Help me not go stir crazy
March 7, 2011 7:12 AM   Subscribe

So, I just fractured my left tibia and fibula. I'll be on crutches with a knee immobilizer for the next six weeks or so and I live in third floor walk up apartment (with rickety banisters). Any tips for what to do to keep myself occupied and not focused on the injury?

Complicating this issue is the fact that I just graduated from school on an off semester, so my friends all still have classes and I was job searching (which I guess needs to go on hold). My husband is home in the evenings and my mom lives about an hour away by subway, but I don't want to disrupt her life totally. I have my laptop, and books, and a nook where I can purchase new ebooks, and working cable TV. I guess I'm really asking to hear from people who have gone through/ are in similar circumstances and how you make it work. Thanks!
posted by blueskiesinside to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Oh man, I'm sorry to hear about your injury, that stinks. I didn't have it as bad (ACL repair), but I know the frustration.

Patience, patience, patience, and the understanding that it's not permanent.

Find a TV series or two to get addicted to - mine was The Wire, followed by Battlestar Galactica.

Keep job hunting, assuming you can do it remotely.

Work on an existing skill or develop a new skill to work on - know how to play guitar? Great opportunity to learn.

Keep talking to your friends, even if it's just email/IM/phone. Get them to come by and visit.

Get outside. I know the crutches stink, especially with the stairs, but getting cooped up in your apt and going stir crazy is awful when you're hurt.

Good luck!
posted by swngnmonk at 7:23 AM on March 7, 2011

Best answer: I'm laid up myself and I've been keeping entertained with netflix streaming (IT Crowd and Jersey Shore, among others) and video games, as well as reading through some epic metafilter threads that I missed. Also doing a bit of reading, I don't know how the nook works but you can probably get a lot of classic books for free or almost free, if you're into that sort of thing. I haven't left the house for a week but actually don't feel that stir crazy yet. Imagine how awful this would be without the internet!

One thing that has really helped is that my SO is able to work from home for a bit of the day. He brings me things so I don't have to get up too much and helps me get in and out of the various machines and positions I need to be in. I bet your mom would be happy to do the same for you for the first little bit while you adjust to getting around on crutches.

I'd also say don't give up the job hunt! Unless you're going to be doped up for the entire 6 weeks you could do a phone screen at least, and plenty of job-related research online.

Good luck! Hey, at least it's March, and not June!
posted by ch1x0r at 7:45 AM on March 7, 2011

Best answer: I've been laid up twice--a few years ago with a bad knee injury resulting from a bike accident, and more recently with a stress fracture in my foot. It's not fun, but you can get through it. Reading and watching good movies/TV series can help, but would make me feel worse if not broken up with other activities. I love cooking and baking—I would gather what I needed to prep food and sit at the kitchen table to do it instead of standing the whole time. It was incredibly satisfying.

Get your friends to come by. Both times I was laid up, friends would come by and bring beer and we'd play board games or cards, which was great. And others would drive over and drag me out to eat. If your friends offer to help with running errands or getting housework done, let them do it. The first time I was injured, I was too stubborn or maybe proud to let them during the first week or so, but I got over that after the first time I tried to get shopping done while on crutches. And I also realized that they really do want to help.
posted by smich at 7:51 AM on March 7, 2011

Best answer: Crunches, curls and push-ups.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:56 AM on March 7, 2011

Best answer: Get a pair of binoculars and keep an eye on that guy in the apartment across the way. I think he's planning to kill his wife...
posted by pentagoet at 8:00 AM on March 7, 2011 [7 favorites]

I just want to make sure we're clear on this. Are you implying that you won't be able to leave the house for 6 weeks? Because it seems as though you ought to be able to go out sometimes, especially if your husband or a friend can help you down the stairs in the morning and take you to a coffeeshop or someplace where you can hang out all day, and then come collect you later and help you back up the stairs. Is that a possibility?
posted by decathecting at 8:13 AM on March 7, 2011

especially if your husband or a friend can help you down the stairs in the morning
Of if your friends can drop by before/after class to help you up or down.
posted by CathyG at 8:25 AM on March 7, 2011

Best answer: Jigsaw puzzles. I did this one for about three hours and the time flew.
posted by Gilbert at 8:35 AM on March 7, 2011

Best answer: I am in the same position at the moment - I fractured my ankle and had surgery about three weeks ago, and I have been under instructions to keep weight off the leg and rest it as much as possible. I am able to start finally putting weight on it this week. My knee isn't immobilized, which might be an additional complication for you.

Because I slipped on the ice, I am still really nervous about getting out on my own - although I don't have stairs like you, I am not very good on crutches and so unless it's within the house, I don't move around very much on my own. This was really frustrating the first few days, especially when I was on pain meds and not very strong with my crutches. As I got better, it got a bit easier to do a few things for myself. I found it useful to try and force myself to do one "new" thing a day to keep me moving and active. One day it was crutching to the kitchen and using a chair to balance while I warmed up a tupperware full of leftovers (which I ate balanced on the chair in front of the microwave - the next day involved loading lunch into a bag to carry back to the table so I could eat sitting up). Small things like deciding that I was going to put my own pants on instead of asking for help, made a big difference in helping me feel like I was improving.

I got a shower bench that let me take showers - helped me feel better if I could be doing showering, teeth brushing, face washing regularly. You can balance on crutches, or I kneel on a chair or stool (this probably won't work for you) in front of the sink.

An office chair with wheels can be useful for helping you get around and move stuff back and forth. I am limited in what I can carry with crutches (although I can put a fabric shopping bag around my neck and carry things that way, or I have sweat pants and hoodies with big pockets) but having a chair means I can sit on it, slowly push myself to the kitchen, get something to eat and balance it on my lap, then push myself back - I can keep my bad foot elevated that way.

A good body pillow for sleeping - you can rest your leg on it during the day and it elevates the whole leg. Helps with swelling and soreness.

I am able to work from home, which is a godsend in terms of keeping me busy. I second the idea of job hunting or working on your resume.

Take help when it's offered - you will have to be dependent on others for a while, and that can suck big time for your sense of independence. One thing that has helped my partner and I is that he will help me get some stuff ready before he leaves in the morning, and make sure there are things in the fridge or freezer that I can heat up and eat easily. As I've improved, I can do more around the house, which helps (sit on a chair and load the dishwasher, sit in a chair in the laundry room and fold laundry, etc). That's helped us both.

You could also start a journal or something if that's your thing. There are a couple of websites that helped me too: and - the foot problems and bone problems sections have some previous threads on broken leg/ankle/knee recovery.

Hope that helps! Good luck!
posted by Cyrie at 8:58 AM on March 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The only time I've was stuck at home recovering from surgery I got really, really, really into playing Myst (note: I was on a lotta codeine).
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:36 AM on March 7, 2011

Best answer: How about a big craft project (ask your mom or friends to pick up supplies) to work on while listening to radio shows?
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:38 AM on March 7, 2011

Response by poster: decathecting - I'm still getting used to the crutches, and I'm basically crab-walking up and down stairs, which is kind of embarrassing to do in front of friends, but your point is made. Once I feel more secure getting around, I'll try to have someone drop me off at a library or something.

Thanks to everyone else so far. Cyrie, I do have a wheeled office chair which has been helpful so far. And exercising while in the chair is another good suggestion, part of what got me here is being overweight and out of shape. The corpse in the library, I just asked my mom for a needlepoint kit, which I wouldn't have thought of if you hadn't mentioned crafts.
posted by blueskiesinside at 9:46 AM on March 7, 2011

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