Image by BlueSpecs Studio
A tale of Derby Injury by Risky Galore: Guest blog by Scottish lassie, skater and new ARD president.
Wee, sleekit, poor broken Beastie*
At a seemingly regular practice I came round the apex to meet the pack, I received a moderate and clean hit that I would, on any given day, have countered or taken in my stride, but not this day. I broke my tibia and fibula 9th March, it was a spiral oblique fracture of the tibial shaft i.e. I really f**ked my leg halfway up and there was a gap where there shouldn’t be, the surgeon thought I’d been hit by a car.
Now according to the very lovely paramedics I shouldn’t have remembered anything on my ketamine cocktail, but I remember the trip quite well. I had no concept of time, and didn’t really know what was going on, but my calm and brilliant team mates held me together, asked me about my cat and held my hand. I don’t have much memory of pain, flashes of blinding light and yelps, but the adrenaline and drugs carried me through. I didn’t enjoy the high though, sinking deep into the hole and “seeing” everyone high above me with their voices warped and distant will keep me away from ket for life.
As I left on the stretcher I shouted back to the hall to “join roller derby!”, as it was and still is an awesome sport. I then spouted a load of sh*t to Robert my paramedic who I insisted should be heretofore called Rabbie or Boaby after the dear Scottish poet Rabbie Burns.
The hospital treated me deftly and efficiently. I was scooped up, x-rayed, patched up, in a cast, had surgery and out a cast, taught to use crutches and home within 72 hours. It was an emotional and physical trial, but I had made it.
*Reference to Burns – excellent poem about a mouse
Patience is a virtue, just not one of mine
The first 6 weeks I was non-weight bearing. Now, I am fiercely independent, impatient and stubborn. Suddenly I had to rely on my (very patient and caring) partner, I had to ask friends for help, I couldn’t make my guests cups of tea.
When I was in the hospital and the heavy drugs wore off and I was semi-lucid, I told my partner that, yes this was crap, but now that I had all this time that I HAD to spend in bed or resting I could at least use it. I could finish my thesis, learn Dutch properly, research, read, become a nobel winning scientist. My reality was that pain meds gave me headaches and sore eyes, I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t even binge on Netflix. I came off them as soon as possible but then I had to deal with pain instead, so time passed slowly.
I can’t emphasise enough how important it is if you have a friend or league member out for whatever injury, physical or otherwise, please reach out. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think you are that close. It’s not awkward, it’s caring. And this is not to admonish anyone who didn’t drop a line – I didn’t do it enough before either, I didn’t realise. But it’s lonely, and even more than that it’s painfully frustrating.
For anyone going through this, reach back as well, it can be daunting – I know I felt like a nuisance at times, but it’s important to remind people you are there. Oh and being outside, chocolate, puzzles and podcasts work a treat – I would recommend My Dad Wrote a Porno.
Oh and BE PATIENT, don’t decide you are fine, not wait for help, go up the (Dutch) stairs on your own, then fall down them, you will give your buddy a heart attack and it’s not worth it.
Mind over Matter, Matter over Mind
As soon as the surgeon cleared me for weight bearing as bearable I was off. My improvement was pretty drastic, by my 3 month visit at the hospital and a follow up x-ray I was walking without pain or noticeable limp, I was cycling, back to work, I could skip and jump and I even went to the last practice of the season and skated for a bit. Yes it was hard and I still had moments of doubt and frustration but I was putting in the work, I was confident, and it was paying off.
Then I don’t know what happened, and neither do the doctors or physio, but I started having pain.
I know they say healing is not linear, it’s in every forum, every conversation about recovery, I’m pretty sure I saw it as a tattoo somewhere, but it’s still a slap in the face when you have to deal with it. I’m still struggling with it. There is no reason, there is no remedy, it is a part of the process and it f**king sucks.
It’s so easy to get caught up in trying to find the exact cause of the pain, which tendon, which movement, what stretch. But it’s the body reacting to some bloody trauma and it’s doing this amazing thing by healing and that’s not going to be peachy the whole time. And that’s OKAY. It’s also okay to not be okay with it, sometimes. An hour ago I was hitting my leg telling it to stop being silly and the night before last I cried a bit and felt sorry for myself. I think the ups and downs are a part of this process, it’s made me so in tune with my body, it’s strengthened relationships, given me perspective, and pushed me to speak up, I’ve had days so filled with love and laughter I was fit to burst so there is always a silver lining.
As I recover I refuse to let this incident govern my choices. What happened, was out of my control. The only way I could have avoided it was to not do what I love. I refuse to compromise my life on the random chance that something may happen.
Hello Old Friend
This week the new season started. I will be there. This week I will put my gear on and stand on my skates. I will evaluate my capabilities and be proud of anything I am able to do. I believe in visualisation, we practice it on the bench before our games, we see the jammer and hear the whistle, we identify possible challenges and we overcome them. The game doesn’t happen exactly the way we invision it, that’s not the point. The point is we have experienced it through one of it’s million possibilities and we can now face it as an old friend, no longer a stranger.
So I visualise the next step. Patiently.