Boulevard of Broken Bones
If you follow me on social media, you’ll know by now that I’ve broken my leg. And my ankle. I won’t get into the how or the where. That’s not important. What is important is that this soldier is down. Code red. Officer compromised. Mother, interrupted. If I wanted to downplay it, then I wouldn’t bother telling you that a) the pain was up there with the final, writhing moments of childbirth and b) the surgery which ensued may result in buzzing metal detectors and much frisky business in airports, going forward.
Mostly though, in reality, I’m grand. That’s what we say when any sort of unfortunate event befalls us, isn’t it? ‘Sure, it’s grand. I’m grand. We’re all grand.’ We dial up the martyrdom and remind ourselves of how much worse it could’ve been. And rightly so. Nobody’s sick, nobody’s dying, the bones will heal. And sure didn’t Fidelma from up the road break an arm, a leg and her collar bone when she fell off the ladder doing her gutters?
My ‘tough break’ has resulted in increased time on my ass and thus, increased time to reflect. Quite the learning experience, really…
What I’ve Learned
1. Mess is not the end of the world.
Crumbs, neglected laundry, unwashed pots, missing shoes and the ignored stair pile are not things to shed actual tears over. For once, you have a legit excuse. Let it go. Nobody cares. Embrace the mayhem. Hire a cleaner.
2. Emotional unpredictability is standard.
When you’re laid up, in pain and on the good meds, all bets are off. Hysteria, tears, angry frustration and taking to the bed are all entirely the prerogative of the injured party.
3. Too much social media will kill you.
Or, at the very least, it will give you rage. Facebook posts and Instagram photos of friends living their best lives, using all of their functioning limbs with smug abandon is not good for the souls of the infirm and incarcerated. It’s entirely acceptable to unfriend or unfollow anyone selfish enough to flaunt their enjoyment of the great outdoors while you fall deeper down the lonely rabbit hole of mediocre True Crime in a darkened, airless room.
4. Marital contract small print is binding.
The ‘in sickness and in health’ clause is pushed to its limits by unrelenting demands on the part of the injured for the delivery of meals, beverages, aforementioned drugs and remote controls. On top of those are the demands of the small people; the feeding, the dressing, the bathing, the lunch making, the refereeing, the placating. Only the strongest survive. Mr C is strong. I think. In fact, as I type, he’s singing while making a curry. Yeah, he’s good. We’re good. Phew.
5. Women know how to rally.
When one of their crew is compromised, the sisterhood comes into its own. Lasagnes, curries and cooked chickens appear on doorsteps. Flowers are delivered, soda bread is baked, hampers are ordered and school runs are divvied out in hushed tones. The generosity of spirit of your parental tribe in times of crisis is truly astounding.
6. Said female helpers won’t be thanked.
Gratitude is met with continuous understatement of the role played and an assurance that they love cooking multiple meals/emptying your dishwasher/adding two more kids to the chaos of their already heaving car. Words of thanks are evaded, repelled or rebuffed. It’s OK though. They know you’d do the same.
7. Always prepare for the unthinkable.
The bizarre obsession our own mothers had with sending us to bed in clean underwear in case the house went on fire has an adult, female equivalent and it’s this: Always, ALWAYS shave your legs before going out and, when wearing trousers, never apply Sally Hansen to the visible foot area only. Ever.
You just never know when eleven medical professionals will get up close and personal with your bare lower limb before sunrise.
With a massive thank you to the fabulous folk who’ve stepped up when I couldn’t. You know who you are. I owe you. x