Last night I dreamed that I got up on two feet and tried to make bagels for my parents. The bagels were frozen so I MICROWAVED THEM! Any good New Yorker knows how completely horrible a crime this would be. Why do we do terrible things in dreams? Anyway, in addition to microwaving the bagels, I also stepped around on my left leg - an act expressly forbidden by my surgeon. When I looked down at the leg in my dream it was bent and flimsy - a pale withered stick on the end of my body. Then I woke up. My leg was bent in an uncomfortable position and it hurt.
One of the emotions I'm struggling with since my accident is guilt. I have been transformed overnight into a completely dependent person. I'm a serious nuisance. My parents have stopped everything to come and take care of me. My co-workers are patiently dealing with my absence. My friends have actually ridden the 7-Train to Queens to visit me.
Two days ago, at my surgeon's office, I asked him, "What would have happened to me if my parent's weren't here to help?" He looked blankly at me, like he had never thought about such a thing, and then said, "I don't know? Maybe moved in with a friend?"
I spoke to a woman in my benefits department who also broke her leg last spring. She is older than me, and her son works full-time, so she had to spend several weeks in a rehab center. They gave her a tool to help her put socks on. YIKES.
I haven't worn socks much lately. When I do, Mom helps.
I try to do little things for myself. My stuff (computer, novel, art supplies etc) is all near the bed so I can reach for it without bugging anyone. A physical therapist showed me how to get into the shower on my own (though Mom stays nearby in case I fall). I try not ask for things too often.
Don't you hate the phrase "practicing self-care"? Its' so nauseatingly first-world-yogi-privileged. But it's for real. We need to do it. In my case, self-care is all about acceptance. My leg is broken. I'm not going to be really useful or productive for several more weeks. That needs to be OK by me, because there isn't really an alternative. It's not forever. When I get up on two feet, I'm going to try to be really really nice to people, but let's face it: all the baked goods in the world are not going to make it even.
Last weekend, my friend, Kellie, came to visit and she brought me postcards and a list of voters in Alabama. So I wrote postcards to strangers asking them to vote for Doug Jones. It was fun and it made me feel a little useful.
Let's face it, even when my leg isn't broken, I struggle to be a useful person.
My eBay store is still up. I can't add to the inventory, because I can't go shopping or stand up and take pictures. However, I'm going to do a little more to highlight the good stuff in the collection. My eBay store has always made me feel useful. Is it weird that I personify the clothes? Sometimes, I'll find something wonderful but under-appreciated - like a vintage Irish tweed coat cruelly abandoned in the clearance bin at Goodwill. I will feel sorry for the coat. It was born for better things. I'll take it home, wash it and iron it, and the coat will be transformed into a show-stopper. Then a teenager in Minnesota will buy it and swan around her small town looking one-of-a-kind. Or, at least, that's how I imagine the outcome...
You know who else wants to be useful? My dog, Oliver. He's always looking for work - mostly in security. Every morning he gazes out my bedroom window for squirrels and barks hysterically if one gets too close. He also wastes considerable energy intimidating delivery people. Most of his conscious "work" is worse than useless - it's a nuisance. However, he gets one job very right. He's super cuddly. Whenever he curls up next to my feet, I feel loved.