All of a sudden….

It happened so fast. A second ago, I was on a ladder. Now I found myself on the ground, but strangely and surprisingly absolutely no pain. I didn’t realize what had happened until I tried to stand up again, only to fall back down back onto ground again. I knew just then that I broke something. But at the time, I just didn’t understand how seriously I had broken my right leg. So off to the hospital I went.

At the hospital, I was swept straight to the radiologist. Let’s see what we’ve done. Three x-rays later, I have medically speaking, a multifragmentary pilon tibial fracture of the right leg. What? Well, I broke my tibia straight through, fractured the fibula just under the knee and (yes, there’s more!) I shattered my ankle. “There’s one problem” the doctor mentions; “we can’t handle this type of fracture here. We’re going to have to transfer you to another hospital. All we can do now is put your led in a temporary cast. This’ll be quite painful, by the way.” Luckily, I still can’t feel a thing in my lower leg.

A half hour later, I’m in the ER at Bergmannsheil hospital in Bochum; a specialty unit for accident patients. Following the usual pre-examinations, I’m rushed to the next radiologist to do even more x-rays. I joke to the doctor: “I think it’s still broken ; ).” The doctor laughs and starts to explain what I will encounter within the next few hours. The surgeons will affix my lower leg and foot with an external fixture. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I wasn’t just going to “walk” out of the procedure. A little over three hours later, I wake up to a monstrosity attached to my right leg. It looks as if some mechanic went crazy with a bunch of nails, screws and tie rods! I couldn’t move my foot a single millimeter. Everything is numb up to my waist. This will stay that way for another full day. At least on the positive side of things, I still can’t feel any pain.

I have to wear this construction for a full week. Now you can imagine how difficult it is to sleep with scaffolding attached to your leg. Luckily, I have a source of “happy” pills. The nurses are always so helpful.

After a week of not being able to do anything, I have the next operation awaiting me. The doctor informs me that they will implant a 24cm plate to my ankle and tibia. This will ensure that the bone heals together properly. I’m then brought down to the prep-room and wired, strapped and doped up for the big operation. Four hours later, that big monstrous construction is gone. I’m massively relieved. No more trying to find a comfortable position in bed! How wrong I was!

Even though my leg was completely numb, I started to feel massive pain throughout my entire leg. The doctors and nurses just couldn’t explain it. I shouldn’t be feeling a single thing. This episode lasted a full twelve hours. None of the pain killers (even a morphine-derivative) didn’t help. Again, no sleep that night through.

Now all I have to do in the hospital, is get better. Two weeks later, I can go back home. I get an awkward looking removeable cast, crutches and prescription pain killers. I’m told not to put any weight on the leg for the next 12 weeks. TWELVE WEEKS! But I need to practice my Kyudo, especially now where I’ve missed almost four weeks of training. But how am I going to practice Kyudo when I’m not allowed to stand, let alone walk?

Our kyudo club has been planning on offering kyudo for the disabled (specifically for those in a wheelchair) for some time now, but due to the pandemic, we’ve put off these plans. Since I can’t walk nor stand, this was the perfect time to try kyudo from a wheelchair! I was surprised at how well I could shoot from such an awkward position. My first shot actually hit the mato. On the other hand, I found it very difficult to perform the hassetsu properly and it is nearly impossible to do taihai holding a bow and arrows and try to steer a wheelchair at the same time.

An accident can happen to anyone at anytime. And then all of a sudden, you find yourself in a wheelchair practing Kyudo!


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