My achilles tendon and me.

Want to know why winter 2017 was better than 2018? I had two functioning achilles tendons. NEVER take those suckers for granted as you all settle in for seven weeks of what I like to call a tragi-comedy of nausea, fatigue, and wanting to punch people. Independence no comprende!

I mean winters are shit, but these past few months have just been cruel.

Lot’s of lying on the ground feeling sorry for myself, constantly trying not to think about all of the magnificent pirouettes I could be doing or fantasising about a decent night’s sleep.

I couldn’t sneak off or sneak anywhere for a happy meal at the golden arches for example (which ironically didn’t make me feel any happier) because of the grey sticks of doom that were allowing me to ‘walk’. I have permanent calluses on my hands now and I wish I could say I acquired them after lifting 200kg or building a deck.

But every good tragi-comedy always starts with an introduction, and this was mine…
Playing the sport I love on any other brisk Saturday afternoon has always been one of my favourite past times, but clearly not on the seventh day in July. It was just like any second quarter when I made the fatal mistake of STEPPING BACKWARDS. What happened next was what I could only describe as a car backfiring and the opposition hatching a plan to karate chop me in the back of the leg. Safe to say, turning around and witnessing neither of these things while gracefully falling to the ground in utter shock/pain/confusion/fear was an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Approximately an hour and 40 minutes later I was in a white back slab cast, high on codeine and in a wheel chair. And the rest is history… I WISH.

Now I like to think I’m pretty sound of mind. But following this series of unfortunate events (c),  some would however consider me a depressed alcoholic who cannot stop worrying about wearing out too many of her left shoes. I haven’t felt the cold in two months, because everything is such a goddamn effort. I needed to shower myself straight after having a shower, and I had to do a Dora the Explorer if I had any hope of transporting anything. And when I did get some consistent nights of sleep, my dreams consisted of me walking, running, and playing netball. My subconscious was not on my side.

Recovery for an achilles tendon is long and arduous (it ain’t no walk in the park, excuse the sick joke). Particularly when you decide to snap your right one, sentencing you to being chauffeured everywhere for seven weeks. Turns out that tendon is quite vital for a number of things, like walking, having a calf muscle that doesn’t wobble like a set bowl of jelly and playing sport, which alas has sentenced me to 12 months of no netball aka community service. And the worst part is when you get those people who feel sorry for you (bless their hearts) in your first few vulnerable weeks – “this is just a set back”, “you’ll come back fitter and stronger” blah blah blah. And you know all of these things are true, but in that moment you feel like it’s never going to get better and that life could not get any worse, very non-dramatic of me I know.

I was in a cast for 4 weeks, and then into an adjustable moon boot that was a literal god send for shaving, sleeping and just general hygiene purposes. And now seven weeks later, I have managed to ditch the crutches and get a full range of flexibility in my foot. The pain initially was a constant throbbing which ibuprofen certainly attended to. Now it just feels like I haven’t stretched my leg in seven weeks (go figure?!) You take on board the advice of your fellow ship mates who have been in the same boat, and some range from “I’ve been too scared to play netball again”, to “She’ll be right mate get back on that horse”.
Special mention also goes out to the “What did you do to yourself!” “Ohhhh, you poor thing!” No no no, did you not hear? This is all a publicity stunt and I like making life difficult for myself.

I’m somewhere in the middle and really focusing on doing this rehab and recovery stuff properly (and losing the sarcasm to go with it), which isn’t like me at all, and I guess this has been a bit of a shift in focus with a side of wake up call. You can’t do it all, and you need to listen to your body. I would have given anything to go back to the gym or get a sweat band on and gallop around the block for shits and gigs. But what would be the point? Your body needs to heal and healing takes time. The fact that a tendon this large can rejoin with my heel is simply mind blowing. Never underestimate the power of the human body, I say. I take my figurative hat off to it.

In saying all of this dear diary poor me palava, there have also been some immense positives in this journey. My support network were (although walking) talking sunbeams. Total A+ in delightfulness, optimism, helpfulness and warmth. Because of who I am, (an active, cartwheeling optimist dipped in healthy cynicism) I honestly thought this would break me. And I certainly nearly got to that point and momentary lapse in charm. But alas, after seven weeks I am now walking (with a hint of peg leg) and looking towards the future.

You can acknowledge the bad days. Because when you suffer such an injury and can’t function day-to-day that really sucks. And then get on with life, and do good work, and be grateful, and be present in all the great stuff you get to do and have, and think about what you can offer others and do next. This makes for a fantastic life, but also you’re in a much better flow for good stuff to happen because you’re projecting abundance, and you’re feeling abundant and so you welcome more of it. Etc etc. A date breeds another date and so on. Like attracts like. One foot in front of the other (ha ha).

I’ll be back, don’t you worry. (But also I need to be because I’m flying to Europe in eight weeks, EEEK!)

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