Broken Girl

Broken Girl’s Broken Leg, 12 July 2010

This was not quite the way I’d intended to get back to writing.  Not lying in bed, recuperating from an ankle injury.

So it happened that after a lovely weekend climbing the natural limestone walls of Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, while at Camp5, a climbing gym that a friend described as “when-climbers-die-they-pray-heaven-will-be-like-this”, I slipped during a lead climb, while downclimbing into position to attempt a “controlled fall”.  The irony of having made an extremely UNcontrolled fall is not lost on me.  Anyway, I fell, probably about 3 metres, swung like a pendulum, whacked into the wall, over-dorsiflexed my right ankle (toes brought towards the shin beyond the normal range of motion) and the rest is Broken Girl history.

To cut a long story short, the impact caused multiple fractures of my right tibia, fibula and talus bones, for which I had to undergo open reduction, internal fixation surgery (moving the bone fragments back into position and stabilising them with metal plates and screws).  While the bones are doing their miraculous job of regenerating (fingers crossed), I won’t be bearing weight on my right leg.  That means Broken Girl will be living out the next six months of her life wearing a plastic leg splint and hobbling around on crutches.

As painful as it was when I first broke my ankle,
As painful as it was when I first regained consciousness following surgery,
As painful as it was the first day I was discharged from hospital, sitting in front of the sink brushing my teeth and thinking: “This is so difficult, how will I be able to get through six months of this?”, and,
As scary as it was to read about the low odds of full recovery and the long-term implications of these types of injuries,
The attitude with which we choose to face each day is a choice.  A choice.
And I choose to face them with optimism and positivity.

For as clichéd as this may sound, it is in the depths of our vulnerable moments, that emerge our greatest strengths.  It’s times like these that help me take stock, reminding me of just how very much I have to be grateful for:
Family.  To whom it never occurred to scold me for breaking my ankle in such a silly way, who’ve raised me to be resilient in the face of a challenge and who are here for me through every minor every day struggle, whose love is my strength.
Friends.  Who’ve stuck with me though the ordeal,  cheered me up, told me funny stories, stocked me up with a supply of trashy and non-trashy magazines, books, dvds, sketch pad, plied me with essences and chocs, flowers and cacti, drew me lovely get-well cards and silly-funny notes (yes, this means you, my lovely G5!),  pulled strings in the hospital, kept me pragmatic in the face of surgery and who continue to keep me company while I’m on rest order at home and keep me upbeat with their stream of heartwarming and downright hilarious messages.
For all this and more, I am truly blessed.

So perhaps this is one of those forks in the road, a reminder to slow-down and stock-take:
What are you grateful for?
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
Where are you going?

Perhaps I’ll find out some day, what the grand scheme of things for this incident is.  Perhaps.  For now at least, I’m content to be optimistic and grateful that life continues to send us little surprises, whatever guise they may come under.


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