I am not sure how many times in my nursing career I have written Mrs Y is at risk of falls because of reduced mobility due to X,Y or Z but I am pretty sure that it must run into the thousands, however they do say until you walk a mile in another mans shoes (or not as the case may be here) you can never really understand anything from another persons perspective. Well how right “they” were !!
About 10 days ago now I was rushing around in the garden when I had the misfortune to stumble and fall. Now please don’t laugh but I fell over a hole that had been filled in … my husband had dug a large hole in the garden which whilst it was a hole was perfectly safe in a “I’m a large hole and its obvious” sort of way, but once the hole was filled in it seems that the uneven ground was less obvious to me ! My foot twisted and the pain was immediate and quite intense. With some drama (involving neighbours peering over fences and said husband attempting a rescue) I managed to get inside, and my ankle started to swell to the size of an orange and the pain was just awful…. We decided that a trip to the minor injuries unit was definitely in order. To cut what is turning out to be a long story short (apologies I will get to the point soon!) I hadn’t broken my ankle it was just a sprain, of course I say just but the reality was that this would effect my life for a good few weeks to come.
They say that nurses make the worst patients and I have to say that for the first two days when all I could do was sit with my foot up I was the worst patient ever! The pain made me grumpy, the lack of exercise made me fidgety, nobody seemed to understand just how many cups of tea I need in a day and most of all I was really quite cross with myself for letting it happen in the first place. As we only have an upstairs loo this made things even more tricky and I started to really realise how even a small deterioration in mobility can not only place someone at high risk of falls but also effect them in every way.
As I started to recover my cross feelings were replaced by sheer belligerence and I became the uncompliant patient. Having several events to go to I was determined to wear heels and I stubbornly refused to listen to anyone who said I shouldn’t. Yes this did cause me some pain, I did put myself at greater risk of falls and I did end up with a very swollen foot at the end of the night, but looking back would I have changed anything I did? The answer is a resounding NO! Wearing heels put me back in control, it made me feel normal again, it helped me get back to being me and this was important.
This may seem to be a bit of a silly story but this chain of events made me reflect greatly on “reduced mobility” and how we sometimes miss the real implications of this. Loss of mobility can affect a persons whole life, it can make them cross, grumpy, difficult and uncompliant and as a nurse I need to remember this and work with the people I care for to develop a way forward that works for them.
As for me I am now being a little more complaint and am sat with my foot up writing this …. But also considering if tomorrow is too soon to get back on my exercise bike 😉