A Guide Makes Good Use of Her Time

The Guide Law

  1. A Guide is loyal and can be trusted.
  2. A Guide is helpful.
  3. A Guide is polite and considerate.
  4. A Guide is friendly and a sister to all Guides.
  5. A Guide is kind to animals and respects all living things.
  6. A Guide is obedient.
  7. A Guide has courage and is cheerful in all difficulties.
  8. A Guide makes good use of her time.
  9. A Guide takes care of her own possessions and those of other people.
  10. A Guide is self-controlled in all she thinks, says and does.
I was a Girl Guide, Junior Leader, Assistant Guide Leader and Gumnut Guide Leader in the days of my youth.  Guiding still holds a very dear place in my heart and many happy memories and some embarrassing ones. My bra being flown from a camp flagpole was not a highlight!
It is interesting the things that come back and stick with you.  I could not recite the entire Guide Law to save my life but I often think to myself “A Guide makes Good Use of Her Time”.  This seems to have become more and more relevant to me as I get older.  Obviously I now have multiple roles in life and never enough time in the day.  Being on crutches and having impaired mobility for so long was a salient lesson in what can be achieved in very small pockets of time.  At this stage of my rehabilitation I can be standing around for 30 minutes at most before my back starts hurting so I have had to make sure that I make very good use of those 30 minutes (or smaller) intervals.
The smaller intervals are perhaps the most interesting.  I try to get as many little things done as the kettle boils, as the toaster toasts and when I have set the oven timer for something.  I have loaded or unloaded the dishwasher at one of these time, put a load of shopping away or cleaned down the sink. While I’m waiting for my computer to boot up or shut down or for the printer to work I can tidy numerous things off the desk.  When there are bigger tasks like folding washing, cleaning and the like I often set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes to get myself started and then keep going in 15 minute intervals.
Then there are some other ways to consider good use of time.  A big one for me recently has been sleep time.  I am often turning my light off when there is a 9 at the front of the time on the clock!  I then have a far better chance of getting the 8 hours sleep that I really need.  And what about when choosing what to do?  I had a  an afternoon with Daniel this afternoon as Anthony was off playing Bowls and Eric was at a friend’s place.  I would have been very well justified in continuing to plough through laundry and tidying up especially after yesterday’s Dinosaur Hunting party but Dan and I headed for the local park with his Big Bang Rocket and in true Daniel fashion he soon adopted four other random children and organised a series of test flights making sure that everyone had a turn and that they knew the correct technique.  Now that was good use of time!

Step by Step back to “normal” life

Or as normal as it ever gets!  I’ve officially been cleared to work again, I’m no longer wearing splints and walking longer and longer distances until i start limping again and need to stop.  I did alarm the physio with a very swollen left ankle (the fractured tibia one) on Friday night so I am taped up for the duration of the long weekend but flesh coloured tape is much less conspicuous than big black lace up splints.

There are so many things you take for granted until you have your mobility taken away from you.  I’m really enjoying things like:

having a shower standing up

carrying things around from one place to another

walking around places

being able to get up off chairs

getting my own cup of coffee and indeed getting cuppas for other people

walking along hand in hand with my little boy

DRIVING – even though I have to use Anthony’s car for the time being.

I’m in the process of transitioning from convalescence to supply teaching again and I feel as if I am launching myself onto the world as a whole new person.  A wise person told me that all these thigns happen for a reason and I found that statement hard to take as I hobbled around on crutches. But now, as I find myself on the way out of it all I believe she may have known what she was talking about after all.


The View from Here

The camera worked for long enough this afternoon to get a shot of my very unattractive ankles in socks and splints.  They look a bit powdery because I need to put on prickly heat powder before the socks so I don’t get driven mad with itching and it certainly makes me glad not to be in plaster.

Today hasn’t been a good day.  I’ve been down, teary and tired all day.  It was a combination of things.  I was still pathetically exhausted after my trip to hydrotherapy yesterday, today was bit of an anti-climax because I wasn’t going anywhere and I’m not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.  Hydrotherapy will only continue once it is approved by Work Cover as I already had had the five automatically allowed physio sessions while in hospital.  It is really my only prospect of getting out of the house because we will be reimbursed for the cab fare.  I’m not able to drive yet and I don’t know how long it will be before I get behind the wheel.  If I was to get taken somewhere like a shopping centre I would have to hire a wheelchair and then have someone to push it.  The potential “someones” are either a bit old to be pushing me in a wheel chair or they have small children to deal with.  We can’t afford to spend any money on cabs that will not be reimbursed as my work prospects are going to be limited once again and for who knows how long.

Dh is working full time 5 days a week and may be doing overtime on Saturday and of course the boys are at school.  They will be off on holidays at the end of next week but we will still be housebound because it is too far from here to get to any public transport and we cannot afford cabs.  The book club girls took me out last night for coffee and book discussion but I came away from that realizing that everyone is still really busy and the fact that I am out of action doesn’t change that.  So while plenty of people have asked, “What can I do to help?”, I’ve really only been able to ask for people to bring the boys home from school and even that was quite difficult to organise.  Life goes on as normal for everyone else which means they don’t have time to stop for visits or cups of tea.  Everyone balances multiple roles and has a busy schedule including me when I’m not on crutches.  So I can hardly ask someone to pick me up and cart me around in a wheelchair and no one really has spare time to spend here with me.  I think all of that hit home for me this afternoon and I felt really black.

The flood of phone calls and text messages that happened while I was in hospital has dried up to almost nothing.  I’m lucky if I get two texts in a day and no one has time for phone calls these days.  There isn’t really much to say either because I don’t know when things will improve with my ankles and there is nothing happening here at home.

