Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Life is a Highway and I Just Hit a Pothole

Life is a highway, that's for sure.  Sometimes you can cruise along at top speed and sometimes you hit curves and bumps in the road.  It happens to everyone.  Last Wednesday, July 1, 2020, started out great.  We were enjoying a nice sunny day that wasn't too hot.  We were trimming branches as we do every year.   Some trees die and some trees thrive to the point of overtaking areas they shouldn't.  We have a walnut tree that grows out over the roof.  We don't want the roof destroyed, so we cut out what we can.  This year we were being especially safe.  We pulled the pickup truck over so we could stand in the bed instead of on a ladder.

We like this pole trimmer.  You can use it as a saw or put the cutter over a branch and pull a rope to cut.  It's nice and safe without any worry of cutting fingers.  When we were finished with a branch, we would attach it to a rope and pull it to the front for the city to pick up.

When we are born, we change a lot in the first few years.  Birth to five years is huge.  We go from being an infant to reading, riding bikes and going to school.  Five to ten, ten to fifteen, and fifteen to twenty also show big changes.  When we reach about twenty five things seem to level off.  A twenty five year old can be friends and have much in common with a thirty year old or even older.  This goes on and the year span gets smaller and smaller. Think of it, there isn't much difference between a ninety five year old and someone who is one hundred. Truthfully I felt no different turning fifty than I did getting medicare at age 65.  I thought sixty eight must be the new forty eight because I was doing really well.  Then the seventies hit.  People my age were dying at a faster rate and were having serious medical issues.  Something changed.  It's very subtle.  Some of it is mental because we are told all the time seventy is old and some is physical because our original parts are wearing out.  We have less endurance, more aches and pains from doing minor jobs and frankly just feeling less energy, but in spite of that I still felt pretty capable and in control.

Except for the COVID-19 pandemic, life was rolling down that highway pretty smoothly although a little slower.  I noticed there were still a couple small branches hanging over the roof. 

We considered a ladder and actually carried it over, but being smart decided not to risk it.  I had the pole cutter in my hand and reached up but that was too much of a stretch so I brought is down.  As I was doing this, my foot got hung up in the rope.  I lost my balance,  and fell more more than five feet over a cement retaining wall and into a patch of berry bushes and weeds.  My balance has always been excellent but this time I couldn't recover.  This was my view as I went down. 

This was my view looking back up.  I can look at it now, but at the time I couldn't believe what just happened.

As a result, I broke my leg, cracked some ribs and got some scratches, bumps and bruises.  The lens popped out of my glasses but I must have hung onto the pole saw until I landed because it was right next to me on the ground.  Everything was in slow motion for myself but especially for my husband who standing right next to me watching this happen.  When I got up, I thought my foot hurt but everything seemed alright.  Mike went to our lower level and opened the patio door.  I hobbled in and crawled up the steps because putting weight on the foot wasn't working well.  I thought it was a sprain and was just going to wait it out.  Then my foot started to swell so I knew we had to go to the ER.  That was the last place we wanted to go during a pandemic.  After three hours in the ER it was determined that I broke my leg.  It was the beginning of the forth of July weekend so I couldn't see the orthopedic surgeon for five days. The X-Ray confirmed that I have a broken leg and have to wear a big black heavy boot that weighs a ton or I can get a cast.  I'm not sure what to do, but I think the boot will be my choice.  At least once a day, I can air out my foot and put on a clean sock.  In this hot weather we are having, a cast might get pretty ripe.  As of now my leg doesn't need surgery and unless it shifts, it should heal fine.  I also have cracked ribs which have to heal in their own time.  The ribs are the worse part.  They hurt like a son of a gun.  It could have been so much worse.  How many seventy two year olds can fall that far and not have worse injuries.  My daughter rented me a knee cart because I can't put any weight on the leg and a walker wasn't doing the job.  I was told from the emergency room that I could take the boot off to sleep but that absolutely isn't true.  I need to wear it 24 hours a day.  How I will do that will be interesting, but I'm alive and this was only a big pot hole in the road and not a Dead End.

*Update 9/26/20:  Ten days after I wrote this, it was determined that I would need surgery.  My doctor said it would heal but my ankle would be "sloppy".  I didn't want a sloppy ankle so I opted for having a plate put in to stabilize the leg and ankle.  It delayed the healing process but after five weeks I could start to put gradual weight on the leg for a month.  Now I am able to wear shoes and walk without the boot, the knee cart or a walker.  The leg is weak and stiff, but I'm sure it will be back to normal soon.   It was a long haul for me, but just a blink in the scheme of things.