I am adjusting to life on crutches. Somewhat. I’ll have you know I actually AM recovering from that little fall of last weekend where I landed flat on my tush (to save my busted ankle) and hurt…what is that bum bone called?
Because of THAT little incident, it was a bit more difficult to go downstairs on my behind so with deep calming breaths and Parker watching with his usual watchfulness, I practiced going up and down the stairs on crutches over and over. Now I navigate the stairs, the landing, the other stairs, the front steps outside and the steps down from the kitchen to the backyard quite well, can turn around, move things along the kitchen counter, get things out of the fridge and on the moveable island with only a little bit of unbalance if I go too fast.
On Monday, I went downstairs because apparently it is still important to eat. I opened the fridge and the blackberries went kamikaze: they jumped out of the fridge landed on the floor with JUST the right physics to cause the plastic case to crack wide open and free all the blackberries — good ones — all over the kitchen floor.
I did the only thing that came into my mind to do. I placed my crutches against the fridge and breathing deeply, did a tree pose — modified of course: no way was I lifting my cast and foot to the inside of my right thigh and pressing in. I did this pose so that would not growl or cry in frustration. Tree pose is good for balance. Try it the next time you are in a meeting or something public place: it works wonders for quieting things down.
So I anchored my right foot, raised my hands in the air over my head, brought my left foot to lightly touch my right, conscious of the cast and its weight. I breathed. Closed my eyes. Thought if someone walked in right now they might wonder about my sanity, me standing there arms up, leg up with blackberries all around. I held the pose for a while. Calmed down. Was grateful for Yoga practice. Laughed at what could be a comedy of errors or trinity of falls: off the stool which shattered my ankle, on my behind which hurt that coccyx bone a bit and now the berries, which hurt my sensibilities and appetite.
I bent forward, balanced entirely on my right foot only, my left leg way out behind me and picked up those blackberries. I did not shake. I did not fall. My core held me and my poor right leg and foot, having to bear all of me these days, held up admirably.
And so the next few days were mostly ok. Little wobbly moments but mostly ok. And then…and then, there was yesterday.
Parker has a dogwalker, and has had a the same dogwalker for eight years. John is a tall, trim man, quite smart, dark hair tied in a little pony tail, a life-long sailor, and a year from retirement. A series of life circumstances have made it so that he has only one lung.
John has been sick this week with some killer cough and cold. We talked every morning. I told him to stay in bed. He said his dogs counted on him, and Parker would miss him. We debated. I told him not to come on Friday and he said he might not, but then I heard the key in the lock, and in he came. His breath was raspy. He said he couldn’t let his dogs down. We had a long talk, he and I, and I told him a quick walk was fine: that he had to go home and rest and get to a doctor as soon as he could.
Three hours passed and Parker was not home. I was more than worried. And as I was about to call out a search party, I heard the key slip in the lock. I could hear John trying to breathe from my upstairs office.
“Are you ok?” I asked as my mind was registering a situation that was clearly not good.
“Can’t breathe,” he rasped.
I grabbed my crutches. Got to the top of the stairs. John was laid out on the first set of steps, grey around the gills, gasping for air. He was shivering and couldn’t stop. Parker was standing over him, protectively.
“Do you want to go to the hospital?” I asked, preparing to call an ambulance.
“I’ll get a taxi in a minute…just need to sit,” he choked out.
I asked if he had his little puffer. He shook his head no.
“I’m getting you a blanket and I am calling you a taxi to take you to the hospital,” I said as firmly and gently as I could.
“No…go home, get warm,” he managed to say. I wanted to growl at him, but went to the back room to get him a blanket.
WHY oh WHY are the extra blankets ON TOP of the eight foot high wardrobe?? In a basket. At the far back corner? That I can’t reach?
WHY oh WHY is my ankle broken now??
I was calm…honest. Anchored on my right foot, I somehow managed to use my crutch to get at a down blanket..a BIG one. I don’t know how long it took. Forever possibly. But it fell down.
The blanket is king size. I am not king size. Using the same technique I had with the blackberries, I picked it up. Trying to get it to a size so that that I could safely but quickly hobble along without risk of tripping took some doing. And as I was moving though the hallway to the stairs, all I could think of was two things. About John: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T DIE and about me: DON”T YOU DARE FALL!
I did it. Got the blanket to him and got him wrapped. Then I called a taxi. At least my fingers were working.
He refused to go to the hospital. I couldn’t have driven him if I tried.
I sat with him and his shivering eased a bit. His breathing did not improve one bit.
The taxi colours flashed by the window.
“Taxi’s here,” I said.
John pulled the blanket tighter around himself and slowly stood up.
“Take the blanket, get home and call your doctor,” I said, my brows furrowed. The grey around his face was growing.
He couldn’t really talk. He pushed out a breathy “thank you” and went out to the taxi.
He’s at home and in bed now.
This has been a week. The best ever. I have discovered that balance is a very different thing when you know that can, in a pinch, put down your other good foot if you need to do so.