Temporarily Out-of-Order

Before I start, you should know that when I say “out of order” I’m referring to my own personal circumstances, and I’m not trying to suggest that anyone else who needs assistance is in any way incapacitated. I’m just not up to my normal level of activity or mobility, hence being “temporarily out of order”!

A little over a week ago, I had some corrective surgery on both of my feet, to remove some bunions and realign my toes. I prefer not to use this word as it isn’t the most appealing, and conjures up visions in my mind of evil hags with crooked smiles and feet to match. Maybe I have been watching too many Disney movies? Either way, the bottom line is I had some bones sticking out of my feet, and I had them removed. On both feet. At a time. And now I can’t walk, stand, shower, dress or leave the house without assistance. I won’t be able to drive for at least 7 more weeks, much less walk, work or do anything else other than lie in bed with my legs in the air (feet must be elevated at all times) and wait for my mum to bring me my medicine/lunch/ water anything else I might need. She says she feels as though she has a newborn again!

This is a minor set back in my life, a forced lesson in how to relax and literally put my feet up and slow down for a bit (my health depends on it).I had to get this fixed because my feet were so sore from standing up for the past 3 years of my professional life. That’s not very long in the scheme of things! I consider myself lucky to be able to have the support that I do to fix it now, before I have even bigger responsibilities to think about. So basically, I need crutches to walk, a walking frame to stand up, a special commode (chair) to sit on in the shower and, wait for it….. a wheelchair. Naturally, for leaving the house, because I am unable to walk on uneven surfaces, wet ground, dirty ground or any ground basically, for risk of infection and because after about 5 steps I am tired.

What an eye opener this is! First of all, I have to rely on someone else to drive me everywhere, put the chair in the car, park the car, get the chair out, and then help me out of the car and into the chair. I am waiting a temporary ACORD (disabled) parking sticker to make life easier for all of us over the next few months, but until that comes, we aren’t really able to park in disabled parking bays without proper permission.

On my first outing for the whole week, we went to the shops, and there was a car parked in the special bay that didn’t have a sticker, didn’t have a person who needed help in the car or walking to the bay. Seeing my mum struggle with the chair, with me, and the crutches, from a far away parking space made this guy drive away sheepishly in a cloud of exhaust fumes. It’s a bit hard to fit a wheel chair into a two door convertible…don’t you think? Then it dawned on me. As much as I hate to say it, on at least one occasion, I have been guilty of parking in those very bays when I have quickly ducked into the shops. Never, ever again! They are there for a reason, and unless that reason is you, you definitely shouldn’t park there! It took two broken feet for me to discover that, and I will never again park somewhere that I’m not meant to. Out of respect!

I am lucky enough that this situation of mine is temporary, much less from elective surgery. There are some people who have to deal with this on a daily basis, through way of accident or birth and I truly admire them. It literally takes me 20 minutes, 2 crutches and another person to climb a few stairs. Some people can’t even do that. I felt uncomfortable in public in a wheelchair. Children stared, people didn’t move when I said excuse me, and whenever we encountered someone, the person would speak to whoever was pushing my chair, and not me! Maybe they just didn’t know where to look or what to think? From my line of work, I am used to interacting with people from all walks of life, both native english speakers, and not, able bodied or otherwise, and we were trained to always speak to the person, not their mobility aid/wheelchair/ carer unless they’re unable to speak for themselves.I try to carry this on in everyday life.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some people that were very accommodating and kind while I’ve been wheeling around the way I have, but they have mostly been nurses, pharmacists and healthcare professionals, who are used to seeing lots of different kinds of people (a bit like those in aviation/customer service!).

