Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My first (and hopefully last) broken bone

I would like to encourage all of you women out there to start working on your upper body strength immediately. Go to the gym and do some triceps exercises, or get some cans of soup and start doing biceps curls at home, or better yet, start rowing. Or all of the above.

Why? Well, you never know when you are going to have to drag yourself up a big long flight of stairs. Multiple times. Like for instance, the flight of stairs in my house, which has 17 steps. Seventeen tall steps.

That's how I'm getting back and forth between the first floor and the second floor of my house these days, thanks to a broken ankle that has severely curtailed my ability to get around. As in, I can barely get around at all. I've got a big heavy boot on my right foot but I can't put any weight on it, so even with my crutches, there's only so much I can do. Heaven forbid we have any kind of emergency while I'm in this state.

Let me start at the beginning for those of you who haven't heard the story yet.

We had Andrew baptized on Sunday at our church here in Nashville. It was wonderful. My father-in-law, who has been ill, was able to be the presenting elder for Andrew, and it was Aaron who carried his baby grandson out into the congregation during the service. William walked down off the stage and joined them to help introduce Andrew to all the church members. The sight of Aaron carefully navigating the center aisle with Andrew in one arm and holding William's hand with his other will surely stay with everyone who saw it for a long, long time. The pastor who baptized Andrew leaned over to me and told me what a beautiful image it was. It really was. We're not allowed to take photos in church, so I stared as hard as I could to burn the image into my brain. Since Daddy baptized William, it was really nice to have Aaron involved in Andrew's baptism.

Afterward, we had a family luncheon at our house. After dessert, David passed Andrew over to me so I could go feed him. I took Andrew, turned around and fell over the open dishwasher door. Trying desperately not to fall and slam Andrew's head into the counter, I somehow managed to twist and contort and fall to the ground with him in my arms. However, I managed to twist and contort and break my right ankle on the way down. Scared to death that I'd catastrophically injured my son, I screamed and cried in hysterics. I pulled Andrew away from my chest, and I saw that he was wailing, which I dimly registered was a good sign. David took Andrew and examined him, while I remained on the floor and....well, freaked out about Andrew. Others immediately got ice for my foot and propped it up on a pillow. When we saw how swollen my foot was and I couldn't put any weight on it, we realized it was time to visit the ER.

Long story short, I have a spiral fracture of the right distal fibula, or a frature in the smaller of the two leg bones down by my ankle. The ER doctor put a boot on it and sent me home with instructions to elevate it and stay off of it. A subsequent visit to an orthopedist yesterday resulted in a new, better-fitting boot...and instructions to elevate my foot and stay off of it until I go back for another appointment in about two weeks.

So I'm more or less immobile. Right now I'm sprawled here on a chair in the family room with my booted foot propped up on a cushion. My friend Del posted a line from "A Christmas Story" on my Facebook page today: "Randay lay there like a slug. It was his only defense." I can't even tell you how much I feel like Randy right now...only without the heavy snowsuit. My poor mother is now waiting on me hand and foot, almost literally. I can hobble around on the crutches, but I'm not very good at it, and I've also managed to strain a couple of muscles in my chest from the effort and bruise the insides of both arms from the armrests of the crutches. Also, I can't get myself up and down the stairs except by sitting on my bottom, like a hesitant toddler, and dragging myself with my arms. It's slow and awkward. I'm trying to only make the round trip once a day so as not to completely wear myself out. (Hence my instructions at the beginng of this post.) Taking a shower is also an adventure. Mom's out looking for a stool or chair we can put in the shower so I don't have to stand on one leg and try to wash my hair. It's one thing to pretend to be a flamingo on dry ground; it's a whole other thing to attempt to do it in a slipper shower, you know?

Anyway, the good news is that I won't need surgery on my ankle. I won't have to worry about feeding Andrew formula from a bottle for a few days while taking pain medication for the surgery, either, which was actually much more of a concern for me than the actual going under the knife part. He's had exactly one bottle in his whole life, and he's never had formula, and I was dreading the thought of having to introduce both at the same time to him. Longtime TPinaP readers will remember the, um, adventures that we had in getting William to take a bottle when he was a baby, and I just couldn't imagine doing that right now with Andrew, not when I'm already a little stressed out from my injury. So I'm trying to get by with plain old Motrin or Advil for pain relief instead of a narcotic as it is, so I won't have to pump and dump. (If you don't know what that means, just be glad. Anyone who's ever uttered the phrase "there's no use crying over spilled milk" has never tried to pump breastmilk, let's just say that.). Most of the time, it's okay. I asked David last night if it was normal that my ankle was hurting, and he looked at me like I was nuts. "Um, yeah," he said. "You have a broken bone!" Heh. Yeah, that's right.

The challenge from here on out is going to be trying to be a mom. I can't walk. I can't drive. We're not sure when I'll be able to do either, but it'll probably be at least a few weeks. I might be able to put my foot down for balance in another week or so, but we don't know for sure. It will depend on how fast I heal and what I can tolerate. Diane is going to help as much as she can, and a couple of friends have also offered to help out when they can after Mom has to go home on Monday. What I could use is a dumb waiter. You know, one of those devices in old hotels and houses where you can stick something in a little compartment and then lower it up and down on a pulley, almost like a mini elevator for your stuff. I could put Andrew in that, and lower him down to the first floor in the morning and then up again in the evening, while I haul myself up and down the stairs with my arms. (I'd better get some fabulous arm muscles out of this.)

Or a magic wand would be good, too.

This is my first broken bone, incidentally. Hopefully, it will be my last!


My Interior Life said...

Jennifer, I'm so sorry to hear about your ordeal. I know this is not how you envisioned your summer starting off. I'm glad Andrew escaped unscathed. Please let me know if I can do anything for you - run errands, bring you food, etc.

natalie said...

A few random thoughts:

1. You know how on crime shows they have computer programs that show how a crime was committed, or the trajectory of a bullet? I'd love to see a reenactment of how you managed to protect Andrew on the way down. That's heroism!

2. My parents' house has a dumbwaiter, and we had such a good time playing with it when we first moved in. I'm pretty sure that at least one of my sisters' friends took a ride in it, but I'm not sure which one. Still: VERY handy to have!

3. I'm so grateful for your technology and connectedness! I remember feeling like it saved my life in those early days of parenting. And thank goodness you have family nearby!

Take care and heal quickly. Much love.