If I had known that I was going to break my foot, I’d have definitely made some preparations. Number 1 on the list would have been LOSE WEIGHT.
People, let me tell ya-- there’s a reason Jillian Michaels employs so much jumping and hopping and push-ups in her workouts. It’s because lifting your own weight is a beast, especially when you truly are the size of some beasts. Within the first 24-hours of being confined to crutches, I had developed Crutch Burn under both arm pits and my entire upper body felt like I had just completed a week’s worth of P90X arm routines. Needless to say, I quickly discovered that crutches are more fun in 4th grade than they are in adulthood.
But, being the positive person that I am, I refuse to dwell on the past and “if only’s”. I prefer to focus on the future. So over the last couple of days, I have made note of all the amenities any future homes that I might purchase must have, just in case I ever have a repeat experience with a broken foot.
If you are in the housing market, I suggest you pay attention, just in case.
1. My next home will have ZERO stairs, steps, inclines, declines, or uneven surfaces.
It’s bad enough that this entire, hellish ordeal is due to steps, but now, after already proving I am incapable of navigating steps while in top condition, I have to navigate them while handicapped. And rather than a single flight of stairs that I could possibly just avoid by sticking to one level of the house, I have random steps scattered throughout my home. First, there are the 3 infamous steps leading from my kitchen into the back half of the house (that includes the living room and my kids’ room). These steps are evil. They are composed of slick, ridiculously hard tile. They are chipped and cracked and currently mended with duct tape. I hate them. In addition to those, I have 2 steps going down into my bedroom. Meaning there are also 2 steps leading OUT of my bedroom when I need to use the restroom 2, 3, or even 4 times every night thanks to Preggo Bladder. Speaking of restrooms, there are 2 steps leading down into my shower, or one small step (technically, it’s a “lip”, but what’s a lip, really, other than a mini-step?) you have to hurdle to get into my kids’ shower.
It is impossible to avoid the steps.
Every time someone needs a drink or a snack, I have to crutch my fat butt up and down the steps. Every time I need to pee in the night, I have to crutch my fat butt up and down the steps. Every time I need to shower, I have to crutch my fat, naked butt over that mini-step (more on that later…).
I’ve almost fallen to my death about 5 times now. Terrible, right? It gets worse.
Oliver, the baby, loves to climb the steps, but he can’t climb back down- a fact that I well know, but managed to forget in the midst of my own Battle with the Crutches. So there he went, right to the top of the steps, where he sat and reached for Mama to come get him. And I couldn’t because I can’t bend that far over with crutches crammed up under my pits. And I can’t put the crutches down and balance on one foot to get him because I’m a fatty with no core strength. And I can’t kneel onto the steps and get him down and then stand back up because that’s an unreasonable expectation for someone who can’t walk down 3 measly steps without fracturing a bone. So I went to Plan B.
I waved toys. I waved snacks. I clapped and cheered and begged for him to come on down. Seriously, I could have hosted The Price is Right.
Oliver cried and reached for Mama to come get him.
So I sent in the troops—Big Brother Andy. He pretended to run away and called for Oliver to catch him (one of their favorite games). He played with toys on the bottom step and cooed for Oliver to join him. He clapped and cheered and begged. He even tried to gently help Oliver scoot down on his tummy.
Oliver cried harder and reached for Mama to come get him.
After 20 minutes, I realized that the situation was hopeless. That baby was absolutely NOT going to come down those steps on his own. So I caved and sent Andy next door to get the neighbor to help. When Oliver was returned safely back to flat ground, she barricaded the steps with all of my living room furniture: the futon, the arm chair, a side table. It was genius.
Until someone needed a drink and a snack. Dang it.
2. My next home will have walk-in showers sans “lip” that are large enough to house a full-size beach chair.
How, exactly, are you supposed to clear that lip on crutches? If you put the crutches on the outside of the shower and try to hop in, you are basically hurtling yourself forward onto a slick surface with only one good foot to land on and no arms for balance. If you put your crutches on the inside of the shower and then hop in, your crutches slip on the slick surface and you fall over anyway. It’s a lose-lose scenario for a klutz.
I did make it (barely) just to endure a one-foot shower. Yes, we do have a small, built-in bench. But it’s gross. It’s slick and slimy from all the spilled shampoo, and it’s really only large enough to seat one cheek comfortably. So I just couldn’t bring myself to fully utilize it. I was concerned I might slip off if I tried. I did kneel on it a little with my broken side to give some relief to my poor, over-worked, fully-operational foot. But the water couldn’t reach the bench, so it wasn’t the most useful set up. I’m pretty sure that only the right half of my body got truly clean during the entire process.
And just so you know, being WET and one-legged is even worse than DRY and one-legged, so the shower exit was hideous.
