Two months ago I broke my foot after slipping off of a bunk bed. I was diagnosed with a Jones Fracture of the 5th metatarsal which is one of the most stubborn bone fractures in terms of its ability to heal. My foot was placed in a hard cast and I was given 6 more weeks to stay off of my feet before more X Rays would be taken to see if it would be removed or if I would require surgery.
My life changed dramatically due to the fact that I earned my living as a waitress. Living in a city where I had no friends and no family to lean on, things were rough. I cried a lot. I was depressed for a while. I knew this wouldn’t be a permanent disability but my inability to go where I wanted to go and take care of myself took a toll on my psyche.
This is how I took my power back.
I applied for my state’s disability program. Every state should have one. Get started with the application right away. Your hospital should help you, but if not, you can apply online. It has been more than a month since I turned in my forms and I still have not heard back from them.
In the meantime, I burned through my savings paying bills, eating and paying people to help me go grocery shopping and run errands. If you have no one to help you for free, you can offer the people you know money to help you. If you can not find someone who is consistent to help you, you can place an ad online for a temporary assistant and pay them a nominal fee to stop by a couple of times a week to help you by running your errands and helping you keep your place clean. You can also apply for food stamps.
In order to create income for myself while I am unable to work using my physical body I had to exercise my brain. What is it that you know how to do that people will pay money to learn? What is it that you can do from home? Can you create anything to sell online?
Fiverr is a great marketplace to sell anything you want for a few dollars. You can take pictures and sell them or do voiceovers, or tarot readings or offer advice. I signed up with a Fiverr account to see if I could create income offering advice using my education as a counselor.
Comb the ads on Craigslist to see if you can find a work from home freelance opportunity. I began to write freelance articles for different websites to earn a little money. A woman we celebrated taught herself how to become a Software developer after becoming disabled. Now, she has a nest egg and is supporting herself through her work.
Taking a Shower With A Cast
I spent the first 3 weeks of my disability taking showers holding my foot up at weird angles. Of course the cast still got wet and after a stern warning from my orthopedic, I began to cover my cast while showering. I bought plastic garbage bags and masking tape. I covered my cast with one bag, taped the top of it and covered it again with a 2nd bag. Some people suggest placing a towel or washcloth at the top of the cast before taping it up but that causes a gap and more water gets inside the bag. When I used two bags and double masking tape, my cast was basically dry.
When I needed rides to the store and I couldn’t find anyone I had to be creative. I began to be open to the men who were approaching me on dating sites and I explained that I had broken my foot. They all still seemed interested so I sifted through them to see who would be willing to help me. One man came and took me to the doctor’s office. Another man came and gave me a ride to the store. Neither one of them wanted anything in return, but I offered gas money to one and he accepted. No, these weren’t traditional dates and no, I never saw either of them after the times they helped me, but it worked. There are also people who offer rideshares and rideshare programs in your city, just google it.
When I wanted to get groceries and couldn’t find a ride, a friend of mine told me that grocery stores deliver. I had never heard about that option but when I looked online I saw that it was true. Instead of paying $20 to take a cab to the store like I was doing, all I had to do was pay less than $7, choose my groceries online and they were delivered to my door. I was amazed!
When my friends heard about my situation some of them wanted to help by sending money. I received one check in the mail which was difficult to cash since I could not get to the bank. I had to pay a taxi $20 to go to the bank. Open a paypal account just in case someone you know wants to send you a donation. This way you can accept money online and it will be easier for both parties.
At this point (8 weeks later) I am not wearing my cast since it was removed at week 6 but I am wearing a walking boot. I can not return to work as a waitress for 6 more weeks per my doctors orders, but I am applying for more traditional jobs as a writer and editor and I am looking for more side work as a background actress so that I can do work that doesn’t require me to stand on my feet for long periods of time.
In a way, I believe this disability has helped me to focus on what I really wanted to do. I am a professional writer but my talent was on hold because I really loved waitressing and the money was faster and easier. I had forgotten about the fact that I could earn money from my writing ability. Now, I am writing everyday and I am so happy, even though I can’t go out much.
Speaking of going out, you won’t be able to get to the salon to get your mani’s and pedi’s and your hair may look a little crazy. I haven’t had my chin waxed in more than 2 months but I have tweezers so I’m trying to take care of it myself. Every once in a while I put on makeup just to remind myself that I am still beautiful and I go for walks, very carefully, so I won’t become insane from being stuck in the house.
If you are more disabled than I am, please do not take offense to this post. There may be issues that I have not addressed but I write from experience. I write out of concern for you because I don’t want you to struggle like I did and I have revealed every tactic I used to help me to get through this hard time.
If you know of any other resources for women who become disabled, please don’t hesitate to add them in the comments section or email me.
You are NOT your disability. You have an ailment in your body yet you are not your body. You are more than that. If you can read this then you can learn. If you can learn then you can study something that will help you to create an income for yourself. You have everything you need, you just have to look past your pain and sadness and get started.
It’s up to you.