One sunny day, you too, could be stepping off a curb right into a broken foot, like I did, just a few weeks ago. Isn’t that the most morose thought you’ve had to consider today? You’re welcome!
But if (when) you arrive at that literal twist in the road, I want to be a helpful place to turn. A shoulder for you to rest your weary head upon. And though, I’m probably a little too short to have that be very physically comfortable for you, I have firsthand experience within a broken foot. Because I broke mine.
So, as a gift to you, let me provide the details of the next six to eight weeks of your life.
Congratulations, you broke your foot! You are embarking on a journey of terrific proportions!
If I sound falsely cheerful there, it’s because I’m lying. This journey is a first class ticket to Suckville and I’m your tour guide.
Now let’s begin.
The first thing you absolutely must do is cry. From the moment you are injured until you are fully depleted of tears and dehydrated. Weep across the desk of the urgent care admitting clerk, snuffle loudly in the vinyl seats of the waiting room. Look down at your rapidly swelling foot and moan. Make painful faces to anyone who meets your eye, especially young children. Shake your head sadly while uttering the statement, “I don’t have time for any of this,” to every single member of medical personnel you encounter. When they tell you that you must wear a cast for the next 6 weeks of your life, fling yourself desperately off the exam table. This is the beginning of the end of your life as you know it, and I’m no doctor, but I’m kinda sure your primitive primal hypothalamus or something like that just caught a whiff of what’s in store and is warning you of impending danger. Run, your primitive brain is yelling. Except it’s more like the Twilight zone— because you can’t run, let alone walk. Your foot is broken, did I already have to remind you about that?
After you are fully through the cry stage, you will pass into Stage 2. Some professionals in the mental health industry like to term Stage 2 as “DENIAL.” I prefer to refer to it as “FOOLISHLY OPTIMISTIC.” Once you’ve consumed all the ice cream and strawberry Nutrigrain bars (fiber is now your bosom friend) in the house, you will become positively convinced the medical doctor with 8 to 10 more years of college than you made a huge mistake. He’s underestimated you and your magical healing bones. He doesn’t know about your tenacity to overcome daunting odds, like the time you made drum major of the marching band your senior year in high school. You will not take 6-8 weeks to recover, you will break the shackles of your lead weight “air cast” way sooner than expected. You decide that you absolutely must be bopping around on two solid feet in 2-3 weeks max. Watch me heal, doc.
Stage Three, based on my research*, is where praying and vitamin supplements make their appearance approximately 93 percent of the time.** Over the last few weeks of your life, many people have stopped you to chat—now that you are wearing a cast and possibly wheeling around on a one-knee scooter/contraption of despair, you are slow. Those chatty senior citizens that you once could speedily—smugly–avoid, can surpass you with little effort. And because they are old and have multiple ailments, you will soon realize that senior citizens know a lot about SUPPLEMENTS. SUPPLEMENTS will take new importance in your now incredibly pathetic life. You will begin to think Joe, the sprightly geriatric drugstore cashier, is on to something when he goes on and on about the merits of magnesium. Betty, who is surprisingly quick with that walker, swears by fish oil. And did you know cinnamon is very helpful in treating high blood sugar and erectile dysfunction? Perhaps you’re saying, “I don’t have diabetes and my penis works just fine, thank you.” But come on, bro—you clearly have the propensity to break bones and regularly hang out at pharmacies and doctor’s offices these days, I thought I might give you that little bit of info to ferret away. You never know, pal.
As for the praying part of Stage Three, your new elderly friends from the pharmacy, Bertha and Claude invited you to join them at their church this Sunday. And since you’re clearly not otherwise engaged, take some time out of your busy schedule of watching Game Show Network and join them. Donuts, coffee and a spirited discussion about SUPPLEMENTS in the church basement await afterward. These are your new favorite things in life, my gimpy friend. Face your truth.
Stage Four is where you realize nothing—not the vitamins, not the prayers, not the daily pint of Ben and Jerry’s—is making your foot heal any faster. Incidentally, Stage Four is also about the time when your family stops feeling sorry for you. It took you twenty minutes to dig up that clean outfit for your son to wear to school this morning? You were literally crawling on your hands and knees in the kitchen to make your daughter a salami sandwich for lunch? Tough luck, broken lady. He’s not wearing those shorts because “they’re too scratchy” and NEWSFLASH, yesterday your daughter became a vegan. Are you crying in a heap on the hallway floor over these late-breaking developments? Your family will just step over you. Ain’t nobody got time for wailing mom on day 56 of her foot injury.
Stage Five is ACCEPTANCE, but is also known, at least in my personal sphere, as Porch Purgatory. With a lack of more important/better things to do and surrounded by others who unwittingly taunt you with their ease of mobility and two perfect feet, you will turn your interest to your community. By this, I mean, during Stage Five you will sit on the front porch and spy on your neighbors. There is a hell of a lot happening on your “quiet” suburban street that you’ve been missing while you were busy participating in real life. Find a shady tree with a great view of the neighborhood to plant your quickly-widening rear end behind. Eavesdrop…er, just casually listen. Report all juicy gossip back to me, immediately.
Stage Six brings the occasion of your six week follow up appointment with the doctor. It’s been a long time coming and you’re incredibly excited. After all, you’ve been waiting for this day for…well, six weeks. Maybe you can catch a ride with Claude to the medical center, he’s going to be there all day (his rash is getting worse) and really appreciates the company.
But, the news from your appointment is bad (albeit not as bad as Claude’s sores) and you’re going need some support.
Two more weeks in the cast, says the jerk doctor, with a cheerful smile on his jerk face.
And so, you must return to Stage One. Commence with the crying.
Didn’t I tell you this list would come in handy? When you are even remotely mobile again, you can walk on over here and thank me. I’m probably in the yard though, spying on the neighborhood,
It’s all I’ve got going for me these days, and besides. There’s only room for one sad broken person behind this shady tree.
And it looks like I’m going to be here for…awhile.
*this research was made up by me
**according to my research*