Posts Tagged ‘Broken Ankle’

When Life Throws A Curve Ball

Sometime life reminds me of the games we used to play. Remember in “Monopoly” how we tried to buy and improve our status in life and not go to jail! We even borrowed money from the bank!!! In “Candy Land” we rolled the dice to move forward and then, oops, we’d slide backward. In “Uncle Wiggly” we moaned when we had to go back to the start. “Rook” betted on a successful partner and being dealt a good hand or having the skill to make a bad hand good. In “Sorry” you joyfully moved forward by pretending you were so sorry to send the other players back to home base. In all games your goal is to win, come out the champ, even at the expense of others! How we win depends on a strange mixture of skill and luck.

In baseball, a pitcher throws a curve ball in the middle of a series of good pitches to throw the batter off balance. It is slower than a fast pitch and curves downward before reaching home plate making the batter swing too early or over the top of the curveball. It usually does not end well for the batter. Life is full of curve balls. Sometimes they come out of nowhere catching us off guard and sometimes we see it happening and try to stop the ploy. Sometimes it is easy to go with the swing and other times it sends us sprawling.

Our Curve Balls

Gene Got Covid:

This has been a difficult spring for us. It started mid-January with Gene getting covid. It didn’t go well for him and he ended up with pneumonia in the hospital. He is still dealing with some long-term covid issues but is steadily improving.

Pat’s First Fall:

In mid-March on a rainy Saturday morning, I stepped out of the house with my umbrella to walk to our store to work. I usually ride the golf cart but it was raining to hard and I thought I’d stay drier walking with an umbrella. I slipped on the wet grass and after a few very undignified acrobatic maneuvers stumbled over my umbrella which had ended upside down in front of me. My left foot flew forward, hyper-extending my leg and tearing my ham string and calf muscle. It was an extremely painful fall and I had to have help getting up and back into the house. That fall resulted in a trip to the Ortho Emergency Center, a full leg brace, two huge black bruises and weeks of therapy.

On May 12 (Thursday), I completed my physical therapy with a certificate from my therapist. I had spent most of the winter in therapy due to issues with my arthritic feet. Their last words to me as I went out the door was “We love seeing you, but be careful and don’t come back”! I happily walked out the door, never to return.

Mother’s Day

Three days later on Sunday, May 15, (Mother’s Day) my husband planned a surprise for me. We went to Charlottesville after church and ate lunch with our daughter Jill and family at the Michie Tavern on the road leading up the mountain to Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. It was a cold, fun day filled with a delicious buffet lunch and family time. I felt loved and blessed.

Michie Tavern

Pat’s Second Fall:

Arriving home I had a few things to carry into the house; a grocery bag full of puzzles, a stack of empty egg cartons and two small packages that were in our mailbox. Nothing heavy, just an arm full of stuff! I proceeded to take them straight to the laundry which is down two steps from the kitchen so that they would be ready to take to the store in the morning.

Life threw a wild curve ball and I did not see it coming. I am not sure exactly what happened but I fell down those steps with my legs straight out in front of me. Gene heard the commotion and said, “Did you fall?” What was I too say? I am laying there on the floor moaning!

The pain was excruciating and my ankle immediately swelled. I could not stand for him to touch the skin on my foot. He finally was able to get me up to sit on the bottom step. I instantly felt sick on my stomach and passed out. I awoke to him saying, “Are you awake”?

It was quite the ordeal to get me to my lazy boy in the living room. He thought my ankle was badly sprained because of the way it swelled so fast but I wasn’t so sure. The ortho practice that we go to has an emergency center twelve miles down the road. We really wanted to go there instead of the ER at the hospital. They are so much more efficient and they have access to my history and ortho doctor. After checking the hours on the internet we discovered they had already closed for the evening so we decided to wait until morning and I hopped with a broom handle to bed.

Long story short, I broke my ankle and needed to have two screws surgically implanted. The pictures below are the before and after surgery.

Break is to the right of the plus sign on the left
Look at those two long bad boy screws!

I have six weeks of non-weight bearing and four additional weeks of a walking boot. To my great embarrassment I had to contact my physical therapist and let him know I would be coming back to see him.

My real cast after my post -op surgery visit.

Fall Risk:

I was laying on the bed being prepped for ankle surgery and the nurse asked, “Have you fallen any other time in the last six month?” After my answer, she quickly left the room and came back with a bright yellow arm band that said, “Fall Risk”! Fall risk-now I am labeled and banded along with being handicapped! I wonder if it will help to wear it all the time?

The Restrictions:

I am to prop up my leg as much as possible and no weight bearing for six weeks. That means the injured foot is not to touch the ground. That has taken some figuring out. I can not use the leg buggy as I had a double knee replacement three years ago and I can not bear to kneel or put weight on my knees.