3. My next home will have handicapped-height potties.
The hardest part of my day is going to the bathroom. Trying to undress while balancing on one foot is nearly impossible. (I have high hopes that Dolly Pop clothing will one day be created for humans.) But even after I manage that little chore, I’ve got to sit down on the shortest toilet in Texas, and there’s NOWHERE to put that injured foot. I can’t stretch it out, nor can I sit with my legs up, because no matter how I try to position it, IT HURTS. I really need to pee whilst propping my foot up. But, alas, most bathrooms aren’t equipped with footstools in front of the toilet.
But my next house might be…
4. My next home will have cul-de-sacs in every room.
Day #2 went much better than Day #1 thanks to a friend who loaned me one of those knee scooter things. Good-bye, crutches! The only problem is that the turning radius of a kneel-and-scoot is not the best. And in my home, which is filled with large baby items such as the pack-n-play, the exersaucer, the walker, the high chair, etc, not to mention the teeny tiny kitchen and narrow hallways, the poor turning abilities are amplified. The only way to get turned around is to balance on one foot while picking up the scooter and repositioning it.
I believe I’ve already mentioned my lack of core strength. So, a mere hour into my scooting and turning adventures, I managed to fall off the contraption. Instinct kicked in, and I caught my fall with my broken foot. Instinct kicked in again, and I yanked my foot back off the ground, managing to throw me even more off-balance. Thankfully, there was a chair nearby that I was able to stumble-hop-fall into before I totally crashed and burned on the ground.
Clearly, my instincts stink.
5. My next home will have Panic Corners where I can be shielded from children on 3 sides.
One of the most crucial instructions I received from the doctor was to ice my foot several times a day. Even as he was saying it, I was wondering how in the world I was going to manage to sit still for 20 minutes at a time, multiple times each day, with 3 needy kids vying for my attention. What I did NOT anticipate was the fascination my kids would have with my ice pack. After all, it’s not like it’s fancy. It’s not colorful or textured or unusual in any way. It is ice cubes inside a clear Ziplock bag wrapped in a raggedy hand towel covered in mystery stains. And they LOVE IT.
The first time was, of course, the worst because I was completely unprepared for the fascination. I had the older two kids in front of a spell-binding show on Netflix, and the baby was busy running laps around them in his walker. Everybody was distracted and happy… until Mama got out the ice. Suddenly, everyone needed to investigate. Everyone needed to touch it. Stroke it. Request to lick it.
After a few minutes, Netflix called the older two away. But the baby was entranced with that ice pack. He could not leave it. He needed to have it for his very own. So for a full 10 minutes or so, he tried to steal it. And every time he grabbed the bag and tried to yank it away, my poor, sad foot jostled a little bit.
Eventually, I couldn’t handle it anymore. There was nothing I could do, so I called on Andy to build me a barricade by strategically placing some of the larger baby equipment around my foot rest so that the walker couldn’t come near enough for that ice pack to be disturbed. It worked remarkably well. But it just wasn’t quite good enough for Andy’s satisfaction.
Being a boy, Andy felt that the barricade needed to be bigger and more elaborate, so he got a few of his larger toys out of his room to add a second layer to the barricade. But, being a boy, he felt that the barricade needed to be BIGGER and more elaborate, so he got a few more toys out of his room to put on top of the original structure to give it a bit more height. But, being a boy, he felt that the barricade needed to be BIGGER and MORE ELABORATE...
The final barricade consisted of every, single toy from Andy’s room, along with the bedding from each boys’ bunk. The baby couldn’t have reached that ice pack again if he had tried—which he didn’t because he was so distracted by all the new toys to play with. Unfortunately, the barricade also effectively stranded ME on the couch.
6. My next house will have built-in cup holders with key pad codes, cages, and an alarm system to alert me of intruders.
My children have really enjoyed the last few days of TV meals. Since Mama can’t maneuver the stairs with the baby, the dining table is out. So they’ve gotten to eat 2 out of 3 meals reclined in the theater chairs in front of a show each day. Bully for them.
I cannot sit in the theater chairs because they are too low to the ground, plus I cannot close the foot rest with only one working foot. So while the kids are lounging in their leather recliners, I’m sitting on the scratchy couch. And while the kids are perfectly entertained in perfect comfort, I get to choose between staring at the wall and getting a giant crick in my neck from watching TV with my head at a right angle. And while the kids have built-in cup holders and giant arm rests for their plates, I am stuck balancing my plate on my lap and cramming my drink in between the couch cushions so it doesn’t fall over.
Now, don’t get me wrong—we do own TV trays. But since Mama can’t get the baby into his high chair for meals, he is now fed from his walker. And from his walker, he is able to pull over TV trays. Able and willing. Able, willing, and on the prowl in search of unsuspecting TV trays, much like a hoodlum teenager looking for a cow to tip.
Despite my best efforts, including the ditching of the trays, I managed to lose two drinks to that baby yesterday and another to my Wild Child. That’s a grand total of three drinks spilled. Three drinks wasted. Three drinks that now needed to be replaced. Three additional trips up those blasted steps to the kitchen.
If someone has already taken the time to invent a lockable cover for thermostats, I see no reason why someone cannot invent a Drink Protector.