Tag Archives: gardening

The Challenges of Gardening and Cooking on Crutches

17 May

This title is misleading because it sounds like I actually have been able to do some gardening and cooking since breaking my ankle three weeks ago and being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis three days ago. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hence this lovely photo of one of the many weeds that have now taken up residence in the garden. And the absence of any photos (or blog posts) pertaining to new garden initiatives or new dishes. But I can write about things happening in the garden of their own accord (future posts), as well as recent lessons learned, many of which involve crutches (this post).

Weeds

1. When crossing a street, look left, right, and DOWN. Or else your ankle could go one way and you could go the other, with unhappy results.
2. You will develop a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with your crutches.
3. Crutches are made to transport mainly one thing–you. But you have been used to transporting multiple things yourself with the help of both your hands and feet, one of which can no longer be used and the other three of which are valiantly trying to to keep you upright and semi-mobile. This poses certain challenges.
4. Namely, how to transport hot beverages. A beverage tray for crutches would really come in handy. I was able to carry a number of things on crutches via the-tuck-the-item-into-my-waistband-and-hope-my-pants-don’t-fall-down method, but I didn’t dare try that with a cup of tea.
5. Not being able to use one foot means you will develop really good balancing skills on the other one. This came in handy when I leaned over on one foot to pull a few weeds from the edge of our patio the other day, though the neighbors may have thought I was practicing some bizarre new form of Tai Chi. The downside to all this balancing on one foot: your injured leg muscles will disappear while the muscles on your other leg will fill out quite nicely, leading to a lovely asymmetrical look.
6. If you are like me, crutches will also allow you to discover muscles in your arms that you didn’t know existed. That’s another plus: increased upper body strength for improved gardening efficiency. But if the muscles in your injured leg ever start aching, pay attention. What I thought was a calf muscle that was strained from limping around too much three weeks post fracture turned out to be a blood clot.
7. If you should ever have the misfortune to end up with deep vein thrombosis after a fracture, you will find that all things considered, the fracture might actually be the less painful/scary of the two. Part of the reason is the blood-thinning medication you have to inject into your own stomach twice a day, which feels as if you were being stung by a bee each time. It is really not fair to bees.
8. Finally and most importantly, be immensely thankful when your body works well. All the many parts, including the humble foot, make even the simplest things possible–yet it’s so easy to take those parts for granted.
9. Ditto for the family members and friends/coworkers who turned into nurses, chauffeurs, and advocates at a moment’s notice. They make everything possible, too.