Friday, August 06, 2010

the fall

Tuesday morning I had an optometrist appointment, and it took considerable effort to get the children up and fed and ready to leave for the day (I planned to take them out to lunch after my appointment and then to their afternoon art camp). I had the brainwave of donating a little artist's model of a cat to Becky, the children's art teacher, to use in her many classes devoted to drawing cute animals (Becky, who knows how to appeal to a small child, sometimes teaches a course called "Drawing Cute Animals" and sometimes one called "Fashion Girls And Their Pets"). We never use this model, and the Sober Husband and I want to declutter our house. Giving it to Becky made a lot of sense to me. I pitched this idea to the children, explaining that they could use the model at Becky's classes and how happy she would be to get it.

As we went out the door, Lola stopped dead in her tracks in front of me, clutching the wooden cat model. "I want to keep Kitty at home," she said in a voice which promised a full onslaught of fussiness. I nearly ran into Lola and tried to step around her. My foot landed on the edge of a thick coir mat by the front door, my ankle buckled, and I went down. Although I fell full length on the hard tiles on the top of the steps, I wasn't aware of any pain anywhere other than in my ankle, which hurt so much that I lost my vision briefly. After I could see again, I uttered some obscenities. Lola shouted, "MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY" in a frightened voice over and over again. "I'm okay, Lola," I said, trying to get her to calm down. "Mommy's okay."

I lay there for some time (I was vaguely aware that the day laborers used by my next door neighbor's contractor were unwillingly approaching, drawn by a sense of duty and Lola's hysteria) and then I asked Iris to help me to my feet. My ankle hurt a lot, but I could put some weight on it, and I could rotate my foot. "It's just a sprain," I told the girls. "I can put weight on it, so that means nothing's broken." I decided to keep going. "This isn't my driving foot, thank God," I said. We drove to the Stonestown mall, where I slowly limped to the optometrist and to the Chevy's, which the children adore. My ankle hurt more and more. I limped back to the car by putting an arm around Iris and leaning on her.

At this point, I decided I couldn't take the girls to the playground or their art class. I needed to get off my foot. We went home (where I discovered that I'd never locked the door after my big fall) and called the Sober Husband, who came home a couple of hours later. He drove the girls to their class, which was half over for the day, but some art is better than none. I elevated my foot and read "Sworn to Silence" by Linda Castillo. By night time, my ankle was much worse. Getting me to the bathroom was a major ordeal. Hopping on one foot seemed the way to go, but the reverberations were agonizing. We ended up bringing an old rolling chair downstairs to use as a sort of wheelchair.

I slept on the couch intermittently, my ankle hurting a lot. In the morning I felt panicky. Just touching the bottom of my foot was agonizing beyond belief. I turned into a drama queen, insisting that I needed to see a doctor, this was obviously worse than a sprain, but I couldn't imagine how I could get there without crutches. The Sober Husband called a medical supply store, which wasn't open yet. "Call Walgreen's," I said. Then his cellphone rang. The medical supply store owner was calling back. The Sober Husband arranged to meet him shortly to buy crutches. He reported incredulously to me, "The store doesn't open for hours, and the message says that, but the guy calls you back if you leave a hang up call to see what you want."

The crutches didn't make me feel much more mobile. The sidewalk is so sleeply canted where we live, on the side of a very steep hill, and the differential in height between the two crutches made me feel panicky. We got me to the doctor's office, where it was soon determined that I just have a severe sprain, although the doctor cautioned that "sprains like this take four to six weeks to heal." I felt like an idiot for having gone to the doctor at all and for having been dramatic at home that morning. The doctor gave me some tips on how to use crutches better and suggested I try just one. After some coaching, I more confidently crutched back out to the waiting room to be taken back home.

At home Iris fell in love with my crutches. She kept confiscating them and adjusting them for her own height, limping around the house on them. Finally I lost my temper a bit. "I am the crippled person here, and I need at least one crutch set for my height." I managed to get one back from her, but all night long she meticulously limped and used the other crutch. Around midnight she finally decided to go up to bed. "So you're all better now?" I asked. She paused. "Yes, but I'll be sick again tomorrow and need the crutch."

