14 May 2013

Part the last of a long story about a broken leg

As promised, here is the inspiring conclusion of this pulpy rag. But you don't have to take my word for it.  

I hobbled in the boot for about three weeks. Every day, the pain got a little less poignant and the swelling a little less colorful. At the end of these weeks, the bottom of my foot was still noticeably bruised, but my shin stopped throbbing whenever I stood up, and my ankle got downright comfortable.

My mood was … mercurial. My husband still listened to a lot of crying and soothed a lot of panicking. But I had good days, too, especially once the sun started shining more and our asparagus patch started producing.

It also helps that this baby I’m carrying is a really good baby. This has been my easiest pregnancy. If I hadn't broken my ankle, I would have nothing to complain about. Which is probably why I needed to break my ankle? Yes, insane self. That must be it.

Moving on: We went to see the surgeon again, per the appointment made for us by the nurses on surgery day. My X-rays looked tolerably good. Progress was progressing. Everyone was sort of confused about my being there. Wasn't I all better already?

Surgeon: So, have you been walking on that ankle without the boot?

Me: No.

Surgeon: You haven’t?

Me: I was waiting for permission.

Surgeon: Huh. Well, go home and try walking on it and see what happens.

Me: Like, just stand up and walk?

Surgeon: Yeah. And we’ll see how it goes.

Me: Do I need special shoes or anything?

Surgeon: Oh, whatever (his phone rings, so …) Nice seeing you.

So, I went home, took off my boot, and ... yeah. I tried to walk, but it was very frustrating. My entire leg felt frozen. My range of motion was embarrassingly poor. And with the exertion, my ankle no longer felt comfortable. It had only been kidding about that. In reality, it was both wasted and somehow so swollen I looked like a Cabbage Patch doll. Purple cabbage. Which was rather appropriate, depending on your perspective.

But, full steam ahead and daum the torpedoes, right? The surgery-man had said to walk, so I figured I’d better just do it. I went back to the crutches for a day or two, which amounted to a lot of pretending to walk. Every once in a while, I double-dog dared myself to stand up and go for it, and then I would make a short trip down the hall and back, using the wall to keep myself upright. Getting around was possible, but for the most part I was really torturing myself. My brain must have figured that since we hadn't been using that left foot for so long, it just as well jettison any information it had stored on its function and purpose. Sin, man. It’s bad.

After a week of this, I called the surgeon’s office and begged for some help. They referred me to a physical therapist, whom I've been seeing for about two weeks now. She’s been immensely helpful. She’s given me tools to fight back against my specific problems, and she provides an objective gauge to help me see where I am progressing and where I am not. Because of her efforts and the exercise program she’s prescribed, I can put one foot in front of the other and move under my own power. I am not walking normally, but I am upright and bearing all my own weight. Which is rather prodigious just now, so good job, stupid ankle. But, you know, try harder next time.

I can’t expect things to start really normalizing until after this baby is born. For instance, I cannot very often fit my foot comfortably in a shoe even a whole size larger than what I am used to wearing. My OB tells me that because a full 30% of my blood volume is being directed through my placenta, my ankle is not being flushed of fluids as it should be. Then there’s the extra relaxin in my system. And the extra weight. And the 95-degree days. All in all, I’m as barefoot and pregnant as I can get. I still need to wear the CAM walker whenever I leave the house. And I can’t yet trust my ankle to carry me up and down stairs.

However, while I am still operating under an artificial light, I can finally see the sun shining on the other side of the curtain. The pain is gone. Any discomfort I have these days is just a pitiful little band of rebel soft tissues trying for control. We’re quite safe from their friends here. The bruising is mostly gone. When I am diligent about stretching and exercising my ankle hourly, my gait is almost sort-of normalish. I can make my children breakfast. I can lift my toddler son into his crib at naptime. I can fetch the cinnamon off the high cupboard shelf. I can drive. And as this parsonage isn't all that big, I can usually catch up to people in time to stop most naughtiness. Not too bad for having broken myself a mere ten weeks ago.

In five or so more weeks, this baby will be born healthy and well (God have mercy) and the real healing on my ankle can get going. Even so, it will be another nine or so more months until my ankle can be called reborn. About a year, then, of general weird living and not hiking and getting through it. But what’s one year in the greatest scheme of things? Christ is coming back. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. 


Melrose said...

you're my hero. I will never complain again. (yes you can snort at me. ;)

ps, I'm praying for your baby, for you, and for a healthy delivery and a quick ushering to Holy Baptism for the newest Gauntlet. ((()))

Rebekah said...

Wait, you learned how to grow asparagus?

Cheryl said...

To my mind, the most amazing part of this entire saga is that you weren't posting daily reports from the outset. Because that's what I would have done. What good is a blog if not to whine and moan and complain while conjuring copious amounts of soul sister sympathy? You are such a grown-up.

I am deeply sorry for your pain and pray that the physical therapy returns you to something resembling normalcy in the very near future. God bless that leg and the mommy and baby who are depending on it.

Melrose said...

I second Cheryl, you're way more mature than I am.

Reb. Mary said...

Yeah, I'm increasingly convicted that you're just one of the toughest chicks ever.

Now that the real story has come out, I'm really really sorry that I never did mail a casserole :P

I can only imagine how intimidating you were on a grocery store scooter...with that look in your eye... ;)

Fast may your healing go, this side of Heaven. And indeed may the day of final healing be hastened!

Emommy said...

Thanks very much for your story. I'm 18 hours out from spraining my ankle and almost 20 weeks into pregnancy with #4. And you've just given me an awesome perspective dose (Christ IS coming again, indeed!). You are my new hero. Many prayers for your continued recovery and for Baby's health and delivery! P.s. Barefoot in May beats barefoot in January, right? :)

Gauntlets said...

Boy, have I got you girls snowed. :D But thanks for being so nice to me. :)

Emommy: I'm so, so sorry you're in pain. Let your people take care of you.