Friday, December 26, 2008

...But I'll Have a Handicapped Christmas

I had my second blog topic all planned out, but you know what they say about life happening while you're making other plans.

We had a tremendous snowstorm on Saturday night. This Tuesday, I attempted to walk downtown, but faced my nemesis in the form of a huge ridge that the snowplows had left between the street and the sidewalk. I'd already climbed over two ridges to get that far, and the sidewalk in between them had been plowed, so I naturally assumed that the sidewalk beyond this ridge was also plowed. This was the grandest ridge of all, but I worked my way up it sideways, congratulating myself on my cleverness, and stepped towards the smooth white surface beyond. In midair, too late, it occurred to me that the flat white surface was too high to be a sidewalk. Then I plunged feet-first into powder snow up to my crotch, felt my right foot twist as I hit the sidewalk beneath, and pitched forward chest-first into the snow.

The familiar pain I felt as I struggled to my feet told me I'd twisted my ankle again. This is the second time I've seriously twisted my ankle. I don't want to go into the first time in too much detail, so let's just say it involved a moving vehicle. My ankle had looked as if it had an Idaho potato growing out of it.

I managed on adrenaline to stump all the way back home through the snow. Once home, I checked the foot and found the swelling to be surprisingly small. It seemed disproportionate to the pain; I could not flex my foot or spread my toes. I managed to get around via a bizarre pointed-toe shuffle.

What both incidents of sprain had in common was a feeling of longing for the moments before the injury, which felt so close and yet so unattainable. Had it really been just ten minutes ago that I'd been walking out the door on two strong feet? How come I couldn't get that moment back, correct the mistake, restore my strong and healthy body? It was only ten minutes away.

The next morning, I had a good look at the foot and saw that the ankle was no longer swollen at all. The only swelling was on the actual foot. This made me concerned that I might have broken a bone. James took me to the emergency room at the hospital, where we were lucky enough to be seen within an hour. The doctor told me it couldn't be a broken bone. In the area of the swelling, he explained, the bones are very large. You can't break them unless you, and I quote, "fall off a roof or get in a high-speed car accident." It was a sprain, but in the foot rather than the ankle. He recommended the usual sprain treatment (rest, ice, elevation, compression--often abbreviated to RICE) and we picked up a pair of crutches at a nearby drug store.

Today, I'm much better and can walk around the house comfortably without crutches. We went out for a short walk and I found I did need the crutches for that, what with the uneven ground and the ice.

So I hope that soon I'll be walking and kvetching normally. It's an odd thing about serious injury or illness--you stop complaining. You can't afford to complain because you'll really get yourself down if you do. When things are going relatively well, that's when you can complain, and feel like complaining, about the small things. I think it's one of the ways we seek balance in our lives.

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