I also realised that I wouldn’t be able to get to Weight Watchers tomorrow night as I had planned because the boys have hockey training.  I cannot ask them to miss it as they missed out already last week while I was in hospital and it is on every Thursday so with great sadness I changed my Weight Watchers subscription to “on-line only” even though I need it and the meetings especially now more than I ever have before.  My weight has made this whole injury thing even more complicated and I really can’t see things improving while I am so sedentary and while I am relying on everyone else to supply me with food.

Dh really is doing all he can.  In fact he has been quite legendary since I’ve been home.  He sets up the lounge room each night ready for me the next day with the TV left on stand-by, the remotes all put where I can reach them and most importantly, makes sure that the floors throughout the house are almost completely free of clutter.  We are both terrified of what could happen if a crutch slipped on something that shouldn’t be there and went out from under me.  He gets the bathroom ready for me to take a shower each night with the transfer bench half in and half out of the bath and everything where I can reach it.  Then he puts on my socks and splints for me afterwards in the lounge.  I get a coffee made for me in the morning before they leave and yesterday he left a ham and cheese sandwich in the fridge and the sandwich toaster out on the bench.  I was so glad to find that when I got home from hydro!

As for the boys, the novelty has well and truly worn off.  They are usually very put out when I ask them for anything or to do something for them because it takes them away from their all important computer games.  And of course, their projects and activities must always come first.  Eric was very impatient for me to get to the computer and help him fix a flyer he was making this evening and kept coming out to ask me when I’d be there despite the fact that I didn’t have my splints back on.  The flyer was about him offering his services as a cross country coach for the the other kids at school but that’s another story!

My parents came to help out today but even that is a mixed blessing.  While I truly love that our bathroom got cleaned and the sheets on my bed were changed I didn’t need to be told that I must not apply for any job until I am off crutches, that knitting is waste of money (again!) and that I really must do something about my weight.  (If I didn’t already know the last one it was brought home to me when I had to crawl up our back stairs on the night of my fall!).  I know they mean well and they are really the only ones that are in a position to offer us any help but some moral support and encouragement would be nice once in a while.

That is the end of my whining for now.  There are some good things happening.  Unlimited time to knit, stitch, read and watch TV. Time to read lots of stories to Daniel.  I get to sleep in because there is nothing to get up for and I would be in the way during morning rush hour anyway.  I have a couple of projects to tackle –  writing and researching some pieces for the school magazine and doing the “end of season” achievement cards and certificates for Little Athletics.  The latter is an enormous but tedious job but I certainly don’t have the excuse of not enough time to do it.

It’s awful to say this but I am dreading today (I’m writing this after midnight which shows how ell my sleeping pattern is going).  I’m going to miss a couple of my regular Thursday activities, my ankles will still hurt and I will still have the long day on my own.  But I guess I just have to take a deep breath and think “this too shall pass”.


The Getting of Wisdom – the painful way

Long time no blog!

I have a lot of material for a lot of blog entries but I’ll begin by telling the story of how I can to be here, ankle splints on both ankles, crutches leaning against the desk and two ankles deciding whether they need to be dosed with painkillers anytime soon.

It was an ordinary day at school last Friday until on my way to playground duty I fell down three steps and found myself in a lots of pain.  Somehow I managed to hobble through the prep playground and then to the school office.  Both ankles were hurting but the left one was very bad.  The beautiful office staff ran around getting me set up in sick bay with a pillow and ice while I waited for dh the come and get me.  Later that evening after an x-ray and ultrasound they concluded that the left ankle was badly sprained.  I was issued with painkillers and crutches and sent home.  That’s when the real trouble began.

I found that I couldn’t put enough weight on the right foot – even with crutches – to get my left ankle in plaster and the rest of me up the stairs.  I tried the “backwards on the backside” method but that didn’t work.  In fact I actually slid down a few more steps in the throes of trying that maneuver and the boys heard me utter some words I have told them never to say.  I ended up slowly and painfully climbing the stairs on my knees.  At the top I was stuck on our verandah.  I couldn’t flex my feet enough to stand and dh couldn’t get me up.  The pain was so bad that I was seeing stars so I had a drink and a rest, then hauled myself onto a stool and then finally into the house.  I took myself to bed for a very uncomfortable night trying to get comfortable despite the plaster.  I was up early the next morning because of the pain and once I had painfully got myself from the bedroom to the lounge my left ankle was screaming and my right ankle has swollen right up.  I persisted for a few hours but eventually realised that this simply wouldn’t work.  I rang my wonderful GP who said she was ordering an ambulance and contacting the hospital so I could go back.  It was considered far too dangerous for dh to attempt getting me down the stairs again.

This is the part in which we staged an emergency services floor show for the street and my humiliation continued.  2 Ambos arrived and asked me how much I weighed.  With that information they decided that they would not be able to get me out and that they would have to call ANOTHER ambulance that had a marvelous device called a “stair chair”. Well, Eric thought it was marvellous – I was just scared!  It took an hour for the second ambulance to come so the first team of Ambos and I watched Video Hits (as you do).  Then, for the amusement of the neighbours I was toted down the stairs on the famous “stair chair”.  I’ll have to google the thing to see what it looks like because I didn’t actually see it.

Then I had 6 nights in hospital where it was eventually determined that the ankle we thought was uninjured but sore was actually sprained and that the one we thought was sprained was actually fractured.  I graduated from plaster and elastic bandage to splints on each ankle and from forearm walking frame to crutches.  When I was able to do the hospital practice steps four times (to allow for the 12 steps at home) I was allowed to go home.

So now I’m at home, migrating from bed to desk to recliner and working out how to live life on crutches.  I’m getting used to planning everything in great detail before I move anywhere and best of all, I have HEAPS of knitting time.