• Koreen Liew-Young

The strength in being compassionate

So much of today's world, is full of self-centredness, self-gratification, it's about "what's in it for me?" Being nice, loving and showing compassion and kindness in today's world, doesn't seem to get people anywhere and even conceived as a sign of weakness.  But it took me to become temporarily disabled to realise there is so much strength in that.

This is going to be a long process to recovery...

The lowdown

So a little over a week ago, I took a tumble at indoor netball, which resulted in a rather dramatic exit from the netball arena and off to A&E. The x-rays showed no signs of a break, so they equipped me with crutches and sent me off on my way.  A few days later, I had shown no signs of improvement, and my osteopath concluded that I should get specialist opinion, because all his tests showed that this was much more than a sprain.  One sceptical GP visit later, who swore it was just a sprain, I was next referred to an ankle specialist, just to be doubly sure.

The damage

Ankle specialist did some tests, reviewed the x-rays and gave a loud sigh.  It was a sprain; however, the trauma caused to the ankle was the same as if I had broken it.  Hence why, I was still struggling to see signs of improvement in my "cankle" a week later.  Recovery time, (same as a broken ankle,) four months.  I had to start walking on it to bring the swelling down, and get off the crutches ASAP to progress my recovery, even though it was going to hurt like hell.  He then introduced me to my new best friend — the moonboot. This enabled my ankle to have the support I needed in order to start walking again, and simply make life a hell of a lot easier.

The positives

I swore I would see the positive in all of this, despite needing painkillers most days. And actually I've seen amazing ways that people have shown kindness to me.

  • My indoor netball team were all so supportive and amazing when the accident happened, involving carrying me off court, driving me to A&E, and coming down after the game to see how I was doing

  • At A&E, there was another woman who had a suspected fractured ankle, and we swapped war stories on how we injured ourselves as well as offering each other ice packs and cushions, making each other laugh

  • I boarded the bus, determined to be independent, equipped with moonboot, crutches, and backpack. As soon as I got on board, people immediately and considerately vacated the disabled seats at the front

  • I've had random people strike up conversations about their own injuries, on the bus and at the supermarket, empathising with how we take our healthy bodies for granted and wishing me a speedy recovery.

  • While leaving work, I had a complete stranger, pass me, pause then ask if I needed a hand carrying my bag, (obviously trying not to appear dodgy), I told him, not to worry, and I appreciated his kindness toward me.

What next

This Thursday I have my follow-up specialist appointment to check the results of the MRI. I'm hoping to surprise him with my progress; the moonboot has been such a game changer. I've already gone from graphic designer on wheels, (office chair wheels that is), to graphic designer transformer (moonboot and crutches).

It's going to be a long road to recovery, as I'm guessing without the moonboot, my ankle would be next to useless, but this experience has been hugely refreshing, has definitely shown me that kindness and compassion, shows alot of strength and can go a long way.

I found this quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” by Neale Donald Walsch. Showing compassion to a stranger is definitely not what you traditionally think about getting out of your comfort zone, or the norm. There's always someone a little worse off and the reality is, I'm temporarily disabled. I can't wait to exercise the kindness others have shown to me, I bet it's so invigorating.

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