Three days after the injury, I'm still in a lot of pain. I feel like I'm living in a bad slapstick comedy, where my clumsy, painfilled locomotion must be hilarious to the onlooker. The Sober Husband's vicious green parrot is trying to take advantage of my weakness, and crutching past her cage is dangerous. The children are quite squabbly, despite my attempts to declare the living room "A Place Of Calm And Healing." I haven't been upstairs since Tuesday morning, and despite my continual requests, no one has cleaned the litterboxes since then, either. No laundry is occurring. On the bright side, my feral kittens really love having me sleep on the couch, and I had a breakthrough with the shyer, black-and-white one. I am going to share with my feral kitten rescue my accidental discovery that sleeping in the same room as a hitherto despaired-of feral kitten can have powerful taming effects.


Emma-Louise said...

We - that is, my partner and I - basically rescued a puppy almost certainly doomed for an early death - a tiny runt of a thing, who in 6 weeks between 5 and 11 weeks old had not gained any weight or really developed at all. I was really very drawn to her, a tiny terrier type thing of indiscernable heritage other than strong Jack Russell, and when I saw her again at 11 weeks looking so miserable, scruffy, wiry,flea infested and painfully shy, I bought her on the spot and took her home, despite being in the middle of a rather large house move.
She turned out to be badly in need of worming - like a horror movie, really - she had a giant potbelly and as I said hadn't grown in weeks - and also badly in need of a decent feed.
The first thing I did was give her a long hot bath which she passionately hated and terribly needed, then turned the heater on (it is winter here in Australia and the ambient temperature of my house is about 24 or 25 degrees F) dried her off and left her in a crate next to my bed while I fell asleep.
When I woke up she was basically in love with me, and has taken much longer to become attached to David, who never sleeps when she is asleep in the room, but he did make serious headway with her yesterday after taking a long nap while she slept next to the bed, waking periodically and looking at him. I put her in the bed with him at some point and she decided he was worth curling up on. We've had her less than a fortnight and she is now, by our veterinarians account as well as our own (it is blatantly obvious) a healthy happy puppy who has put on a lot of weight, grown a lot, had a massive coat improvement, a massive personality overhaul, brighter eyes, no fleas, stronger teeth, likes people and other dogs, and in a few weeks should be no different than other well cared for puppies save for some lost growing time.
It really makes me sick that it was so easy and cheap to take care of her and fix her problems,vaccinate and microchip her, and the people who had her just didn't bother.
My point being that sleeping in the same room as shy animals seems to help build trust, as it certainly helped David and Sook along and might be why she leant towards me so favourably in the first place.

So sorry to hear about your ankle, that really bites. I know how that can be - I also know how it can be to have someone commandeering and adjusting your crutches, thanks to my older sister :P
Do get well soon!

the Drunken Housewife said...

Aww, Emma-Louise, I am so happy for your dog that you found her.

When I did rat rescue work, I figured out that rats got used to you best if you were still with them in a darkened room. I used to watch movies in a room with all the lights off with new rats, to let them relax and adjust. I passed that tip along to lots of people. But I thought that was a more rat-centric idea, based on the fact that in nature rats are moving around in the dark, and I hadn't extrapolated it to either sleeping or feral kittens. It does make sense, though. When you're unconscious, you're not threatening, and the animal has the opportunity to really smell you and go around and get a good, long look at you.

Carroll said...

Carole, I'm so sorry about the ankle. I had one like that years ago -- (baby still in backpack and toddler underfoot at the time -- aiee!) Ortho guy at the
ER said it was the worst sprain he'd ever seen and that I'd have been better off breaking it as it would plague me the rest of my life. Nice, eh? But he was young. I figured, right what does he know?. Turns out he knew his stuff. Only when I broke the other ankle not too long ago did I establish a good base for comparison. Verdict's not in yet on the "rest of your life" stuff, but I'll be sure to let you know.

Piece of completely unsolicited advice...*try* not to indulge yourself in too much comfort food (random example would be, oh, cream) I'm still struggling to lose some of that Ben and Jerry's from the last incident.


Maybe when you're back on your hooves I can come up to the City and actually meet you someplace. You could teach me how to hike those urban hills :-)

Hang in there!

Silliyak said...

I would like to add (from Moonrabbit's experience) that even after you're "all better" you are still much more susceptible to further (and possibly worse) injury. So be really careful for several months after you're "better"

Amy said...

Oy Vey. #10 rolled her ankle a couple of weeks ago. It's like it's contagious.

Missy said...

Ouch, ouch, ouch.

So painful. This brought back memories of the time I stood on a stool to put DD's reading trophies back on a high shelf, (because the little marble edges were sharp and dangerous) and fell off.

I remember laying there with DH shouting "get up! Get up!" so he could see I wasn't hurt, and me refusing, because then I would indeed know I was hurt.

Yours was much worse and much more painful. I am sorry you had to go through this!