Well, 2011 has been quite a year for me, to put it mildly. If I look at it from one perspective, it's been one of the worst years of my life.
This injury and all the twists and turns of diagnosing it and fixing it has been frustrating and humbling. I've never been one to ask for help, and not being able to do ANYTHING has killed me on a lot of levels. When your sister is in the shower washing your legs and your baby goddaughter is dressing you, your pride takes a hit.
Every task takes ten times as long as it did before. Yesterday, for example, I dropped a knitting needle off my bed. Since I can't bend at all, I went to reach for the grabber thing I bought from Amazon.com.
Problem: It had fallen against the wall out of my grasp. I picked up a pillow and began hitting it against the grabber until finally it fell within my reach. Then, I used my Skill Crane talents to fish around for the knitting needle. After five minutes, I finally got it back up on the bed. Repeat things like this forty times a day and it gets a lot frustrating.
I miss so much about my life before 2011. I lived by myself and my time was mine to do with as I wished. Even the annoying little necessities of life like grocery shopping, walking the dog, cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry... all of those are off the table for me now. After eight years on my own, I live under my parents' roof. All of my stuff is piled in their living room, making it look like a furniture and box emporium. I've lost friends. I feel like I have completely taken over the focus of my mom's life, and that's been a killer too.
Before this year, I'd watch football and see an injury and hear about someone being out for a couple of months and it'd seem like no big deal. I had no idea what rehab entails. It's painful. It's frustrating to feel like your body has failed you. There are days when I just don't want to do it, but that's not an option unless I want to be in a wheelchair at forty years old. It's incredibly slow to see progress. Oh, and it's expensive. Coming back from a really serious injury is no walk in the park.
BUT.... 2011 has taught me a heck of a lot about myself.
I know that I can maintain a positive attitude and smile and laugh and genuinely be happy even when things have collapsed and burned around me.
Entertaining myself has become a piece of cake. I learned to knit from YouTube, have read over a hundred books, watched more TV than ever before in my life and, of course, have painted many incredible masterpieces using the hallowed Paint by Number technique. Believe it or not, after a year of basically laying around, I can say I spent very little time bored. That's an accomplishment in itself.
When you're stuck forty minutes outside of the city and unable to do much for a year, you discover quickly who your friends are. I am so lucky to have some incredible people in my life who have checked on me, cheered me up, made me laugh and in general just remembered I'm alive. You have no idea how much that's meant to me. From now on, if I have a friend who's out of commission for a long period of time, I know how to make it better for them. So many of the people I've met through my blog are on this list too. I appreciate you guys so much.
Then there's my family. My mom has done a ridiculous amount of things for me. My dad has entertained me on a daily basis and has basically adopted my doggy pooh. Annie and Kerry have been there helping me along the way. Beautiful Goddaughter Jamie and Aunt Jen both stepped up to keep me laughing, and my cousin Missy sends me texts asking if I've bought a hover-round chair yet. I'm so lucky to have so many aunts, uncles and cousins who have shown me so much love and support through this year. Seriously, it blows me away how lucky I am.
I'm grateful for having a job that lets me work from home and I've learned to appreciate the value of health insurance.
My friend Dani (go read her blog, she's a huge success story!) wrote that in 2011 she learned to never take moving and exercising for granted. I'm right there with her on this one. It's going to take a while, but I am bound and determined to take control of my body again and work my way back into shape. I learned this year that being unable to do boring things like walking the dog, walking around a store, riding a bike etc makes you miss them like you wouldn't believe. 2011 is going to be my LAST immobile year. At least until my 90's. :)
So adios, 2011. You've been a hard year but you've taught me a lot. My life will never be the same because of this year, and that's a good thing.
2012, I'm going to knock your socks off. I'm 2/3 of the way done with bed rest, two weeks to go. Can't wait to throw away these crutches and kick some butt in a new year.