COLUMNS Word & Wisdom

Forty Days in the Desert

I broke my ankle September 21, had closed reduction then had open reduction and pins and a plate put in on the 23rd in Portland. I sit here, about 2 weeks after the event, with a “boot” on my lower leg. I will going to and from work via Dial-A-Ride. Friends have walked my dogs, provided food. My life has ground to a standstill. I am physically debilitated, dependent and often on my couch in a bland unhappiness.

This is new for me. There’s not much I can do about any of this, except count the days. (26 days until I go for physical therapy, to start walking again.) Prioritze. Today I go to my game and puzzle store. So getting upstairs in a timely fashion to dress is on my to-do list. That’s my life.

But, like any solitary journey into a desert, there’s realities and thoughts that finally have time and space to come to the forefront.

Living in my house, on the couch mostly, I am aware of its shabbiness. At  this first awareness, I was dismal,  But after a bit I decided shabbiness can be resolved to some degree. Not today but soon…

Work. If I don’t go in to man the store, money falls behind. That might be something to address in the future, getting disability insurance. Work on a reserve savings? In any case, and like many of my peer group, I should not have to worry so much about money. A problem to be solved somehow.

If I complained about the everydayness of my life prior to this ankle break, and I did, I am learning there’s a new kind of everydayness. Getting out of bed and down the stairs is a hurdle. Getting a cup of coffee made and in a cup to the couch while on crutches is time-consuming and physically draining.

So I’m doing the countdown until I go for walking therapy. I will live with what is for right now. I will get through one day at a time, knowing that every day I am that much closer to walking. Knowing also that just getting through the day is about all I can do, and that’s okay.

Counselor’s advice:  First- don’t break your ankle! (Take care of yourself. It might make any healing an easier chore.) Be aware of your whole life. My home living space received minimal attention. I didn’t realize until I actually spent days on my own couch. Finally, I know I would not have survived, and I mean this literally, if it were’t for people. From the friend at dance class who drove me to the ER (and it turned out to be a day-long event) to my out-of-town friend who picked me up in Portland and announced she was spending a few days to tend to me, to the friends who brought me lunch, walked the dogs, checked my mail…. the list goes on. The human factor was comforting.

As alone as one may feel and appear, the world is out there.

Tobi Nason is a counselor in Manzanita who is currently nursing a broken ankle and resolving big issues while dozing on the couch…..

By Tobi Nason

Tobi is a Manzanita counselor.