Well, what a plonker. As if the summer of COVID wasn’t already stressful enough, I decided to turbo-charge the hassle by snapping my left leg in half trying to ‘surf’ down a toddler slide in my own back garden.
If anyone’s wondering why I’ve been quiet on this blog the past two months (just kidding, I know nobody will have noticed), that’s because they’ve blurred by in a mixture of intense pain, intense boredom, and even more intense shame at being such a Grade A chump.
From what I remember during the morphine-induced haze after my thoroughly self-induced accident (something called a ‘spiral fracture’ that splintered my leg into a few different shapes), I had a 5-hour operation to insert a metal rod from knee to ankle, followed by five pretty lonely days in hospital. I’ve now spent the last eight weeks doing my best to be some kind of use around the house and am finally seeing a bit of light at the end of tunnel.
Considering where I was 2 months ago, sitting on my lawn, holding my lower leg together with my bare hands, wondering if I’d potentially ruined my life, I feel very lucky. I never had to wear a cast, I had the dressing taken off after two weeks, I’m able to walk easily with crutches or a slightly hilarious limp, and have been out pedalling my bike for the past couple of weeks. And before all that, my elderly neighbour Bob even lent me his mobility scooter so I could trundle into town and feed the ducks!
I went swimming in the sea last Friday, cycled and played with the boys in the park all weekend, and am slowly starting to feel like I did before the accident. Just with a lot more metal in my leg!
But me sitting on my backside and waiting for my body to heal itself has been the easy bit. The not so easy bit has been trying to both entertain the two insane boys who have been busy destroying our house for the past few months. Sonny (4) and Dougie (1) were both in the house 24 hours a day during at least the first month of my recovery/endless moaning session, and they didn’t care that I was injured.
They still wanted non-stop attention all day every day, and as a result of me being so pathetic, the bulk of our family living a 3-hour drive away, and the seemingly endless cycle of lockdown restrictions, that all landed on one person.
Enter Super-Mum Gemma, who’s basically had three helpless kids to deal with for the past two months. Me being the worst one by far. I know lockdown has been tough for everyone, but it’s felt seriously intense in our house. Our lads are at a tough age. Both have relentless energy and the three-year age gap means they always want different things, pretty much every second that they’re awake.
I honestly thought that once the pain of the leg break started to fade (which took around three weeks) I’d be as good as back to normal and able to help out around the house. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Six weeks after the operation I was still completely whacked out, struggling to get out of bed in the morning, and struggling to stay awake when I did.
I was finding it hard to focus on work (and I usually love work!), felt weirdly emotional, and the best word I could use to describe my personality was flat. I had no drive at all and couldn’t motivate myself to do much more than eat enough food to get myself through each day, play with the kids as much as I could physically handle, then go back to bed. It was soul-destroying.
I’m a squeamish guy, always have been, and the flashback memory of the sight, sound and the feeling of my leg breaking has been ingrained in my mind ever since it happened. I probably still picture it 5-10 times a day, flinch, shudder, then have to calm myself down over about 10 seconds. Not good.
A couple of weeks ago I was worried it had really damaged me mentally. I’m usually a fairly positive guy and don’t let much get in my way, but I didn’t feel myself at all. I was short-tempered, low on motivation and basically down in the dumps. Then all of a sudden things just started to click again, and for the past fortnight I’ve felt physically and mentally stronger every day.
I’ve got no idea why. Maybe the impact of the initial trauma and surgery is finally wearing off. Maybe I’ve just finally started to come to terms with what happened. And maybe my body just needed a couple of months to sort itself out and take a bit of a break. And maybe (this is the most likely explanation) I should have actually listened to the surgeon when he told me to take more time off work to rest and recuperate properly. At least now I’ll know for next time!
If you’re still reading, I’m amazed. I’ve written this blog to give myself a bit of a kick up the arse and motivate myself to start doing the things I enjoy doing. Like writing this blog! Next step will be canoeing, then a bit of camping, and a couple of months hopefully I’ll have forgotten all about my lost summer.
Until I next try to walk through an airport scanner, that is…