I just wanted to mention that the reason I am recording this thrilling tale of my broken ankle is because my second favorite not food-related activity just now is Googling for stories of pregnant women who have broken their ankles. Remarkably, there aren't a whole lot of these stories available. So I really feel like doing my part to provide someone who might someday be pregnant atop a broken ankle with a story to read, should she love Googling for camaraderie as much as I.
The next day was a Sunday. My husband called his head elder to run through Matins rather than leave my father at my mercy all morning. Turns out getting to the bathroom and the like is rather improbable with a broken ankle dangling unfixed at the bottom of the leg, and I really needed my own husband by me. When it comes to pushing the “for worse” envelope all out of shape, I really know what I’m doing. But we made it through. I even got my dishwasher fixed; two men playing nursemaid to a crippled pregnant chick get bored between bathroom calls.
Later that afternoon, my mother and children arrived, and my mother declared that she was moving in with us for as long as it took. This cheered everyone up immensely, as no one, not even I myself, runs my house as well as my mother.
And then it was surgery day. There was a lot of being pushed around in wheelchairs and being transferred between here and there and getting poked with needles. The anesthesiologist opted to perform a nerve block on my bad leg; putting me under was out of the question and I don’t respond well to procedures involving my spine. Once on the operating table, it became clear that I don’t respond well to nerve blocks, either, so I got a dose of some sort of dozy potion that wasn't general anesthesia, but that set me to dreaming about Downton Abbey.
And then I woke up to an ankle held together by a plate and 12 screws. A liaison from the OB floor had been in the operating room with me, monitoring the baby throughout. The baby came through it fine. So they gave me a couple of hours to let the drugs clear my system and then sent me home.
And! Then I was home, back to living bathroom break to bathroom break. I was given some pain meds that claimed to be safe for my baby, and I took them. Sort of. For a couple of days. I couldn't really shower or anything, as my leg was not in a proper cast. Rather, it was wrapped in scads of padding and bandages and whatnot. Lying down was painful. Being upright was horrible. I was marooned in my room and utterly helpless to do anything for myself or anyone else. It was a tough week.
And then that week was over. And my husband took me to the surgeon’s office. A PA took out the surgical staples and cleaned me up a bit and put me in a CAM walker. She told me not to bear any weight in my CAM walker, and to sleep with it on my leg. But I could take it off to shower and loosen it a bit while being still. And with the CAM walker, crutching around the house became possible, which meant I could take my own self to the bathroom and my husband could go to the office sometimes and my mother didn't have to discipline the toddler all by herself. It was like having a single, bare light bulb turn on in a basement somewhere. Which is to say, everything still stank, but it was better than being in the dark.
Another two weeks went by, wherein I still spent most of my time in my bed with my ankle elevated on pillows. I worked through the magazine pile and watched a really stupid movie. But even better, my Kindergartner got a lot of reading lessons. My other kids got a lot more freedom than usual, and they used it to help Grandma and to be generally agreeable. My mother continued to prove herself the Best of All Mothers. My dad came over on the weekends to take care of my mother. My Ladies' Aid group coordinated the most intense supper drop-off in history. And my husband listened to me cry, soothed my panic, smacked my pride, and brought me communion as often as I wanted it. What am I complaining about? I’m exceedingly rich.
At the end of this two weeks, we went back to the surgeon’s office and actually saw the surgeon. Our conversation went something like this:
Surgeon: Are those your crutches there?
Surgeon: What are you using them for?
Me: Um … to move?
Surgeon: You don’t need those to move. You can bear weight in that boot.
Me: I can?
Surgeon: (a bit exasperated) Yes. You should have been bearing weight all this time. Get rid of those crutches. Goodbye.
So, I got rid of the crutches. It took me a couple of days. I started out just standing in the boot. Then I gingerly tried taking steps every now and again. Then I dropped one crutch. Then the other. And then I was walking. Well, let me be more honest: I was hobbling. Like, clud-THUNK, clud-THUNK, clud-THUNK. But, what the heck? I was ambulatory. I could get a bowl of yogurt out of the fridge all by myself. I could clud-THUNK into the grocery store and drive around on one of those silly little scooter things that squeal every time it's put in reverse. My mother was able to return to her own house and life. And best of all, I was able to go to church on Easter morning. That bare light bulb was burning in, like, the laundry room all of a sudden.
And that was how I spent the first four or so weeks of having a broken ankle. Tune in next time for the inspiring conclusion. I'll even try to make it like a Michael Landon program, just for you.