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Recovery & Coronavirus Quarantine: Life in the Post-Injury Twilight Zone

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It’s been 17 days since I broke my leg in three places. It’s also been 1,118,681,654 years since this virus quarantine stuff started. At least that’s how it feels.

Recovery & Coronavirus Quarantine: Life in the Twilight Zone

An Update on My Recovery

Each day has gotten a bit better, but slowly so. I’ve had a lot of random bothers. What hurts one day is different from what hurts the next. I have three stitched incisions, severe bruising from the kneecap down, and severe swelling of the ankle, heel, and top of my foot. I had a post-operative appointment on Monday, 3/16/20. They told me that I needed to stay put in Illinois for another 10 days, and scheduled a second followup for 3/26/20. At that appointment I would get my stitches out and receive a walking boot. Then I could start slowly weight-bearing.

So that was the plan. Another 10 days living with my parents. Overall, it was going well, so I agreed.

It was about that time that the virus situation started getting out of hand, and Illinois has been one of the hardest states impacted so far. Throw in a few rainy days, being out of our routine and comfort zone, and being stuck in the house – my boys, Ezra especially, really started to struggle. He had some great moments, when his maturity and faith really astounded everyone. But his not-so-great moments began to increase in their veracity, to the point it was hard for an injured me and the grandparents to control and manage.

My parents were really doing a great job of caring for both me and stepping in to fill the parent role with the boys (we cannot thank them enough!), but it was hard, and that strain was wearing on all of us. I knew that, before Ezra’s behaviors escalated to a dangerous situation for everyone, we needed to return Ezra to his environment and Daddy (who is best equipped to manage and discipline him in light of my injury). On Tuesday, 3/17/20, we decided to make the trip home that coming weekend, instead of waiting a week.

I reached out to my IL orthopedic doctor, and he said that the biggest concern with travel was the possibility of blood clots so soon after surgery. For some reason, this news sent me into a panic/crying attack. I was overcome with emotions and memories of Ezra’s childbirth recovery when I ended up having to have a CT scan for blood clots while my mom stayed with my 1-week-old son who was resting in his carseat at the foot of my bed in our little emergency room. Then, the floodgates opened as memories of my prior medical ordeals (like LB’s birth and recovery, my 2017 ICU stay for sepsis, and my multiple broken bones, especially the ones I broke in college) flowed over me one after another. It was a dark and scary time, and I cried off and on for about three days. I’m facing the real idea that I might have medical-related PTSD, but that’s another post for another day.

Broken Leg Recovery
Flowers from my church family

Broken Leg Recovery

So Russ, who at this point was dipping into his extra leave and sick leave, ended up driving up to IL with his mom (who came along as a much-needed extra set of hands). They arrived before breakfast on Thursday, 3/19/20.

Reunited with Daddy after about a week and a half apart!

We took two days to organize our things and for Russ and my mother-in-law to rest up for the trip back. When I wasn’t crying, I was enjoying being doted on by everything and treasuring the good moments when my children were blessed with the rare opportunity to spend special time with BOTH of their grandmothers at the same time.

We drove home on Saturday, 3/28/20, making it home in just over twelve hours, which is an incredible feat given we were traveling with two boys and an injured woman. Having two drivers, all restaurants shut down, and less people on the roads were definite factors.

LB and I were Backseat Buddies for half of the trip home.

Broken Leg Recovery
My foot swelled so much on the trip home, even with constant icing. At a rest-stop somewhere in Kentucky, I loosened the bandages and elevated it high on my walker to get some quick relief!

I am SO glad to be home. Since then, we’ve just been taking it one day at a time. I am so blessed to be loaning a high quality “knee walker” (scooter) that our lovely pastor’s wife used for an injury about a year ago. This makes me about 50% more mobile than I was while living with my parents. I can now do things like wipe butts, make toast, pick things up off the floor (albeit awkwardly), and get from one end of the house to another without feeling like I’ve just ran a marathon.

Broken Leg Recovery
The first day I was able to fix myself breakfast. Yes, the sippy cup is mine.

I got a shower chair and a cover to go over my cast so I can shower. My church and a few neighbors have been bringing me meals, setting them on a chair on my porch to avoid breaking quarantine. Ezra has been a little trooper and my biggest helper to lean on: he has helped with everything from meal-prep to laundry!

Putting together a rolling table/cart for my computer

Proud at the finished product!

Helping fold and put away laundry

Recovery Meets Quarantine: A Double Whammy

I imagine that you, like me, are probably feeling a little off-kilter with the recommended quarantine we now find ourselves in – nearly worldwide. Kids are out of school, some kids are done for the year now, parents have been thrust into e-learning and homeschooling, grocery store shelves are empty, libraries and museums are closed…it’s just all so much.

Add my injuries and surgery recovery to that, and it’s doubly hard – a “double whammy,” so to speak.

There are many things I could do to make my recovery better, if there were no quarantine. Like having my mother-in-law keep my kids for the day, having people in to help me clean or do laundry, or sending the kids over to play at the neighbors’ house.

There are many things I could do to make quarantine better, if there was no injury. Like taking my kids on a walk to the neighborhood, hitting the local nature trails, visiting Little Free Libraries, throwing the kids in the backseat for a drive-through run or library book pickup, or even sitting with them outside while they play.

As it is, I haven’t been outside my house in four days. That’s hard even for an introvert.

Russ began working from home on Tuesday. It’s great because he is much more available to help, and I don’t have to worry about what germs he’s bringing home. He has his computers set up in the basement and is still keeping his normal work hours, with more frequent breaks to come say hi to us all on the main floor.

We aren’t really doing homeschooling right now. Our homeschooling desks and supplies are in the basement. Right now, with my limited mobility, I’m staying on the main floor – except for once every day or every other day to get a shower in our more-accessible basement shower. This is an exhausting feat, but I’ll do pretty much anything for a hot shower.

So instead we hang out upstairs. Mostly, Ezra is doing sticker books. (A friend of mine sent one of these Sticker by Number books to my mom’s house in IL – for me – but it was quickly hijacked. Ezra loves them so much, I bought him a few more!)

Brain Games Sticker by Number

Brain Games Sticker by Number

Brain Games Sticker by Number

While Ezra does sticker books, I read aloud to him some chapter books we are working through.

Brain Games Sticker by Number

LB, who is very glad to be home and reunited with his beloved “Lego City,” is spending LONG hours in the basement by himself just playing and singing – within earshot of Daddy who is working down there. It’s lovely. I don’t know how long it will last. I will occasionally make Ezra do random math worksheets or handwriting pages in between chapter breaks, but it’s super low-key. When I’m not reading, I’m still sitting on the couch working on my homeschooling book-list spreadsheets or doing things for my actual job, which I’m still able to do from home (injury and all).

Other than being glued to my couch, my quarantine and recovery days probably look a lot like yours – just with more Ibuprofen and ice packs:

  • Waiting for the most recent Amazon deliveries
  • Listening to kids whine about being bored
  • Checking the clock (again)
  • Checking out the virus news (again)
  • Deciding the news is too depressing and staying off Facebook for a few hours
  • Laughing at quarantine memes
  • Taking too many pictures of dumb stuff
  • Watching too much TV
  • Trying to think of ways to entertain the kids so they don’t watch too much TV
  • Yelling at kids to not run in the house and to stop fighting (again)
  • Cleaning out email inboxes
  • Counting down the hours til bedtime
  • Spending too much on online shopping

So there you have it – life in the twilight zone! I have my first NC-based orthopedic appointment. I’m hoping to come home with stitches removed, a walking boot, permission to bear weight on my injury, and a physical therapy plan!

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