6 Things I’ve Learned From Being On Bed Rest

Five weeks ago, I dislocated my knee and broke my ankle while swing dancing with some female rugby players. Let me be clear: getting down with a couple of props and a hooker is, in my life, fairly mundane. It’s as if my leg suddenly snapped in half while I was checking my Gmail or listening to NPR. I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. How could this happen?

As it turns out, my injuries are fairly serious, and I’ve been forced to take a month off from my job as a stand-up comic.

You: But can’t you just do sit-down comedy, ha ha?

Me: It’s not the performing so much as the getting up onto stages of varying heights, the navigating in and out of dank nightclubs with steep cement stairs, and the driving around in my car from city to city, which is literally impossible with my knee in this torture device called an “immobilizer.”

I’ve learned a lot being locked up for a month in my basement apartment, and I thought I’d share some of those lessons with You, the Unbroken:

1. Strength and exercise are really, really important.

I’m far from a fitness freak, but if I hadn’t been practicing yoga fairly regularly before my accident, I would not be able to do the one-legged-downward-dog-into-one-legged-stand maneuver that is currently required just to get up off the ground.

2. Fracking will destroy us all.

At the beginning of my convalescence, I exhausted my patience for narrative television and started craving documentaries. As I emerged from my Vicodin haze, I combed through Netflix and HBO-Go for some precious info-tainment. I found Gasland. If your only point of reference for the word “frack” is Battlestar Galactica, I highly recommend you get informed about hydraulic fracturing before your tap water bursts into flames.

3. That whole “good days, bad days” cliché? Totally true.

I’ve never had a recovery period this long before, and it turns out that productive periods are often followed by one or two days of total exhaustion. I get frustrated taking two hops forward only to take one hop back, but I’m learning to accept that this is simply the natural rhythm of healing.

4. The internet is not enough.

It’s been great to receive “get well” messages on social media, and my boredom has often been assuaged by the endless bits and bytes of content so readily available on my glowing laptop. But I long to pop out to a bar, to play some board games with friends, to throw a dinner party, to take a freakin’ walk. Which brings me to my next lesson…

5. I’m extremely lucky to be able-bodied.

I often resist exercise, preferring to get my heart-rate up by clicking on link after blog after tweet about the war on birth control. But right now, moving my body feels less like a chore and more like a privilege than ever before. I can’t wait for my next jog. Alas, I still have a lot of recovering ahead of me. I’m getting my cast cut off and returning to stand-up next week, but I won’t be able to walk without crutches for a while. I’m going on tour in June, and I’ll have to rely on my fellow comedians to carry my bags and help me get around. Fortunately, I’ve uncovered the following heartwarming truth about our species during this whole broken bone ordeal:

6. People are very helpful and kind.

From my extremely patient and caring spouse, to my mother and mother-in-law who both traveled to help me, to the many strangers who’ve offered to shop with me at the grocery store or simply expressed their hope that I recover quickly, my recent vulnerability has shown me just how willing others are to offer good will and assistance. It’s been humbling to experience it, and I can honestly say I’m far less cynical about humanity than ever before.

So please, the next time you’re twirling around a second-story bar with a scrum-half, be careful! Accidents happen when you least expect. But, when the inevitable bumps and scrapes of life do knock you down, I’m confident that you’ll find conscientious, caring people among the well who are willing to help you out. Maybe I’ll even be one of them. TC mark


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  • MamaJ

    Not only are others willing to offer assistance, allowing them to do so is a kind and generous thing. After all, we get a dopamine release from helping others. So yeah, be a good person and accept help!

  • Danielle

    I am on bed rest too! I don’t think I could have put this any better myself. I’ve turned into a Redditor and I am all caught up on the Real Housewives of Orange County, and now I’m watching TED talks in rapid succession. Somebody get me off the couch soon!

  • Jess

    I busted my lip open/chipped my front tooth/bruised my wrist and knee last week, so I haven’t been on bed rest but certainly not well enough to go out all day everyday. I’m on season 3 of 30 Rock on Netflix and Reddit has become a new addiction. I agree with the good day/bad day so much- I had to go out on Sunday for a few hours and I was completely drained afterwards for two days. Get better soon!

  • alyssa

    This is my second time on bed rest in the past two years. Both times for surgery on my leg. Believe me when I tell you, I know how much this sucks.  My advice to you is don’t read. I will start a book and get really wrapped up in it, feel like I am reading for hours only to realize it’s been 20 minutes.  TV is your savior, but whatever you do… Do not have a routine. Doing the same thing everyday will eventually drive you nuts. And it makes it feel like the day is passing so much slower. Good luck with your recovery.

  • http://twitter.com/jennie_02 Jennie Ross

    ugh knee dislocation is no fun. i hated my immobilizer!!! 

  • Guest

    Fracking is not really going to destroy us all. Technically it’ll help save us.
    Yes, it’s bad and we should stop doing it… eventually. But in the meantime, our world needs it to, you know, function, *and* it is one of the main things that funds all the research for when all the gas is no more.

    But get better soon!

  • prop

    woo female rugby players! support hookers! 

    get well soon!!

  • guest

    I had a similar experience last year…it’s funny how the such a little thing can change your outlook on life!

  • ali

    yup, on bed rest now as well after breaking my ankle in a rock climbing accident. I am going insane and I am seriously annoying my girlfriend at this point by my general frustration at not being able to move around independently. I am just counting down the days until I get my fucking cast off and can walk again.

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