I’m often asked what my greatest fear is in regards to living overseas. People usually expect my answer to involve bombs, terrorist hijackings, riots or getting a haircut. But in truth, my greatest fear is something much less exciting.
I am terrified of breaking my leg while living overseas.
Why, you may ask? Because Europe is the least handicapped accessible place I have ever lived in.
Photo by Tony Crider
In May, I came face to face with my worst nightmare. I didn’t break my leg, but I did have knee surgery. Six weeks on crutches.
My first hurdle was climbing the two flights of stairs up to my apartment. I considered having Darling Husband lower a basket over the side of the balcony and hoisting me up, but I wasn’t able to find a basket sturdy enough.
Next, I threatened to simply sit down and scoot backwards up the steps using my arms and one good leg. Darling Husband nixed that idea. DH is an athlete and the idea of scooting up and down the stairs was too humiliating. Of course, he wasn’t the one scooting along on his booty, but that didn’t matter.
Finally, I turned to my most reliable source of information – YouTube. I watched countless videos of how to walk up and down the stairs with crutches. After 40 videos, I had the technique firmly embedded in my memory and was prepared to tackle the two flights of stairs up to my apartment. Two flights of slippery marble steps that include a hairpin curve without a guardrail handrail.
Thirty minutes later, mumbling under my breath about dumb videos and the stupid people who post them, I made it to the top of the stairs. DH followed behind, steadying me as I experimented with various combinations of feet and crutches on my upward journey. I suspect DH stayed behind me so I wouldn’t see that he was laughing.
But I heard a snicker or two.
I got DH back for his snickers later that night. In the wee hours of the morning, nature called. I didn’t want to wake DH up from his sweet dreams, so I grabbed my crutches, carefully stood up and headed for the bathroom. Suddenly my crutches flew into the air as I tipped over backwards, bounced off the wooden sideboard, and landed on the floor. Evidently, a crutch must have hit DH in the head, because he sprang up from the bed shouting, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m SO sorry!!” The gigantic bruise on my back was worth seeing DH jump up from a sound sleep shouting, “I’m sorry.”
My biggest problem arose when DH went back to work and I was home alone. How do you carry your lunch from the kitchen to the recliner when you are on crutches???
My solution involved sweatpants with an elastic waistband. My drink of choice was poured into an insulated mug with a lid, then carefully positioned in the waistband of my pants. Lunch was packed in a plastic bowl with a lid, and set inside a plastic shopping bag. With my drink tucked into my waistband, and the bag wrapped around the handle of my crutches, I limped my way from the kitchen to the recliner. I quickly discovered that my mug would begin a meandering path down my leg if the elastic in my pants wasn’t tight enough. I solved that problem with a bigger mug.
I survived my six weeks of crutch torture, and realized that my fear wasn’t so fearful. God was still in control and walked alongside me each limping step of the way.
I also made Darling Husband promise that the next apartment we move into will have an elevator. He agreed after I held a crutch to his head.