Everyone knows time speeds up as you get older. There’s a theory that this occurs because every unit of time is progressively smaller in relation to one’s lifespan already lived. For a five-year-old child the wait until their next birthday seems interminable – it’s approaching one fifth of their life lived to date. At 60 years old, a year is only 1/61st to 1/60th of a life lived.
Whyever it happens, as we get older we usually wish time would do us a favour and just slow down a bit. We tell ourselves to enjoy every moment, as the birthdays accelerate relentlessly towards us. Where have the last few years gone?… “You think it’s bad at 50?” exclaims my dad, “Wait til you’re 70!”.
So with a fractured limb, it seems somehow wrong to be wishing time away. How wicked at my time of life, when every leaking moment is so precious! But <whinge> everything sounds so far away: 2 weeks until the next X-ray; 4 weeks until the bones start to knit; 2 months until the splint can be removed; 3 months til you can drive again; 6 months to get back to running fitness; over a year to do weight-bearing exercise… And so on. The physio is going to drag on endlessly… </whinge>.
And yet, here’s where age-time-relativity (not a thing) kicks in: because with a broken arm, time is whizzing by. Since every single thing takes ages to complete with one damaged arm, before you know it, another day is over. Typing: one hand flying around the keypad, no matter how adroitly, is slow-going compared to two. More mistakes need to be corrected, some key combinations take a bit of working out to achieve. Unpacking the dishwasher one item at a time. Taking a shower…. Sheesh!
In fact I now wonder if that’s why time goes so fast for old folk. Because they can only fit a fraction of the tasks into one day that younger people can.
So I’ll simply take my time with everything. Hopefully I’ll be better in double-quick time!
As I fell, the thought which flashed through my mind was ‘Don’t crack your head!’ So I didn’t, which is a plus. I was surrounded by friendly faces who knew how to make me comfortable and to call an ambulance – which was lucky. My husband was at home and only ten minutes’ drive away, which was a bonus.
The journey to the hospital, as previously mentioned, could have been smoother, but at each bend or bump in the road I thought, ‘Thank goodness I only have one limb affected.’ I couldn’t help but remember, as I cradled my poorly arm in its loose sling, people whom I knew had suffered more than one fracture – my friend Marjory’s mum in a car crash last year, my friend Jilly and her daughters with brittle bones, a former colleague’s near-death motorbike crash… one break is bad enough, what on earth would multiple ones be like? Eek!
Then I started thinking about those movies where someone is called upon to escape or change location with a broken limb… and I’m thinking yeah, right, you’d never be able to do that! But it must happen in real life, there must be people who daily suffer in countless ways while also sustaining a fracture, who manage to get through it. Then I thought of people who don’t come out unscathed. The guy at our parkrun whose broken ankle became infected, leading to amputation of his lower leg; the friend of a colleague whose leg was in plaster when he developed thrombosis and died, and so on… I suddenly felt very fortunate indeed with my paltry broken humerus. I started thinking not of the things I would not be able to do, but the things I could *still* do, must try to get better for, and would challenge myself to do.
As the days have gone by I’ve felt very lucky in many other ways and continue to do so…
- It’s summer, so I don’t have to worry about dressing to keep warm. I can pad about barefoot and step into the garden for vitamin D
- I have a wonderful husband who goes out of his way to care for me
- I live in a civilised country with access to free healthcare.
- I don’t have small children to care for
- I don’t have pets to worry about
- It’s a clean, apparently uncomplicated, break
- I’m not ill in other ways. The thought of being sick and needing to vomit is a terrifying one when I can barely squat to pick things up from a coffee table, let alone kneel and stand again (I can’t lean off vertical at all – we’ll come to the ‘can’ts’ later!)
- I work at home – so can carry on best I can with my business while taking the time I need to rest
- Because I work at home I can slob about in whatever is most comfortable to wear
- I’m just coming to the end of a really busy period at work so there is an opportunity ahead to get some proper rest without feeling guilty
- I was reasonably fit at the time of my tumble. Although I’d had the infected leg, my history over the past three years includes lots of distance and trail running, some weight loss and strengthening exercises. This meant I recognised really quickly that squatting slightly and using my thighs to stand, get up and down from the loo, go up and down stairs etc, would be useful to me.
- I found my monster chair after five days in a hospice shop and it’s been a godsend.
- Lovely friends have rallied round to visit, keep me company, bring food, flowers, fruit, puzzles and activities and strapless sundresses.
Things could be so much worse. I’m a very lucky lady.