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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


A big fear

A large and looming fear of mine is that at some point I will lose my ability to walk. It happened temporarily when I fractured my ankle a little over two years ago - and that was horrible. As an avowed non-driver, and as someone who really both takes for granted and prizes her ability to walk a lot, being unable to walk is really devastating. I remember when I fractured my ankle feeling so helpless and depressed over being unable to get anywhere myself easily and without pain.

But even without that event, this has been a fear. When I was born, I had a pretty severe birth defect that was partially repaired, but for which I had to receive ongoing treatments for much of my young life, and for which I had to wear special accoutrements (casts, bars, special shoes, shoes at night, etc.) in order to correct it. My orthopedic surgeon often threatened me with surgery because my legs never really functioned as he had hoped. And as a result, I don't really walk the right way, don't use the right muscles, and have other problems that are pretty much not apparent to anyone - but that continue to cause problems.

Since college, I have had periods of time - a week or more once or more a year, when I absolutely cannot walk because the pain is so great. Because I don't use the "right" muscles to walk, it puts too much stress on muscles that can't really take it when I walk a lot, and I can get severe tendonitis pretty easily.

Today I walked a lot - and it became pretty painful. Since my ankle fracture, it takes less to induce severe pain. I think part of it is that fractures cause vulnerability to problems, and I think my congenital defects compounded that. Plus, I was never given any physical therapy or any additional treatment, despite my having told my doctors that I was really concerned this fracture might cause problems given my already present difficulties. I was unable to get any attention for those issues.

So, today I was getting off a bus, and when I stepped on my right foot, it hurt so much, I thought I'd be unable to walk. That terrified me.

Were it not for some pretty cutting edge treatments when I was born, I would be in a wheelchair today. So, that image haunts me - and every time I am in a lot of pain, I think that the time has come when I won't be able to walk anymore.

I'm sure I'm fine. I'm elevating my ankle tonight. I know that I will be unable to walk tomorrow morning (that's what always happens), but will be okay later in the day. But, someday I'd really like good insurance (well, at this point *any* insurance) and a good primary care doc so I can get some better help with this.


At 3:20 AM, Blogger Grad007 said...

I wish you a speedy recovery! Hopefully the pain will die down soon.

At 7:16 AM, Blogger BrightStar said...

I did not realize this was something you had in your life. It does sound scary. I'm glad you CAN walk, but not having insurance would certainly intensify this fear. I hope you get a job with insurance soon.


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