredom and a little bit of self-pity
So what now?
I am trying to crawl back out. To get back into looking at what I needed to do and finish what needs to be done soon.
My spirit actually lifted because of 4 degrees increased in my dorsiflexion. It means that I have 6 more degrees to go to reach the full range of 20. That motivates me to be more positive and do more careful exercises at home not that I also decreased my therapy sessions. I am trying again to be the good patient as I could be.
Additionally, I decided its time to be functionally independent in self-care. It means I am doing it alone overcoming the fear of slipping again and planning on my new shower routine without breaking my bones. That’s for another blog.😉
I am living for six days in my new house in Sidi Bou Said in Tunisia few days after the new year when the accident happened. The house that I fought to get because the people that were supposed to help me settle in my new country didn’t actually help. The moment I saw the house it was for me, I felt at home immediately even if I know I will only stay for two short months working remotely for my work in Turkey.
It was also not a hard decision to make because the house and its owners speak for itself. The owners are good people, and with my accident, they’ve proven to be angels in disguise.
As I settle in that first week, I slowly develop my daily morning routine – waking up at the crack of dawn, take showers and get the coffee running. To be followed by simple breakfast of bread and jam and more coffee. Then I set up my workstation in the smallish dining area, roughly around mid-morning, the time my work country is also starting their day. In the afternoon, I would go out to walk around the small town, get something to eat or simply watch the people as they come back from the city center.
On the 6th day, I woke up earlier than usual and cannot go back to sleep, so I decided to just take a shower and catch up on work earlier than usual.
I didn’t do anything different, including stepping on the rubber mat that was in front of my shower box since day one but for some reason, the mat slipped under my feet, and I found myself sitting on the bathroom floor with my legs in two separate places … the right leg was in front of me while the left leg was inside the shower box. The moment I looked at my feet, I knew something was wrong, I felt no pain, but I was pretty sure my ankle was dislocated. I saw my left foot slightly off further to the left, away from my leg bones compared to my right leg.
I was jolted awake because as if I was sleepwalking when it happened. It took me a couple of minutes to get my thoughts in order and my bearing to get dressed again before I called for help. Luckily there’s a grab bar next to the door; it helped me get back up, balancing on my right leg avoiding weight bearing on the left side.
I started hopping to my bedroom, holding on the wall to secure myself until I retrieved my phone. Reaching my room and my bed, I crawled to the other side close to the window. And propped myself on the French window, leaning my back on the wall while I raised my leg – thank God for pillows! Called the only friend I have (at the moment), who happens to be the logistics coordinator of the Libya mission whom I knew would be also up and getting ready for work and said “I need help, I had an accident, bring me to the hospital please,”
I called my landlord right after, and in short time the couple was in my house fussing around me genuinely concerned making me feel comfortable while we wait for the car.
I am not a superstitious person, but I believe that sometimes the world has a way of telling us the future.
Days after I arrived in Tunisia I started inquiring about logistics condition for expatriates, the information that should be readily available to share with anyone visiting the county particular on police and hospitals. As bureaucracy would have it, I didn’t get that information and then the accident happened.
My friend E also doesn’t know where we should go in an emergency situation, the information was provided by my landlord. Fifteen minutes tops we were at the emergency room of the only private hospital in the area known to the diplomatic and expatriate community (but not to my organization – efficient!). It offered quality services, I could attest to it with the services I received the week I stayed there before I was evacuated to the Philippines.
But then, when I think of it now, I may have had a premonition that I will be needing medical services and eventually I did. I don’t know what could have happened had I not asked for that information in the first place. But then again, premonition or not accidents do happen, and I attributed this one to be just that, an accident.
More than dislocation …
Forty-five minutes after the accident, as I scooted down my house and hoped to the car, I waited another hour to get confirmation of my predicament.
While I wait for the results of my x-ray, and my friend and landlord were preparing to find me a room, my ankle starts to swell. It could have been worse if I didn’t apply my knowledge of acute trauma management.
The moment of truth arrived, after waiting for almost an hour since I arrived in the emergency room — my ankle was not only dislocated but by leg bones are broken. It was explained to me with by the nurse in broken English because I neither speak Arabic nor French and them English, but the x-ray plate says it all regardless of my background.
For those who care to know — the fibula which is the smaller non-weight bearing bone of the leg and the tibia which forms part of the ankle joint, the main weight-bearing joint is broken.
I was shaken a bit because I was still hoping until I saw the x-ray that they would just have to reset my ankle, and I will be in a cast and be on my way but no, the breaks are big and I will need surgery to fix it.
I had no choice, but to accept my situation. It was not a difficult decision to make, I will need the surgery whether I like it or not but I was worried I was alone in a foreign land. All sorts of thoughts run through my head, but I was assured by my landlord that they will not leave me alone — they officially announced in the hospital that I am their adopted daughter. They assured me too that the doctor that would handle my case is a renowned specialist known in the country (even a little bit of a celebrity).
Late in the afternoon, I was out of the operating room like nothing happened. I was awake during the 2-hour surgery, didn’t feel any pain but was very thirsty. When they transferred me to my room, ( was happy to see my adoptive patents waiting for me as if I was indeed one of their own children.