Broken Ankle Pt. 2: Week 1-4 of bed rest and boredom

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I entered and ushered in the year of 2015 with trepidation and sadness. Not every New Year's has to be happy and positive. Not saying that we shouldn't be optimistic, but we have every right to be sad, bitter and negative when we need to be I guess.

I am titanium!

Things you have to acknowledge during the beginning of your broken ankle journey:

1. Emotions
Having a broken leg, can get pretty emotional. Especially for people like me who feel guilty because my parents and grandparents have to do all kinds of things for me because I'm basically a handicap right now. It's tough. I'm also too hard on myself a lot of the time. I'm honestly feeling depressed. It's because of something else, but the bed rest and being stuck at home not being able to do anything adds salt to the wound. Things you used to love to do lose their appeal, the novelty of certain activities start to fade... and now nothing helps distract you from your overthinking mind and sad, cruel life. But! Don't let that get to you. Distract yourself, keep yourself busy....

2. Going out (including wardrobe)
And for me to go out, I have so many factors to consider/research about that I previously didn't even need to think about so much.
a) Whether the ground is even
b) Are there stairs/steps?
c) Is it going to rain or is the ground going to be wet/slippery?
d) Is there enough space in the restaurant for me to use my crutches/wheelchair?
e) Is there an elevator for convenience?
f) Is there disabled parking (if I choose to go to a mall)?
g) Is the location very far and do I have to walk a lot?
h) I can't wear pants/skirts anymore and I'm only left with shorts, but nothing matches?!

It's crazy. If it was raining, then I don't think I need to consider going out anymore because of how wet and slippery it's going to be for me. I slipped 3-4 times already, especially almost every time I walk up that slippery slope of death. It's so tired to get out of the house and get back. How sad is my social life. It's not that I don't want to go out, it's just really inconvenient, risk of re-injury is high and takes a lot of effort. And because of that I'm missing out on a lot of gatherings and outings :(

And your choice of wardrobe or outfits will significantly shrink. All you can wear now is shorts. I can't wear skirts or dresses because they're too short! Considering how inelegant and un-ladylike I am especially while using my crutches, it's best to stay away from skirts. Can't even wear jeans because of the splint/leg.

My parents brought me out for dinner one night, and it was so hard to pick a place to eat because the location mustn't have stairs, the ground must be even, the place must be easily accessible. And not to mention, it was raining. So when I actually got out and ate out, I felt good. The Wong Kok restaurant in Leisure Mall, great place for people using crutches to eat because it's right in front of the passenger-dropping area. Then of course, I came back home to a wet, slippery uphill slope to the entrance of my house and slipped... accidentally and instinctively putting weight on my non-weight bearing leg and it hurt like hell. It was traumatizing, I felt like I never wanted to ever go out again to avoid that from happening another time lol. It has also instilled a fear of stairs and slopes for me.

3. Recovery time/Cost
I'm really hoping nothing got moved inside my leg, everything is the way it should be and I'm not retarding in progress, because I cannot afford another x-ray and trip to the doctor's office which costs a bomb. This whole journey, I'm gonna have to worry about all that. As if the cost for everything isn't expensive enough and the time taken to fully heal isn't long enough. It's like being in prison, for example I'm sentenced to jail for 6 years, I definitely wouldn't want to add another 2 years on my jail sentence because 6 years is long enough.

4. Diet
It's bad enough I can't go out anymore... I can't even eat certain types of foods! The Western doctor is sympathetic, as he says I can anything I want. Not so many restrictions, except for eggs and seafood which is to prevent pus and pain for the wound. Chinese doctor said I couldn't eat spicy, sour and cold food. My very Chinese family also mentioned I had to stay away from chicken, beef and lamb. So basically, I can only eat fish, fruits and vegetables. I'm not ready to become a pescetarian, I miss my meat! And guys help me out here... oranges should be good for you because they contain a lot of antioxidants and Vitamin C which makes sense, however my family is telling me I can't eat oranges because they're sour (which I've been ignoring). Clash of information from the east and west. Also, I read that people recovering from these sort of injuries require 3x more the usual intake of calories as the bone, ligaments and tissue heal. Not sure if that's true. But I do admit, I feel hungry more often than usual.

5. Emotional Support
I did not realize, that there was a whole different world online when it came to people who suffered from broken limbs. One website I found extremely helpful was It was basically a community for people who broke their legs/ankles like me and found comfort in group support. There are diaries and recounts of their difficulties/trials, and also forums for us where we can post our insecurities, worries and questions, where people who faced the same predicament as us would respond with helpful advice. It's great to see such supportive communities, which are much needed in these trying times. It's common for general melancholy and depression to easily creep in because of the inability to the things we used to be able to do so effortlessly. We take it for granted! You never know how important it is until it's gone, and in this case it's my left leg. Also, thank God for Google.

