On an already short week work has been sporadic due to temperatures on two days barely rising above freezing. Icy conditions are not a ‘Hippy’ gardeners friend. Pre accident even if the ground was too hard to work there was always fruit trees to prune and rambling/climbing roses, Vines and Wisteria to tame – back then I had no qualms about using ladders on the sides of houses/outbuildings and up through the boughs of larger top fruit trees. The hazards of icy ground never entered my head until after…….
The spring after the RTA, restarting work in hands on horticulture came with conditions – set out by my long-suffering, duly backed by my surgeon and further by my Rottweiler solicitor – ladders were for the foreseeable future and beyond out of bounds, as was walking on frosted ground. I complied, after all using crutches or a stick rendered ladders and icy ground impossible anyway! I was excited enough just to get stuck in at soil level with a kneeler in tow along with some standing pruning within the confines of my arms reach.
With a newly employed assistant to work alongside, carrying weed buckets, pushing wheelbarrows, climbing ladders, doing all the things I could no longer do I resumed my business lurching around in a Quasimodo like fashion the few gardens suitable – on the flat – along with clients who still trusted me with their upkeep. I earned very little in terms of money and my wasted muscles only allowed for short bursts of activity, despite this the mental stimulation and feeling useful again outweighed the negatives.
That winter I was out of action once again with a Hip replacement – rendering me a true hippie in the literal sense. By the time I could resume work again with my loyal clients winter was over – a relief considering the now added worry of certain leg positions or worse a fall causing the new hip to dislocate
Winter 2015/16 was my first working since 2011/12. Now a fully fledged hippie my muscles although still not at full capacity felt stronger around the joint. I came proudly through without incident and my confidence level was high for me and my business.
This Winter 2016/17 sees me again tentative after an unexpected hip revision in August. My muscles once again have been compromised by more surgery. The walking, swimming, gym, cycling and Physio have all helped to regain strength but do not lessen my fear of falling. Having had six weeks off over summer to recover I am still on catch up and desperately need to work for me, and my clients sanity!
Already just this week walking out over my own patio has seen me sliding and flailing about like an animated Bambi on a frozen lake trying to stabilise my limbs and core to keep me upright. After preparing for the worst I surprised myself by regaining control of my weak wayward leg. It would seem my hip will live to garden another day, whats more, higher temperatures look set for next week!