The Light Side of Ankle Reconstruction

On Wednesday, I had scheduled surgery for an ankle problem.  I have had issues with this ankle for years, and surgery was the only solution. Everything appeared to be routine,until they found what was worse than expected. So much for “routine”! I was told I had no ligaments remaining, and it was bad. So rebuild they did…

Now comes the hard part, recovery… I have this fiberglass Boot, a walker, and PT coming my way, It is a humbling experience, when you must rely on others’ like NEVER  before. Being fiercely independent, this is a bit of a challenge.  So as I continue my journey on recovering from a brand new ankle, I am sending out a challenge to all of you: Please tell me how You on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis do you help those who have a disability…. temporary or long term.. I want to hear your stories, And I will post mine as soon as I can leave the house!


17 responses to “The Light Side of Ankle Reconstruction

  1. Sounds like recovery will be a bit of a long road. But at least you are writing again, unlike some of us. ~sigh~

    To answer the question, I’ve always thought that the best way to assist anyone with a disability is to simply remember your manners. Get the door, ask if you can assist, and be mindful of your surroundings that may inhibit that persons ability to move around and function independently.

    In the work world, I used to hire those with developmental, emotional and physical disabilities regularly. And will be hiring another developmentally challenged young man to work for me soon. I’ve learned so much from each and every one of those folks.

    We had a young woman working in our call center who was blind, and with a few minor adjustments (braille printouts on the beams so she knew what aisle she was in) she walked the store with no problems, and was able to assist customers with directions as long as she knew exactly where she was standing.

    Many employers do not realize the tax benefits gained from hiring anyone disabled, nor to they realize the personal benefits one receives from the experience.

    You got me thinking on a Saturday morning!

  2. When I began working as a Spiritual Director, and even, in my alter-ego as a magazine editor, I was surprised how often people who’d suffered through crisis – serious illness, disability, chronic pain, loss of a loved one – told me, “It was a learning experience,” or even, “It was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

    Since then, I’ve witnessed again and again how what looks like affliction can transform us. In the midst of pain and struggle, this may not be what you’re wanting to hear.

    I know when I am struggling with a migraine or witnessing my husband’s lower back pain, the question is more about relief, about support.

    What I’ve found is this: When I let go and let the pain come (and stop resisting it, stop pushing against it) I find that it eases. I also find, hidden at the center of my own pain, un-cried tears, withheld anger. And finding it, I can use the razor’s edge of my pain to release it.

    Blessings on your recovery.

  3. Nice to see you back Shennee!

    Honestly, I always take each individual on their own merits and talents and when there is a mutual fit great things happen. Usually, adaptations aren’t that difficult to arrange in the workplace and there are organizations that can help make it happen.

    In my personal life usually I just let it be known I’m available and ask how I can help.


  4. It can be difficult to be a patient. If you have the right care takers, your experience can be a good one. I’ve had both but find myself caring about them. I often ask them about their lives. If they are around for a while as some of them have been, we become friends. Just because we go through something unpleasant doesn’t mean we have to take others with us.

  5. Hey Shennee – hope the recovery is coming along well!

    I think one of the key things anyone can do to help someone in recovery/with a disability is not to forget. Particularly with longer-term issues, when it’s not you suffering, it’s easy to help out to begin with and then kinda forget and continue on with your life.

    My Grandma’s been wheelchair bound for several years now. Even something as simple as going to the supermarket is an exciting, noteworthy event to her.

    Asking what you can do to help is the biggest gift though. Taking flowers or gifts is lovely, but something that they need – picking up a few groceries or helping them get to a doctor’s appointment – may be a far more priceless gift.

    Obviously, as Karla says, it’s a case by case situation though. I hope you have a great support group Shennee – I’m sure you must! 🙂


  6. I share the fiercely independent gene with you Shennee and I’m not a very patient patient. I feel your frustration. I’m know, asking is the most difficult part. Although, people are usually quick to help if we ask … it’s the asking that tough.