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My smiley “still numb with painkillers” face + my trusty service dog 😉

So while I sit here, and rest, and heal, and my feet slowly un-swell from the size of footballs and lose their hideous purple/blue tinge, I thought I would share this with you all. I am so grateful that I can feel my toes, that I can move (albeit with help), for the people around me that look after me, care for me, and carry me up and down the stairs. I can see now why people who are full time carers seek financial assistance for their roles. It is emotionally and financially draining! So next time you see someone in a wheelchair, don’t avoid eye contact, or ignore them, or act any differently. Just smile, acknowledge them, be polite and treat everyone how you’d like to be treated. Karma is a bitch and you’d hate to be in a difficult position one day, especially without a parking space 😉

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I hope you have enjoyed this candid little post. It isn’t much to do with travelling, or flying, or leaving the house, but it’s true and that’s what this little online space is all about. My own little written therapy to share and vent, and I assure you there will be much more to come 🙂

Happy and mobile travels,

Taylor x

p.s This wasn’t caused by flying. It has to do with standing up and how my feet are shaped. It is quite common, not just with those who have worked as cabin crew, but any career that requires prolonged periods of standing up.

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A bit gruesome- my before and after shot of my tootsies

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This guy even makes being in a wheelchair fun 😛

11 thoughts on “Temporarily Out-of-Order

  1. Wow. So much respect for the honesty and deep feelings which you shared. I’m studying to be a rabbi and am spending a lot of time talking about relating to and having empathy for people in different life situations. I appreciate your helping me to understand your situation; it sounds like you already had a lot of empathy for different-abled people before your surgery. Speedy recovery and thanks again for writing!

    • Thank you Gabriel! I am glad this was beneficial for you! I really felt a bit selfish for writing this post at all, so I am glad it has been helpful! As always, thank you for reading, and all the best with your rabbi studies 🙂

  2. My dad is disabled so I fully empathise with you! I guess no-one really understands the struggle until they see it first hand! I hope you have a speedy recovery xo

  3. Ohhhh I really understand what you are going through I was injured about two years ago and couldn’t do anything for many months.. I still can’t do sports which I love and don’t know if I ever can.. But just wanted to say if your situation is only for a while and you will be ok really appreciate that fact ! you are a lucky girl!! xx

  4. Hey Taylor! I noticed yo haven’t been posting and came over here to check on you haha I didn’t know this! Hope your making it through the temporary disableness and recovering well. 🙂

    I went through something similar as a kid, because of a broken toe (I dropped a bottle of coke on it, go figure! haha) and a torn knee ligament on my very first week of Uni. I felt so much like you, people driving their gaze away, out of pity and not knowing what to do/say/feel, and the thankfulness for it being temporary. Thinking of running used to make me longing and happy. It’s funny.

    Anyways, I wanted to tell you something. I notice you get a lil bit appologetic when you feel like you talked too much about yourself on a post. You should know that it’s pretty fine, because it’s **your** (awesome) blog, and those of us who read, do it bc we love it. So, i guess, keep it themed along your interests, but remember its enjoyable both for you and for us.
    Sorry if I’m overstepping here, but I’ve been wanting to tell you that for a while.

    Xx
    Carol

    • Hi Carol! Thank you for your concern! I am almost fully recovered and back in shoes and basically back to work! I agree, you don’t know what you’ve got until it is gone (or temporarily compromised, in our situations). Wow, I appreciate that! Thank you, I’ll keep it in mind! I suppose you are right, if no one wants to read it then they don’t have to! Thanks for your honesty andsupport x

  5. Hi there 🙂 how is your recovery going? Hoping you are doing well, and will be getting back in the air soon!

    I have immediate sympathies with your situation…. The injury does not lie with myself, but with my girlfriend.

    Last year November, on a layover in Melbourne, she decided to go jogging before a little shopping spree, during which she sadly fell and BROKE HER HIP!! Yeah I know, how do you do that from a normal fall, right?

    Either way, she has since been taken well care of by Emirates, and she came home in December for her recovery. However, she was laid off from work because she was still in her probation period. Sad….she was one month away from graduation and then things would have been so very different. All in all, she will be able to reapply, and will only have to do final interview again. She already started running again and swimming long distance, which makes me feel very very stressed…

    Have you started flying again? Hope you are doing well!

    • Hello! Good thank you, almost fully functional now! That is horrible, I feel so sorry for her! Do you think she will reapply?
      I don’t fly anymore, now I work on the ground for an Aussie Airline- same perks, same hours, different uniform…but my own bed! It’s a nice change 🙂 Wish your girlfriend all the best and I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery and is doing something she loves very soon!

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