Crutches–and Uniforms

“Looks like last night’s lentil soup didn’t agree with you,” Mike states the obvious as he takes away the bucket I prudently placed by my side for that just-in-case moment.

The moment was inevitable though I did my best rapid, shallow breathing to fend it off. I could feel my inner reptile taking over as my jaw unhinged and I performed my best impression of Linda Blair in The Exorcist, stopping just short of a 360 degree head spin. And then I felt much better.

crutches, casts, surgery
Following doctor’s orders

That was yesterday, and I was quite pleased I nailed the scene in only one take. I was prone for most of the remainder of the day as I will be today, being the good girl I am and following doctor’s orders to keep my foot higher than my heart for the first 72 hours other than some rather obvious times when it would be impractical.

I’ve constructed the perfect uniform for my convalescence. My Melanzana hoodie has both a front pocket and a hood in which I can transport things, and the string backpack carries my water bottle and other stuff.

I have numerous skirts which when worn commando offer another wonderful convenience, though I still need to figure out how to keep them under me when navigating

crutches and roller stool
Melanzana hoodie with front pocket, string backpack worn in the front, skirt and roller stool.

down our cold wooden stairs butt-style in the morning. Brrr. The surgical stocking is a must, and the practical, sturdy slide-in shoe for my left foot is perfect. I’ll probably need to rubber band a hat over my toes when it gets cold. Like now.

It’s been 48 hours since my surgery (read my post about that here: surgery) and my tummy still isn’t feeling spectacular, but that’s probably because my fiber therapy hasn’t kicked in yet, if you know what I mean. Hey, I’m trying to be honest here. Anesthesia, while it takes you to wonderland during surgery, can really mess you up for days after.

I was able to fix a decent breakfast using a wheeled stool in the kitchen to kneel on. It’s not perfect, but it freed my hands to scoot around the kitchen and prep something easy. The stool then worked as foot rest while I sat on the foot locker under the kitchen window to eat. The foot locker was meant to be a temporary piece of furniture in the kitchen when we moved here 8 years ago, but somehow, the West Point issued trunk has managed to be a favorite permanent fixture in every home we’ve owned since 1983.

Ranger is helpless and confused by my new routine.
Ranger is helpless and confused by my new routine.

Poor Ranger doesn’t know what to do with himself, so he settles within sight until I move. He is leery of the crutches, as I have used them to nudge him out of my way several times already. In Mike’s words, he is a “furry road block.”

Time to lie down again. It’s pouring buckets and my head is fuzzy again. A Search and Rescue mission just came in for an injured hiker, so who knows when I’ll see Mike again. Maybe it’s just a little fracture.



I fractured my right ankle just a little while hiking in Moab three months ago on day two of a two-week vacation with Mike. Although I knew it was probably fractured, just a little, I refused a trip to the doctor until we got home. I bought hiking poles and walked gingerly at each of the magnificent national parks we visited, something a doctor would have told me not to do.

With an x-ray confirming the “stable” fracture upon our return home, I earned my first knee-high walking boot for two weeks, graduating to a short boot for another two before starting physical therapy. A couple of weeks into therapy, things got worse, and an MRI showed what the x-ray didn’t: torn cartilage. It would need to be removed, and a few little holes drilled in the talus bone to release new bone ooze (pretty sure that’s what it’s called) to repair the damage.

“No weight bearing for six weeks.” The verdict was made less heinous only because it was delivered by a cute doctor. The reason had something to do with ensuring the new bone ooze had time to reach the right consistency.

Mike’s crutches mock me.

When I got home, I stared at the crutches Mike used for a couple of weeks last year after his hip replacement. I adjusted them to my armpits and took a few practice strolls around the house. It’s easy when you know you can put your foot down. After practicing up and down the stairs, I decided I’d be using the butt method instead.

pre-surgery prep
Doing my roots before surgery. Gotta look good while I’m drooling on the operating table.

The day before surgery I cleaned the house from top to bottom, removed all the throw rugs and things from the stairs, colored and trimmed my hair, did a bit more food shopping (marveling all the while at how easy these tasks were with two functional legs and free hands) and scrubbed myself with Hibiclens before jumping into my freshly washed sheets. For those who have not experienced pre-surgical prep lately, this 3-day special scrub-down is a new infection control measure against pesky things like MRSA.

As Mike was away for training, our good friend John ushered me to the hospital. I chatted his ear off for the 40-minute drive over the mountain, filling him in on all the prep I’d done including another Hibiclens that morning. After ensuring I was in good hands, he took his leave when my anesthesiologist entered, an Air Force man. We talked about the military and he told me he’d buy my novel. His unhurried visit with me was completed unexpected and took my mind off of the impending surgery. I knew he’d take good care of me.

After handing my “I used Hibiclens for 3 days” checklist to the nurse, the cute doctor came by to reassure me.

“I’m so clean you could eat off me,” I almost dared to tell him. But I didn’t. I didn’t want him to be distracted by that thought while he was fishing around in my ankle.

I wish I could remember what I was blabbing while they pushed me down the hall into surgery because I think it was profound. All I remember was a feeling of absolute bliss, and then a gentle voice asking how I felt.

It was over so very quickly, and the cute doctor told me he was happy with the procedure.

John drove me home, and although I remember being quite chatty for about 5 minutes, the after effects of the anesthesia hit me and I dozed until we got home. I’m pretty sure he was relieved when I finally shut up. He helped me into the house as I fumbled with the crutches, and I was happy to hit the couch until Mike returned a couple of hours later.

crutches day 1, cast on my leg
At least I can wiggle my toes!

I didn’t have much of an appetite, but the lentil soup tasted good, and soon it was time to butt my way up the stairs and into bed. That was yesterday, September 1st, Day One of 42-no-weight-bearing days. What a way to start a new month.