Friday, October 05, 2012

How I Broke My Arm & Leg Part III: From "Prang!" to Progress

I was one of many, many jumpers who earned their A licence this year.  Sadly, I wasn't the most promising noob.  My peers were advancing faster than me.  A few were already dabbling in free flying and camera work!
I'd been struggling with basics- exits, landings, beginner RW skills etc...
I tried hard to be good.   I jumped every weekend, listened to my coaches, did tunnel work and studied the SIM.   No freeflying or cameras for you, I told myself.   Learn the basics first.  Be safe.
Yet my "be safe" attitude didn't keep me out of a ridiculous accident:*
As I blogged earlier, I wasn't proud of myself, nor was I thrilled with the idea of not jumping for months...   ...but I  knew I'd be better off if I focused the good stuff.   I hadn't been killed, right?  I'd be out of the hospital soon, and  even in the meantime, there were things to appreciate:
The accident didn't hurt much.  It was the kind of pain that might have you thinking about where the aspirin was. 
Then came the physical therapy.  
Youch!  At first even nudging the bad leg made me see stars.
After a blood transfusion, five nights and some physical therapy  I was cleared for the rehab hospital.
I was never bored.  It was Gimp Boot Camp.  Lots of exercises and activities to do: Bend, stand, stretch, lean, step etc...
And then I peeked out the window and saw a bunch of cop cars come up...
...doors shut.  A warning recording squawked on the intercom.  I  gunman had been reported downstairs.**  Gunman?  I thought,  This has been the most insane week  ever.  I didn't hear any shots, but scoped the room for possible hiding places, just to be sure.
The cops combed the place.  No gunman.***

I'd been hospitalized once before, when I was very little.   I hear I wasn't a model patient.
This time I tried to be more practical.  I gave myself some rules:
Rule One: No slouching.  You can sit up straight, so do it,
Rule Two: If it's not bedtime, get out of bed.  You can get out of bed now, so sit in a chair.
My logic?  If spent my time acting like I was getting better, I'd convince my brain that this was the case.  It wouldn't heal me, but if I thought I was getting better, I'd be more likely to participate in stuff that would make me better: getting around and exercising.
Soon I was able to sneak into the dining room and make coffee.  My caffeine fix was calling.  I spilled it all over the place the first time...
 ...and later found it was all decaf.
A week later they sprang me.
Standing and walking with the cane was a hassle at first, but I did my exercises...

Recently  I saw an x-ray of my leg for the first time.  I'd envisioned a clean little break.  Not so.  It looked like someone had worked it over with a hammer.
There was even a stray chunk of  bone floating by itself (I'd wondered what that mysterious bump under my skin was...)  It didn't really matter that the bone was botched.   A titanium reinforcement rod was doing the work now.
In a few weeks I went from barely being able to stand...

to walking with a cane to walking without one.  I'm not very graceful or fast, but check with me later...

*Not that being safe was a bad choice.  Had I been more daring, who knows what trouble I might have gotten into?

**I wasn't supposed to know this detail until later, but someone told me anyway.

***I suspect it was a false alarm.


Anonymous said...

Giddy up Jen, See you in 14 months :) for some freeflying :)

Namowal said...

Thanks, Anon,
It's gonna take lots of jumps before I have any business freeflying, but I'll see how many I can squeeze in between when I'm cleared to jump and 14 months from now. :)

Pile Girl said...

I'm so glad you're doing better. :D

Anondamaus said...

It's great to hear you're getting better (slowly, but surely)! About how long do you have quit skydiving?

And stay safe in there, okay?
More people have died in hospitals than in our sport, ya know ;)

Also, great illustrations.

K. said...

Love your illustrations!!

Namowal said...

Pile Girl,

Thanks to you too. :)
The doctors seem to agree there should be a four month gap between the accident and when it's safe to jump again, so I'll probably be back in the sky by January. Glad I live somewhere where the DZ stays open year-round.

Thanks. Glad you like them. :)

Linda Davick said...

I love the 3rd and 4th panels especially, but I love them all!! (But hate the reality of the situation.)

Namo, you are somethin else.

Namowal said...

Thanks, Linda,
Don't feel too bad about the situation- all the money I'd be spending on renting gear and jump tickets is going towards buying my own gear.