I broke my leg. I jumped off a climbing wall, and apparently the pad wasn’t enough padding, so I’m “non-weight-bearing” for 8 weeks post-surgery (the fracture was displaced, so they had to put pins in). It was and is a pretty sucky situation, but there have been a lot of things which have made it much better, and I think they’re worth noting.
I had sort of a unique experience with my injury, and ended up staying home for about two and a half weeks. I broke my leg on Sunday, and was already scheduled to go home to Seattle on Wednesday, to check out UW as a potential grad school. It seemed silly to come back that weekend, get surgery, and basically recover in my dorm room before heading back west for spring break, so I ended up staying in Seattle for a week longer than expected, and spring break was right after, so 2.5 weeks total. Recovering with the assistance of my parents made all the difference in the world. They helped me get food, practice on my crutches, stay comfortable, encouraged me to try and be productive (but understand when I slept , instead), and all around pampered the heck out of me, while still challenging me to stay active and work hard. My house has a really bizarre entryway – a long, sloping path, with no bannister and a step about every 4 feet, so I had to learn quickly how to do stairs and hills on my crutches. My bedroom is also on the second floor, so I developed several techniques for getting up and down stairs.
While I find the whole story interesting, that’s really not what I want to tell you about. Before I left for Seattle, there were about three days where I was basically house-bound, and my range on crutches was horribly short. My lovely suitemates and wonderful friends immediately stepped up, picking up food when it was delivered, carrying things up the stairs for me, fetching ice whenever I needed it, and picking up packages and medicine for me. I had a hard time with this – though I undoubtedly needed the help, it was hard for me to accept it when it was offered, and even harder to ask for it. Several emails from family members who’d broken their legs (always the left, for some reason) urged me to ask for and accept assistance, reminding me that I would be happy to help a friend in the same position. With much urging, and lots of practice at home with my parents, I became much more comfortable with my need for help. I even developed a weird door-related sense of entitlement – I feel slightly resentful when I’m trying to get out a door (which is actually not very hard), and there’s someone nearby who doesn’t leap up to help me. Mostly, though, even strangers are ready and willing to offer help – on the plane, around campus, delivering groceries...people are, on the whole, pretty wonderful.
So here’s the deal: when you need help, when things aren’t going well, OWN UP. Allow yourself to have a hard time, and understand that if you need it, help is available. I emailed all my teachers to tell them I’d be missing a week and a half of school, and why, and without fail, they adjusted: excused quizzes, rescheduled meetings and midterms, extended deadlines, and were generally wonderful and accepting. My friends come visit me, my study buddies come to my suite to work, my classmates lend me notes, I’m gradually catching up on work and really, life is shockingly great. I can say with 100% certainty, most of that is because of all the magnificent humans who have bent over backwards to help and encourage me. I am constantly thankful for them, and for everyone who offered and offers me help.
We live in a wonderful world, with wonderful people, and the people at Tufts even more so. Whether academic, personal, or physical, assistance is out there. Use it.