The Consequences:

How was I going to deal with such a handicap during our busy season in the store, a newly planted garden, a yard to mow, a house to care for and all the other things I do???? After some trial and error, I finally got it figured out. I use a combination of walker and crutches in the house but when I go to our store or away from the house I use the wheelchair. I have two wheelchairs; one I keep in the trunk of my car and the other in the store.

Gene built me a ramp into the side of the store. I can drive the golf cart up the ramp and into the feed room where I have a wheelchair parked and waiting. I do not have to navigate steps inside the store which would be impossible for me. A few other adjustments had to be made but it is a very workable situation and I can do it by myself.

Those who have experienced this can identify. When you can’t put weight on one foot, you can’t carry things or do steps. The walker and crutches is extremely tiring and makes my arm muscles ache.

Caring Family and Friends:

I have been blessed with caring family and friends who have come to my aide. I suddenly have felt very needy. There are so many things that I need help with or that need to be done. Our church family and friends have brought food. Our daughter Jill came for several days and worked on the flower beds and garden. My brother Rich Heatwole came twice for several days and so did friends Dwight and Linda Burkholder. They helped to make deliveries, fix a concrete dock, replaced broken stair trend in the house from where I fell, fixed meals, went grocery shopping, replaced my bird feeder, and numerous other projects. Gene had a to-do-list and every single thing on it got done!

Jill hoeing the garden
Dwight replacing stair tread that broke when I fell.
Rich and Dwight fixing a dock at the store that needed repairs.
Dwight replacing a broken bird feeder post
Fixing supper

Memorial Day:

Over Memorial Day week, Obe and Jill and most of the grandkids came and pulled weeds in the garden, flower beds, trimmed the roses, weeded the blackberries, weeded, picked and mulched the asparagus, mulched and pruned the tomatoes, picked strawberries, mowed the lawn, got the patio furniture out of the storage building and power washed it. It was a good day and so much got done.

Jill trimming the roses.
Obe power washing the patio furniture
Ryan working on the blackberries
kitchen crew
More kitchen crew
Grandkids and someone special!
Jill wanted some railroad ties.
The Hostetters went home with a trailer load of railroad ties to redo her raised garden beds.
All I could do was haul the gang around and watch!

Karla Hostetter stayed for the week and helped me in the store and did a thousand other small jobs. When you have to have someone else do everything you do, it seems like so much work; water the plants, pick up stuff, take out trash, pick strawberries, lettuce, onions and wash them, go to the mailbox, run to the grocery store, run Gene Hertzler between fields with equipment , empty the dishwasher, do the laundry, fix a meal, gather eggs, wind the grandfather clock, and the list goes on and on. It is things I just do and don’t give it a second thought. I don’t consider it work but as I watched others do it, it felt different!!!!!

One evening Karla and Lauren make chocolate truffles, a family favorite.

Grandson Ryan

Four days after I broke my ankle, Ryan broke his big toe playing soccer. I could hardly believe it when I got the call! The break looked very similar to mine but he only has to wear a walking boot as it is not weight bearing. I am very jealous of him. It hasn’t slowed him down except he can’t drive! For him, that is a real big bummer!!!

Another Curve Ball Complication:

In the midst of my ordeal, my main and faithful employee, Summer, had to have surgery to remove her thyroid. This was a much needed, must do surgery that had been scheduled for several months. This really had us scrapping for help. Two of our granddaughters, Lauren and Karla, and a friend Amy have graciously come to help in the store. It is working out well and we are making it. Fortunately I had ten days after surgery to recuperate before Summer had her surgery.

From A Grandma’s Perspective:

When our grandchildren were little they said and did the cutest things. I wrote some of them down and called them “Grandma’s Perspective”. I applied a spiritual perspective to most of them. This reminded me of “The Game of Life” post I wrote about our granddaughter Karla on February 15, 2004. It is a different take than the above but I felt this was a good time to share it.

“The Game of Life”

Jill and I were playing a game and Karla did not want to play with her toys on the floor or sit in her musical swing. She did however want to be on our laps where she was in the middle of the activity and was very intrigued with the colorful houses and cards.    At four months of age, she has no concept of a game or the ability to play in a grownup way.   Houses are to throw on the floor and cards are intended to be low calorie food. Karla is learning and does not miss much her observant eyes. 

Children learn from what they are taught, observe what they see and repeat what they hear. Habits are acquired, attitudes learned, morals developed, and values imitated. 

Life is like a game.  Sometimes my game plan does not work.  Sometimes my move sends me back to go or down a slide. Sometimes the throw of dice is not what I wanted.  Sometimes I draw the winning card.  The important thing is not the game but how I played.

Did I have fun?

Did I rejoice when someone else succeeded?

Did I cheat?

Did I get mad if I lost? 

Did I have a good attitude when things did not go my way? 

Did I get arrogant when I won?

Want to know how you are doing?  Watch your children play.

May I say with the writer of Proverbs 4: 10-13….. “ Hear, my son (child), and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many.  I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.  When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.  Take firm hold of instruction; do not let her go; keep her, for she is your life.”

%d bloggers like this: