12 Things I Learned Getting Around With A Gimp Ankle, So You ~Hopefully~ Don't Have To

12 Things I Learned Getting Around With A Gimp Ankle, So You ~Hopefully~ Don't Have To

If it looks stupid but it works, it ain't stupid.

I'm on crutches. Again.

I have a bad habit of unintentionally ending up in the ER every once in a while (seven concussions and counting). I had a good streak going—my last incident was a year and a half ago when a metal curtain rod fell on my head, just like a cartoon. I was about due for another visit, so naturally, I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my ankle.

Yes, I actually looked like this.

After a five hour experience in the ER, I was stinted up and on my way. Thankfully, I had someone available to spend the night and make sure I was all set up to get myself through the next day.

I'll admit, I've taken walking for granted even after being on crutches many times before. It's a privilege to have two functional legs and feet. I'll also admit I'm a supporter of the phrase, "If it looks stupid but it works, it ain't stupid."

This isn't my first time in a cast, but it is my first time being alone in one. Although I'll have some help soon, it's not practical for others to put their life on hold and monitor my liable self 24/7. Darwin would tell you I've acquired some new skills in order to adapt to my new environment-- only the strong survive.

So, I'd like to pass some tips along to the next person that breaks a lower limb and wonders how the hell they're going to make it through the day alone.

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Do not attempt these if you are not physically equipped to do so. Seek professional help from a legitimate doctor if you're injured.

1. Stretch your good leg.

You're gonna be relying on it while you hop around for the next few weeks, so it's best to keep it stretched and ready to go. I like to point my toes toward me while my gimp leg is elevated. If you're feeling flexible, lean into it a bit.

2. Wheely chairs are your friend.

Wheelchairs are expensive and crutches are extremely uncomfortable, especially for someone who isn't balanced enough to not break my ankle in the first place. If you're stuck at the house and you have a desk or kitchen chair with wheels, put it to good use.

Whether you sit on it or put your knee up to use it as a scooter, just go slow so you don't bump into anything and be sure to keep your gimp leg off the floor.

3. So are pillows.

Elevate it. Don't question this one; pile them two or three high whenever you sit, lie down or sleep. You shouldn't be moving at all, but nature calls (we all have to eat and go to the bathroom) and moving it around can make it sore. I'm stubborn. I assume if I'm not in throbbing pain, I don't need to ice or elevate. Don't be like me—get a leg up in your recovery by getting your damn leg up.

4. Crawling is plausible when it comes to stairs.

I live on the third floor with no elevator. I am fully aware that I should not be putting pressure on my ankle, but hopping up three flights of stairs on one leg when you are far from athletic is the worst.

I kept my foot straight out and used the edge of my knee to make it up or scooted on my butt while using my hands to lift myself, and I plan to go back down as little as possible. Better than sleeping in my car, that's for sure.

5. Drink water.

I know, I know—water is the solution to all medical problems according to the internet. Having one functional leg makes activities like going to the bathroom or heating up some leftovers feel like an absolute workout. Crutches are no walk in the park either (ba dum tss). Pace yourself so you don't have to pee every hour, but stay hydrated.

6. Take your Vitamin C.

A combination of a cast that is covered in germs, not being able to exercise or shower without assistance is a recipe for sickness. Be sure to take precaution by drinking cranberry juice or taking supplements so you don't end up with a sinus infection on top of everything else (like I did).

7. Pants are optional.

Just take them off, honestly. Casts are bulky and it's hard enough to sit and stand, let alone balance on one leg to get pants pulled back up. If you have someone taking care of you, they probably love you enough to not be offended. Being in underwear is no different than being in a swimsuit, and no one ever makes a fuss about that.

8. Use a messenger bag or fanny pack.

If I'm moving my bed to the couch, I want to make sure I have everything with me so I only have to make one trip. Since my hands are occupied with crutches, I put my chapstick, phone, charger, book, water bottle, etc. into a bag and drape it around my neck or waist. Be careful—the purse will swing and can potentially knock a crutch off balance if carried normally.

9. Wrap the top of your crutches.

Dish towels, long socks or even a stretchy medical wrap work well (and rubber bands to secure in place). I waited to do this and ended up with some gnarly blood blisters on my sides. Do it ASAP. Your armpits will thank you.

10. Your good leg will feel bionic.

You know how when you workout for the first time in a long time and your entire body feels like it's mad at you? That's how the first few days of crutches feel. Give it some time and your leg will build up a tolerance. My right calf muscle? Solid. My left calf muscle? Swollen.

11. Wear a bra (if applicable).

I'm busty. My back has its own problems prior to crutches—the last thing I need is for the girls to have a free-for-all while I'm trying to get to the bathroom. However, if you're able to relax and have someone to help you, by all means, take it off.

12. Plan before you move.

OK, what is the safest way to get yourself dressed? Would it be easier to reach your pain medicine before you hobble to the sink to brush your teeth or vice versa? Think things through before you move around more than necessary.

Cover Image Credit: Jackie Swan

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.


When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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