Reality Check

Roberta Heale, EBN Associate Editor @robertaheale

Tomorrow morning I’ll be going to an appointment with an orthopedic physician. Last week I twisted my ankle, fell and found out that I’d broken a chip off my right lateral malleolus. It’s been less than a week with a cast, but it’s been real eye-opening experience.

At first I was frustrated. To start, let’s discuss the crutches. What an enormous nuisance. Awkward, and almost dangerous when I first get out of bed still half asleep. Next, it’s my driving foot. I’ve been ‘trapped’ at home all week. Quite a shock for such an active person! However, after a few days passed I suddenly had a large dose of humble awareness.

I really don’t have it all that bad, in fact, I have very little to complain about. My husband has done all the cooking. He’s wrapped my leg up in plastic so I’m able to shower. Our house is several levels, but all the important bits are all on the main floor (bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, sitting room). Not only do I have amazing support and quick access to good healthcare, but I’m incredibly fortunate to have the physical strength to maneuver on the crutches and do my personal care myself. I also have the mental capacity to make my own decisions. I have a job which gives me the flexibility to work from home and great benefits to cover the cost of crutches and medications.

Since this realization I’ve taken a step back and decided to treat this time as a gift. I’ve been forced to slow down. I’m taking the time to heal and take the time to realize my blessings. I hope that this feeling stays with me when I re-enter my hectic life and that I realize that most of the patients I see don’t have the same benefits in their lives. I hope too, that I’ll be more aware of the need for my advocacy. It’s unfortunate that it takes a minor mishap to confirm for me how lucky I am, but if it makes me a better health care provider it’s well worth it.

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