Re-hab Frustration - Sarah K Smith Photography

Re-hab Frustration - 26 December 2014

Labyrinth Rocks, Pohara, Golden Bay, NZ

Labyrinth Rocks, Pohara, Golden Bay, New Zealand

Having two feet and legs to carry you around is a blessing that many take for granted. It isn’t until you loose one of them or both of them that you realise how much you miss them. I know I am not the first person to suffer a broken leg and I won’t be the last. I also realise that there are people who have lost the use of their legs permanently and that they have had to adapt their daily lives accordingly. This is a process that I know nothing of and don’t pretend to. However, for those who have had the fortune to only temporarily loose the use of their legs, the rehab can be frustrating.

On being released from my cast I knew the hard work would really begin. Getting the ligaments, muscles and tendons working as they should, after 6 weeks immobilisation, is a painful task, physically and psychologically.

Many of my friends reminded me constantly to be gentle on my leg, to push it, but not too hard. With their wise words in mind I told myself that I will start off with short walks.

So it was on Christmas Day that my family and I went for a short walk (at least it was by my standards). I woke up on Boxing Day limping around, while the rest of the family talked of going for another walk on the Abel Tasman Track. 

Given I was only 2 weeks out of cast, I accepted that I had to take it easy. The day before I did take it easy, at least by my ‘normal’ standards. However, my leg was grumbling that it wasn’t easy enough. I had to take it even easier? Was that even possible? 

A war was breaking out in my head, physically if I went on this walk I would be pushing my grumpy leg even further. Psychologically, I wanted to go on a longer walk to be in  ‘my happy place’. Ironically, the one thing I would normally do to relax when stressed is go for a walk. I couldn’t, walking wasn’t relaxing at all, in fact it hurt like hell. I broke down!

Aligning wants and desires with reality can be difficult. My breaking down was the outward expression of that and is part of the process when recovering from injury. (Although knowing that doesn’t make it any easier!). So far, throughout my recovery, the psychology of injury has always been present, it is unseen and because of this it is often forgotten by those around you. I struggle with its challenges constantly.

The situation I found myself in was the reality check I needed as I set out ‘flip-flopping around New Zealand’, the practical application of the wise words 'to push it, but no too hard’!

Gathering myself together, my supportive family understood the battle and assured me that we could find something that would work for everyone. And so it was that we headed to Totaranui for a picnic, a short walk, a paddle at Awaroa Inlet and refreshing drinks at Toto’s Café and Gallery. All within my capabilities!

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