1. Life is unpredictable
You can plan your future with rainbows and sunshine, but life has a mind of its own. It will knock you down, bring you back up, close doors in your face, put you through hurdles and then show you an open door when least expected. I planned to go to Vancouver, explore and do landscape photography. I didn’t think I’d break my leg in a million years, especially while on a solo trip, but it happened.
2. You’re stronger than you thought
Mentally. While in the trauma bay, doctors and nurses continuously asked if anyone was with me. I repeated that I was on a solo trip. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about it. I was preoccupied with calling Thrifty to tell them I was unable to drive their car rental anymore and figuring out how to reschedule my Taiwan trip, which was going to be in two weeks.
Of course, I was fortunate to break my leg in Stanley Park and not during a hike where I was by myself with no cellphone service.
3. Surgery leaves you exhausted
If you’re fortunate to receive a cast for your fractured tibia, good for you. I underwent surgery to nail a metal rod inserted within my tibia. This was to make sure the fracture heals correctly.
This trip seemed to have many firsts, including my first time receiving surgery. Anesthesia makes you groggy and tired. Nurses were trying to speak to me after I woke up from surgery, but I fell right asleep.
4. There are compassionate strangers in this world
My Airbnb hosts visited me at the hospital to bring me extra clothes, their used crutches, carried me up and down the stairs, since their three-floor apartment had no elevator, and drove me to the pharmacy for my painkillers. My taxi driver bought me lunch. Strangers offered to help at the airport. My fellow airplane seat-mates gave up their seats so I could rest my broken leg on their seats.
5. Your parents care more about you than you care for yourself
You probably won’t meet anyone who’ll take care of you like your mom does/did. That’s the sad part. My mom reacted worse to my broken leg than I did.
My parents are always here for me, waiting with me at hospital checkups, driving me to physiotherapy, cooking me food and constantly asking if I’m doing okay. I can see them getting tired, but they won’t stop until I’m good as new again. I just hope I can be there for them as they grow older.
6. You’ll feel frustrated
The inability to do your usual tasks will take a toll on your mental health. There were days where my helplessness made my cry myself to sleep. As an independent woman, who’s used to taking on tasks solo, this experience made me realize that I could never live a life dependant on others, whether financially or for happiness. You’ll get a serious case of FOMO, as you watch your friends go out without you. You'll spend the first month or so bed-ridden, longing to feel the outside air just once.
7. You’ll gain weight
All that time spent in bed, where all you did was eat, sleep and pop painkillers? It’ll make you pack on the pounds. It’s what I realized when I weighed myself recently. I get depressed whenever I think about it. I can only hope to shed it off once I’m back on both feet.
8. Your body is magic
Your body does its best to protect and heal you and you don’t even need to think about it. My tibia fracture is healing slowly, but surely. I’m regaining my strength. And I know I’ll be hitting the trails and going back to my photography soon enough.
9. You’ll get through it like you’ve always did
Think back on the times you felt your life was crashing down. You came out alive then and you’ll come out alive now. This is just another obstacle life threw at you. And you’ll have more to come as life continues. The ups and downs are a part of life. You wouldn’t know happiness if you didn’t know pain.
10. You’ve become mentally indestructible (kind of)
I have this urge to solo travel even more. I’ve been through one of the worst things that can happen and I’m getting through it. I feel more resilient. And I know it’ll be easier for me to push through whatever else life will throw at me. Life doesn’t stop while you mope about your problems. So you quickly get back on your feet and trudge on through.