These are my lessons from an invalid! As I mentioned in a previous blog, I recently broke my ankle (http://wp.me/p1le37-6Z). It’s only been a few days, but I’ve already had a few insights that I thought I’d share.
It’s great to have tools, but they need to work seamlessly. I was given a pair of crutches when I left the hospital. Granted, they’ve come a long way, baby, going from heavy wood years ago to today’s nice light aluminum. However, they aren’t perfect. Just to point out two problems.
First, crutches made today are very smooth. If you need to stop and do something, and temporarily need to lean the crutches anywhere, they slip to the floor 9 times out of 10. Um, leaning over to pick up crutches is NOT something someone who needs crutches should be doing. Wouldn’t it be a simple matter for crutches to have one side that is rough, so crutches could be placed next to counters, tables, etc. and they wouldn’t slide to the floor?
Also, both hands are required in order to move around with crutches – your hands are both busy actually propelling your body from place to place. So crutches do not allow the invalid to carry something, which is required if no one is around to help. I’ve come up with some ingenious ways to get coffee, for example, from my kitchen to my office, but bottom line, if I had the proper tool to begin with, I wouldn’t need workarounds. How hard would it be for crutch manufacturers to add, for example, a small hook on the side of the crutch for holding bags?
Bottom line here – you need the right tools to make any job the most efficient. Do you have all the right tools to take care of your business?
It’s not always the visual disability that’s the problem. It’s obvious to anyone who sees me that I have a problem with my foot/ankle. And yes, my ankle hurts, especially when I accidentally tap it into something or move it the wrong way. BUT, the REAL problem in terms of pain are my arms, shoulders, back and legs, in other words, the rest of my body.
I’ve had to support my weight mostly with my arms as I move around on my crutches. I’m using muscles I haven’t really worked out. Same with my upper back muscles and my shoulders. The thigh on the leg with the broken ankle is getting a lot of work since I have to move that leg mostly using my thigh. And my non-broken leg is taking all my weight when I’m standing or moving. The first morning after my accident my “good” leg was shaky and I had to be really careful getting around. The second morning after my accident, my arms were screaming at me. I’m feeling stronger today, on morning #5, but my ankle is splinted and besides throbbing a bit, it’s not really the major issue I’m dealing with.
I think the lesson here is that there may be things bothering the people we’re working with or talking to that are not obvious. They may be physical. They may be emotional. Practice tolerance and patience with everyone.
There’s nothing wrong with asking for assistance. I have always done everything myself; I’m very independent. I grew up with the knowledge that no one was going to do things for me; I had to do for myself. And I have. I am now in a position where I am forced to ask for help, because there are things I simply cannot physically do. I don’t like this change at all. But, what I’ve found is most people actually don’t mind helping because it puts them in a position to give. And believe it or not, most people feel better when they’re helping others.
So as long as you’re asking politely, and you really need the help, ask! Whether that means asking a top producer in the office for tips on how they handle expired listings, or it means asking someone who has an awesome Facebook page for tips, or it means asking someone who is going to the store to pick up something for you, go for it. If they don’t help you, ask someone else.
Nothing beats having a circle of support. This one really doesn’t need a lot of explanation, but having a circle of people who care about you (because you care about them of course) is absolutely invaluable when the chips are down.
So my thought follows. Never get too busy to spend quality time with your family and friends! Those are the only people that will really matter when it matters.
I’m sure I’ll have more insights as time goes on. Today I’ll find out how long my cast will need to remain on, so there may be plenty of time for more lessons from this invalid.