11/13/2014 05:42 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Pain Sucks


This morning brought a splendid gift: I can walk without pain for the first time in two months. I feel like joyfully dancing in the street, but I'm so uncoordinated that I'd trip on a pebble and break a bone. I'll just be quiet and appreciate the simple pleasure of moving without projectile spittle, profuse swearing, and the manic desire to club strangers with my crutches.

After falling down with such spectacular efficiency that the meniscus tore beneath my knee and the leg bone cracked, I needed surgery to repair the damage. It's humbling to depend upon others to care for me but there are some handy perks.

If you endure an accident and are temporarily incapacitated, here are some tips for surviving the ordeal:

1. Realize that everything is relative. Forget fashion. My sassy shirts and stylish capris weren't touched for two months because I could only wear sweatpants and comfortable tops. It didn't matter if my socks matched. But I still wore earrings, even while confined to my recliner. If I can't put on earrings, my family will know I'm near death.

2. The world will continue to turn without you. By canceling appointments and staying home, I gained a new appreciation for my house, chair, books, and silence. I also saved a lot of money not buying gas.

3. A loving, patient partner is better than gold. For weeks, Studley took me to doctor's appointments, made meals, washed dishes, did the laundry, and maintained the ice machine on my leg while also working a demanding, full-time job. However, there is a limit. I told him last night that he was welcome to continue these activities, and he remarked that a nearby apartment complex has some openings.

4. Appreciate your family and friends. I received nice phone calls, hot meals, hugs from grandkids, and a can of chocolate-covered pecans from Texas! I exploited the situation to full advantage.

5. Be kinder to disadvantaged people. My discomfort lasted for two months, but there are people who suffer for years with physical disabilities and chronic pain. Find ways to help them. When I finally was able to bumble about on crutches, I was thankful for those who opened doors for me, allowed me to go first in line, and didn't complain when I used my handicapped parking permit.

6. Do not become a television zombie. Daytime television offers a bunch of brain-eating crap! The soap operas have had the same plot for 30 years, and the beautiful actors always have the same tortured expression at the end of every angst-filled scene. Lady, if I had clothes and jewelry like yours, I'd at least crack a smile every now and then. Reality talk shows display and exploit the worst of humanity, and game shows remind me of rats in a maze at Vegas. There are some good shows on Public Television, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and I love the old movies. The best part of home confinement was to be surrounded by books, and I actually read some from cover to cover -- a splendid treat.

Accidents happen, and our attitudes can hinder or help our recovery. I didn't always follow the instructions of my physical therapist, so my healing time took longer. Finally, I obeyed the order to be still and rest, and my body responded and became stronger. The best part of physical pain is when it goes away. Today, I can walk, and the world is beautiful.