Update Part II – Emotional Trauma


In my last blog, I discussed my physical trauma related to my recent accident and injury.  I started with the physical issues because these are easier for most people to understand.  Even though they are severe, they are still relatable.

If you missed my last blog, here is a link…


I’ve broken bones before as I’m sure many of you have as well.  The recovery is usually 6-8 weeks on crutches or in a cast.  Then once the bones are healed, you can get back to normal activities with no issues.  I thought this break would be the same. But I was wrong.

This time, the severity of the breaks and the number of bones I broke meant a lot longer recovery time. However, I still thought that once the bones were healed I would be able to go back to normal activities right away.  Wrong again.

At 3 months post op I was told that my bones had finally healed. But that’s when I realized how far from “normal” I was and how long the road to a full recovery would be.

There is a lot more than just the bones healing involved in my recovery.  My muscles had atrophied and some of them were coming back slowly but others not at all.  On top of that, my nerves are all still numb and not working normally.

With all of these issues, I can’t get dressed, take a shower, get into bed, put my shoes on, cook meals, stand or walk for longer than 15 minutes (and I’ve worked up to this), and many other daily living activities without assistance.  It is very frustrating and upsetting.

Then there are the complications!

All of these have contributed to a longer recovery and a lot more emotional issues.

This is probably one of the hardest blogs I’ve ever written, physically and emotionally.  The past few weeks I’ve been battling yet another complication and just trying to sit down and type this has been extremely difficult, mentally and physically.

Just getting out of bed has been difficult.  Depression is taking its toll.

Emotionally, it is very hard to deal with friends saying, “You broke a few bones and they’re now healed so you should be walking around normally by now.  What’s wrong with you?”.

Seriously?! That is just heart-breaking for me to hear and it cuts like a knife.  There’s so much more to this recovery than just broken bones.

I have always been a strong, determined, independent woman.  So being laid up for 4 months has been difficult for me. I feel like a useless burden.  And I’ve been told it will take a full year or longer to recover fully.

The day I heard this; my emotions sunk to new lows!

In the beginning, I could see progress after I got out of the hospital.  It was slow but there was still progress.

Then I had my first setback… a whole day of intense pain

I thought something was wrong.  The physical therapist told me that I had just overdone it and I needed to take a break now and then.  I did and it helped.

Then I decided to look at my progress weekly instead of daily.  I would have a few good days and then one or two bad days.  But overall, every week there was progress.  This helped me stay positive.

Then my next setback… my second doctor’s appointment

I had been looking forward to my doctor’s appointment at eight weeks post-op because I was excited to hear about my healing.  In my mind, my bones should have been healed by then and I could move on to the next phase of healing.  Nope.  The doctor took X-rays and told me that my bones were not healing.

Those results were upsetting and scared me.  Why were my bones not healing?  What was wrong?  Were they ever going to heal properly?  Was the surgery successful?  Was I going to be able to keep my leg?

Plus the doctor told me that I would have to stay off my leg, non-weight bearing, for another 6 weeks.  That was such a letdown! I was really looking forward to start walking again.

This meant that I had to hop around on my good leg for 6 more weeks.  The more pressure I had to use and overcompensate with the rest of my body, the more painful my good parts became.

Being stuck inside, hopping around on one leg, in pain, and completely dependent on someone else for 12 whole weeks was extremely hard for me.  I was frustrated, upset, depressed, and scared.  Lots of emotions going on.

Finally, at 12 weeks the doctor gave me good news.  My bones were finally healed.  Now I could go full weight bearing, as tolerated, and start moving forward again with my healing process.  This made me happier.

Then the next setback…Blood Clot (DVT)

The next week I got the bad news about having a blood clot.  This set me back as I was told that I had to pause everything for a minimum of 3 months until the blood clot went away.  Here I was so happy to finally be healing and progressing and even excited to get into PT and start doing things on my own.  Nope.

I wasn’t allowed to do anything to increase the circulation in my leg to get the swelling down. I was also told that I couldn’t do anything new in PT that may push the blood clot into my lungs, heart, or brain.  And the idea that the blood clot could move and possibly kill me was also very scary.

I tried to stay positive and I told myself, “I can do this, it’s only for another 3 months”.  But it’s tough.

Then the next setbacks hit…a fractured wrist and a bowel obstruction

Well, the good parts of my body were finally starting to give out.  At 16 weeks post-op, I was now full weight-bearing but still using a walker because I couldn’t balance myself.  Well, on one of my trips to another room, my wrist just snapped.  I thought it was sprained but found out a week later that it was fractured.

Try using a walker with one bad leg (left) and one bad arm (right).  It was very difficult. This just added to my emotional issues.  It felt like one step forward and three steps backward.

Two weeks after this I went back into the doctor’s office for severe abdominal pain.  After a few tests, I found out it was a bowel obstruction.  I have been put on a liquid diet, bed rest, and lots of new medications since. If this doesn’t resolve itself I will have to go back into surgery.  Besides the fact that I am in intense pain every day because of it.

I now am so despondent and depressed about my recovery and all my setbacks that some days I can’t get out of bed and other days I can’t stop crying. So much for being positive.  I’m still trying to find that silver lining, but it is very difficult.

I still can’t do much for myself, I still have very painful days, I can’t bend or straighten my leg fully, I can’t go visit my horse, I feel like my recovery has been drastically hindered, and I feel very frustrated and scared.

This whole process has shown me how the body and mind work, or don’t work, after an injury like this.  It’s tougher than I ever thought; physically, emotionally, and mentally. I have so many ups and downs, sometimes in the same day.

Due to the trauma of the accident, I experience emotions such as clinical depression, intense fear, anger, frustration, loneliness, uncontrollable crying, total apathy, and more.

I hope that seeing the emotional trauma that I’m going through with this injury can help others going through the same thing or friends/family with someone they know.  It’s not as easy as you may think.

And I have to thank all those that have reached out to me to talk on the phone or through email.  It has made a big difference and kept me going down a more positive road to recovery.  It means a lot to me.

Until next time, have a great weekend, stay safe and Happy Horses!


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