Oops. There goes my lifestyle, changed again—for what? The fourth time within a year? There was the broken ankle/leg with non-weight-bearing which finally morphed into weight-bearing in that black boot; then there was the whole huge change of moving out of the house and into the cottage—which I absolutely adore.
Today I saw the orthopedic surgeon, proudly showing off my new, lightweight brace. He approved, showed me where and how it is supporting the ankle. Of course I had questions? May I go to the bathroom barefoot in the night? Yes. You have no idea what a relief that is. Struggling into either the boot or the brace is a pain in the middle of the night when all you want is to answer nature and then go right back to sleep. Besides, sometimes there’s a certain urgency to my night trips.
Next question: may I drive? Yes, if I practice in an empty parking lot and find that I can stop in time and control the car. My right foot is, he told me, a clumsy foot. But unless I make a miraculous mobility recovery, the car presents problems. It’s a VW Bug convertible, and the walker won’t fit. I love my car. I’ve had it eleven years. It’s my sporty car to keep from being a stodgy grandmother. I don’t want to sell it (probably $500) and buy a new car. Dilemma, but at least I don’t have to solve it today.
Then the kicker question: how long do I have to wear the brace? As long as I’m walking. “The rest of my life?” I queried, and I’m sure my voice went of the chart for squeakiness. He, a taciturn man, nodded and said yes. I’m still processing that in my mind. First of all, there go all my cute shoes, and I am sentenced to wearing orthopedic shoes with ankle socks. Second of all, it isn’t at all like running carefree through the grass. I will always be awkward, which I guess is better than not being able to walk. I’ve actually wondered how much that was a sentence to the walker, whether sitting in it or walking.
We will be getting an electric wheelchair, but I thought of it as something in the far-off future. I don’t want to put myself in a wheelchair now, because of that old adage, “Use it or lose it.” Spend 24 hours without walking and there’s a strong possibility that you’ll never walk again.
The physical therapist should be here in a day or two, and I’ll run some of these questions by him. I know however that I have to get serious about exercising and recovering the strength I’ve lost.
Another piece of good news in all this is that the doctor says the brace should help alleviate the terrible ache and pain in my left hip, though, as he emphasized, it takes time. But if that pain lessens, I’ll be more willing to walk and do exercises. Right now, it hurts. And yet, I guess I have to walk to heal the hip. Seems to me I’m caught in several circular dilemmas.
Who thought, the night last spring that I fell, that I was triggering all these changes in my life?