Making Lemonade out of Lemons

Attitude cannot be underestimated in a patient's recovery. There is no question that orthopaedic injuries are painful and seriously interfere with various functions of life. There are those patients who react to an injury with a "why me" attitude that inevitably leads to months of tedious, depressing recovery. The cast is too tight, the injured extremity throbs, the crutches are uncomfortable, the pain medications don't work, etc. Fortunately, those patients are outnumbered by those who face their injury with an acceptance and will to recover that is inspiring for all involved. An example of the patient that makes "lemonade out of lemons" is the art teacher with a badly fractured tibia and fibula, the two bones that provide support to the leg below the knee. Her injury occurred after a slip and fall on ice – a fairly benign event that shattered her lower leg and left her unable to ambulate or work for months.

The first sign of this patient's remarkable attitude was when she returned for a post-op check with her cast decorated in splatter paint – Jackson Pollack-style. She went on to create a series of watercolor paintings that demonstrated the initial searing pain of the injury, progressed to intense, angry themes of blood and steel and ultimately ended with pastel depictions of hardware and well-aligned orthopaedic hardware. While most patients don't have the Picasso-like ability to create art in the face of adversity, there are often various "flavors" of "lemonade" that never fail to inspire and lead to a successful and full recovery.