6. Atrophy
Since the leg muscles are so unused because we're immobilized, we need certain exercises to break the cobwebs forming in our bones and muscles. My left leg calf muscles have already atrophied. It shrunk and looks really odd without that little bulge of muscle.

7. Nausea/constipation
I think I lucked out in the nausea area, because I've been reading how people feel horrible nausea/constipation and grogginess after consuming painkillers because their pain was unbearable. I am the first person you would think of to have nausea because I get dizzy so very easily. But surprisingly this time round, I did not suffer any nausea because of the leg, yay!

I do however, get nausea more when I travel in cars now for some reason. Mum drove me to Damansara one day and I just felt so nauseated during/at the end of the journey that I was close to puking. Not sure why, maybe it's because I haven't been in a long distance car journey for such a long time.

8. Sleep
I barely am able to sleep at night due to the horrible, sharp tingling pains from my heel/Achilles tendon area, ugh. I've been reading online and it also could be nerve damage?! What?? Or optimistically - it hurts from the constant pressure of resting your foot (which I think is what it is). Worst thing is, this is something painkillers can't help with. My doctor already put padding below my heel but it still hurts UGH.

9. Learning
I am the type of paranoid person, who would research (more like google) extensively about a certain topic before I delve into it or before I have to face it. Every single sensation I feel, I google it up and see what could be the potential diagnosis, and then freak myself out lol.  Basically, I'm a chronic worrier and I panic too much. But I learned new acronyms and terms like FWB and PWB, which meant full-weight bearing and partial-weight bearing. PT was physical therapy. I am now more familiar with the anatomy of my leg. I'm learning and educating myself with all these new things!

10. Mode of transport
I've also mastered the art of hopping around with one leg to get things or to get to the toilet. Crutches can get very tiring after a minute or two of continuous usage. Every step is deliberate and calculated to make sure you don't slip and fall. I wish I had a knee walker or wheelchair.

Talking about wheelchairs, they're pretty inconvenient too if you're going out somewhere. If there are steps, someone has to carry the wheelchair up. The wheelchair is so large there may not be space for you to wheel yourself to places. Therefore I use the crutches more often even though it's definitely more exhausting and gives a higher risk of re-injury.

11. Facilities/Driving for the disabled
I commiserate with people who have physical difficulties. You know how restaurants have features like being 'kid-friendly', all places should be 'handicap-friendly' too. The number of places I can't go because of it's uneven ground and stairs...

The doctor also gave me permission to drive, but of course to be extremely cautious. I was hoping to be able to go to malls, but am reminded of how tiring it is to walk with crutches. I thought it would be a breeze because I learned how to use crutches fairly quick, but it is indeed tiring. Your arms hurt after a while from having to put force to lift your whole body off the ground on every step. Your functioning leg gets worn out from balancing and well, just having to support yourself! 

Wheelchairs would be easier of course, but also slightly inconvenient because someone has to be pushing you and attracts more attention IMO.

12. Hygiene, specifically showering
This topic deserves a whole part to itself. Showering is hell for me. Not only do I need to make sure I don't slip and fall in a wet bathroom, I can't get my left leg wet. To prevent that, I have to wear a plastic bag on my left leg. To shower I have to sit down on a chair. Most importantly, I have to make sure the water doesn't touch my leg so I have to direct the shower head away from my leg. Then, putting your clothes on is a chore as well while you sit. I took being able to shower standing up for granted. Appreciate it! 

1 week post-surgery, I already felt restless and my desire to go out was at an all-time high especially during the Christmas/New Year season. I'm stuck in the confines of the upper floor of my house. I'm torn between wanting to rest up and heal as fast as possible, and hanging out with my friends. The fact that I can't play bowling, laser tag or any other sport for that matter... is depressing. Most of the time I choose to stay at home because honestly I'm afraid I might fall or further hurt my ankle if I go out. Better safe than sorry?

Here is a long list of websites and documents useful for recovering from foot/ankle surgery.
Here is a specific list of foods that are suppose to be good for the healing process, besides the usual obvious food like milk and nuts.

Here is where I described my feelings post-surgery.

So, now I'm suddenly an expert in bone breaking and ligament tearing thanks to Google and my paranoia. Also NEED my leg to heal at least before May so my trip to the US isn't cancelled... I would be so devastated if I couldn't go.

I'm going to have to remove the syndesmiosis screw (the longest screw connecting my tibia and fibula bones) soon. Not exactly worried about the surgery, but more worried about the effects post-surgery like the incision pain and side-effects from anesthesia. Will keep you posted.


  1. I'm so sorry for your broken ankle :(
    It's so sad that in Malaysia, so many buildings and roads are unaccessible for handicapped people. Haha maybe you can be that spokesperson and help change Malaysia for the better :)
    In the mean time, I hope your leg recovers soon!


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