Week 1: Working with a broken ankle

As many of you know, I had quite a bit of travel planned at the end of summer and early fall.  I was heading to Phoenix for the GoDaddy Leadership Summit, Orlando for the Recurring Revenue Retreat, visiting my folks for their 69th wedding anniversary, celebrating 30 years of marriage with my husband, and getting my annual trip to New Orleans in for the year.

Well, that has all come to a screeching halt with one roll of my ankle.  During a last minute visit to a friend’s annual backyard brunch, I turned my ankle and landed on my ass.  Thinking I just sprained it, I iced and elevated it all the next day, but realized I might be in trouble when I couldn’t bear any weight on it at all.  With a ton of upcoming travel, I got into my regular doctor that Monday and after a long day of x-rays and waiting, I found out I had a broken ankle.

I sadly had to call my GoDaddy Roadshow comrades and tell them I was out of commission.  With a sprain, I had envisioned myself rolling in like Dave Grohl and his iron throne into Phoenix, but with a broken bone, it was out of the question.  I shed a few tears, and then lifted my head and decided that all I can do is accept my fate.  I have 8-10 weeks ahead of me of not walking, rehabilitation after I can walk and I have to just give in completely to my new reality. There is one trip the calendar is accommodating to – WordCamp US.  Thank goodness, or the tears would still be streaming.

In terms of opportunity, perhaps I can share with others how I cope and adjust over the next few weeks.  I have already learned so much in this brief 7 days since my ankle roll.  Here are just a few lessons I’ve learned:

  • Just because you have a desk job doesn’t mean you’ll be able to work normal hours
  • Client requests are coming no matter what
  • Inquiries are coming in no matter what
  • Some clients are not going to be understanding of your situation
  • Your family has to pick up your slack
  • If you’re a control freak, you have to accept that in life, sometimes accidents happen
  • The dog is going to look at you with disappointed eyes all day long

What I quickly understood is best expressed in this quote:

Week 1 has been a lesson in patience.

After a full day at the doctor on Monday and news that surgery is a possibility if my healing is slow, I came home with one goal:

Support healing my ankle, no matter what.

Here are the actions I took in my first week to support my healing:

  • I took 48 hours off and laid on the couch with my leg elevated
  • I only let those clients immediately affected know what happened to keep calls to a minimum
  • I took the pain pills I was prescribed
  • I drank tons of water, took supplements and focused on protein and calcium-rich foods
  • I ordered a knee scooter on Amazon
  • I let friends that wanted to help come by to visit
  • I figured out a new bathing routine without a traditional shower
  • I tried to wake up early on most days (this didn’t always work out, but I tried)
  • I got my crutches out and practiced
  • I never put any weight on my broken ankle
  • I wrote in my gratitude journal every single morning
  • I answered Facetime calls even with messy hair and no makeup

When I did finally attempt work, I did so in short intervals and tried different positions and places to work.  I quickly figured out that my office is going to be a tough fit, at least for now, because I can’t prop  my leg up high enough under my desk. Working on the couch with the laptop table is tough on my back.  My best bet is my kitchen table, where it all started for me.

Being a successful freelance web designer for me has become more about mastering my habits than anything else. And learning to change those habits when life happens is also a critical part of the journey.

RESOURCES: Fit For Work – Work adjustments for someone recovering from a broken bone/fracture

About WebCami

Cami MacNamara has been designing websites since 2002 from her home office in Seattle, Washington. Her career started as a way to be a stay-at-home mom. Certification soon followed and persistence paid off. Cami has designed 500+ websites and wants to share what she learned along the way. Look for her at WordCamp Seattle. Follow: WebCami.com / Twitter / Instagram