    Glad you’re on the road to recovery. With your indomitable spirit you’ll be running a marathon soon. 🙂

  7. Hi Shennee, nice post! I have been working in the field of developmental disabilities since I left college, so I hesitate to say much when Iam surrounded by people who do a whole lot more than me every day.

    It is my personal mission to hire the best possible staff to work with our individuals who have disabilities and to help create a welcoming environment where those staff will thrive and want to stay.

    Outside of work, I try to see people as people first rather than focusing on labels. For example, last week in the grocery store, I made eye contact with an older woman wheeling her chair toward me. I gave her a big smile and a nod. She told me she loved my scarf and we got into a really nice little conversation sharing shopping secrets. It was a tiny thing but I left feeling happy and uplifted, and I very much hope she did also.

  8. Wow, you have inspired some great comments with this post, Shennee. I wish you a speedy recovery.

  9. P.S. I often write about disability insurance. It is very important to have! A third of workers will become disabled – at least for some period of time – during their careers.

  10. We missed you on Twitter, Shennee! We should schedule some time to chat this week. I know that I was extremely stir crazy when I had major surgery (of course I was also sleep deprived mainly because of my new baby).
    My biggest advice to you is not to try to overdo it. Easier said than done I know.

    Best Wishes!



  11. How do I help someone with a disability? Put up with their crankiness as long as I can?

  12. Take it easy, take care of yourself Shennee and this too will be behind you.

  13. I hope you have a great recovery darlin’ What I always remember about someone with a disability long or short term is, That they are just like me only need a little assistance and acknowledgment.
    I always ask if I can help but careful not to overdo. Most with long term disability take much pride in doing things that they can do for themselves.

  14. I developed a long comment, and it someone did not post. Let me just say that I support you, and if there’s anything I can do-feel free to call upon me.

    Remember, regardless of where you are, there a a million people who love you on twitter, and in your community. Trust G-d that all is well.

    Your twitterpal,

  15. I always ask anyone that I know who is having trouble if they need help. I always cheerfully oblige if they respond or if they otherwise ask.

    Beyond that, I am like Tammy – I try to be polite, grab doors, packages, etc. and not rush by people who are limping, slow, or obviously struggling.

    I try not to push too much, though, because in my eyes fiercely independent people (like me, too!) don’t want too much help and I try to maintain a line between being helpful and being patronizing. I HATE being patronized.

    I walked limping into the store the other day and the greeter immediately tried to get me into one of the motorized shopping cart things. At the same time, she was blocking my access to the regular shopping carts. I kept saying no thanks, I just want a regular cart to lean on. She meant well, but how helpful was she, really?

    As Shennee knows, my foot surgery was the week before hers. It WILL get better and you WILL get through this!

  16. Here’s wishing you a speedy recovery!

    My sister is on disability & I have a good friend who also has a debilitating illness. I help when I can, like do some chores, run errands or lend a sympathetic ear. But my advice for anyone with a disability is always the same:

    1) HEAL YOURSELF, stay postitive and do everything in your own power to get better, bit by bit, a little every day. Quit smoking, drinking & detox yourself by eating better, exercising to the level that you can, meditate/pray, get a massage or practice yoga, etc. A little self-determination, faith in a higher power & sheer will power goes a long way.

    2) GET HELP, with online & in-person support groups & communities. You are not alone, other people have been through whatever your illness, disability or issue is. Seek them out & find out what they are doing, and have done to cope. The web is also full of inspirational people and self-help content; seek & you shall find.

    3) SEEK NEW OPPORTUNITIES. This is a good time to change career directions by looking into what you CAN DO rather than focus on what you can no longer do. Write a book, start a for profit blog or home-based business, help others as a consultant, mentor or tutor. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

    Hope this helps, Aloha ~Sylvia

  17. Thank you everyone for reading my post, and your nice comments. I am looking forward to getting back on two feet sooner, rather than later:)I really appreciate all of my great twitter friends and family.

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