The Borrowed Life (The Letters – Part 1)

Dear Friend,

How are you? I hope everything is still as great as you told me the last time we talked.

It’s been more than a month now, since my ankle bone broke. I may forget the date and how the accident happened in detail, but I don’t want to forget the life experience and lessons it’s given me. This is why I’m writing you, as it helps to tell the story and how I feel, plus I get to save myself a copy of this note as memorabilia. 🙂

The utmost importance is to say something that’s often taken for granted. Having all your body parts intact and functioning well, is a gift. People take it for granted. At least I took it for granted, until the doctor said I must not use my left foot for at least a month. I had to choose between surgery and keeping the foot in cast for at least three weeks (letting the bone tissues grow and stick together). And of course, there is a non-medical option of ‘traditional healing massage’. Guess which one I picked? The second one. The doctor put a cool-looking yellow one and I had to walk around with help from a pair of crutches, until now. Thank God now the cast have been removed! But I’m sending you a picture of how I looked before :p

During the past month, then I’ve been shown, losing function of one foot, due ‘only’ to a fracture on an outer ankle bone (malleolus lateral-to be a showoff), changes a whole way of living.

This accident has, ever since, given me an opportunity to borrow a different life with a different perspective and different mentality. I was lent a life of people with mobility limitations. I was shown life, the city I live in, the places I’ve been to, through the eyes and heart of a person with disabilities.

I’ve been moving around the city as another human being. As you know, I use mass public transportation every day. Unfortunately in Jakarta, the chance for a person with mobility limitations to use them is almost nonexistent. Therefore, I chose the best option available: the expensive and dependent life of getting on taxis and being driven around in cars. I can’t imagine how people with less resource would cope with this situation, maybe they will go on sick leave until they recover? The animal in me say some people would take the chance of traditional healing and just move around with the pain. Can’t imagine that…

Even by taxi and cars, commuting could be a strenuous activity. Lucky me, for getting permission to work from home during the first three weeks (although after it became inappropriate for me to be away from the office any longer).

I’ve experienced the limitations of activity. Well needless to say, I’ve been much, much less mobile for the last 6 weeks. I can’t go anywhere walking, something I love doing. Traveling is also a no-go for at least 2 more months. I have to refrain from eating on the streets and going to shady places. :p

The more luxurious, and (unfortunately) common entertainment, roaming around in shopping malls, could also be off the list, if I had had to do it on crutches (maybe why we never saw anyone do so). In this condition I had done an observation on the services the malls management provide for the less mobile. The malls I went to (Grand Indonesia, Gandaria City, PIM, and very recently, Epicentrum), lend wheelchairs free of charge (although at PIM it was a bit complicated since some of the desks only had chairs without wheel handle and I was alone at the time). But having this service available for the less mobile is really, really good. Wheelchair, I’ll say now, is one of the most important and humane creations of human. It makes the lives of people living in my current condition much better. I found out that Citos didn’t have wheelchair, and I’ll say they are so much behind. Huge advertisement on consumerism and entertainment, reserved parking for big motorcycles, but with such exclusion.

The city main roads may be accessible for me, since they have wide pedestrian walk, but in other roads it’s reasonable to say impossible. It remains homework to make this city more accessible and comfortable for people with mobility limitations like myself right now. And I think the goal must be based on the belief that everyone must be able to go everywhere by themselves, without having to have someone push the wheelchair or help them walking. Well it may still be a long shot, considering the fact it is not comfortable enough even for pedestrians, but it’s something to be kept in mind.

For now I can’t exercise more than lifting dumbbells and lifting my own body to move (have you ever tried using crutches? Believe me, it’s an effort), and I’m already feeling the impact: my body muscles have less strength and the whole body feels less toned. I can’t wait to get back in the dancing class or run on the treadmills!

It’s been 6 weeks, and the ankle is still recovering from the fracture. I still get stares everywhere I go, but it’s a different story. I’ll write about it in my next letter.

I’ll write soon. 🙂


See these pics! I rocked it, didn’t I?
Do you think I should do a photo shoot? :p




2 thoughts on “The Borrowed Life (The Letters – Part 1)

  1. Anii..semoga lekas sehat yaa..aku jg dulu pernah patah femur dan banyak hikmah yang didapet semacam lebih merasa ‘dekat’ ama yg Di Atas, tapi cepet kok sembuhnya An, aku yakin kamu bentar lagi bisa lari2 🙂


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