On Friday, February 14, I walked on a dark wet street at night, and unable to see the black ice, I went down hard. The result is a broken ankle, which has effectively put an end to photo walking, for at least a little while. I am so happy that I did not choose 2014 for doing my big daily photo walk project!
Having a broken ankle has really opened my eyes to the challenges that disabled seniors living alone can face. Luckily, my break did not require surgery, and I am sporting a bright purple cast, but I have had to make quite a few adjustments. Learning to walk on crutches is challenging, and much to my surprise, extremely tiring. Of course, it means keeping your balance, not putting the crutch tip down on a slippery throw rug, and figuring out the daunting steps on the front stoop. (So far, I am sitting down to go down stairs — I have no dignity whatsoever.) Luckily, I already live in a house that has all first floor living, so I don’t have to do stairs inside.
Having limited mobility also means planning ahead. The first night on crutches, I finally maneuvered myself and my aching arms into bed, when I realized I had forgotten to lock the front door. So, I crutched it all the way back to the front door, vowing never to make that mistake again. When I am at the refrigerator planning a meal, I try to think of everything I will possibly need, so that once I have transported it via the tote bag hanging off my crutches, I won’t have to make a trip back across the kitchen to the fridge again. There are so many little things I have taken for granted that now cause me to think twice, plan ahead, and take it slowly.
In searching for products to make life with disability a little easier, there are lots of creative ideas and helpful solutions. My sister had foot surgery a couple of years ago, and she used a “knee wheeler,” enabling her to forgo the crutches. Mine came today. I am now learning to use that safely. I’ll take it for a spin around the neighborhood after (if) they ever get the sidewalks shoveled.
I am grateful that this is only going to be a six week inconvenience. It could have been much worse, and there are certainly so many people who are in pain and who are suffering and who have much more trauma than I do. I have good friends, family nearby, and the means to meet the challenges that I will face in the next few weeks. So many others don’t, and I will be more aware of their plight and try to help out those that I can, when I can. Special thanks to Norma Levett, who rescued me from the dark road and took me the next morning to UNI Urgent Care on 7th Street, and to Dr. Robert Fisher, of Orthopaedic Specialists of Frederick, who met me on a Sunday afternoon to review my films and put on my cast.
In the meantime, life though my lens will probably be a little different. The inside of my house and the doctor’s office and an occasional trip to the grocery store won’t make for exciting reading or photos. But I’ll put my creativity to work and rise to this challenge, too. I’ll be healing on the couch, waiting for spring.
“Life Through My Lens” is a travel/photography blog written by Cam Miller, copyright 2014
Email: cam.miller@comcast. net