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An Ankle Update

It has been just over two months since I took a tumble from the front steps and badly dislocated and fractured my right ankle, tearing a ligament along the way. I have an air cast that I wear for safety when I’m out and about, but I no longer need to have a cast on around the house. I’ve been doing regular physiotherapy and lots of home exercises and I’ve been seeing results. My range of motion has been increasing and strength improving. I still can’t do any vertical weight bearing and that is out of the question until I see my surgeon again on June 8. That means I’m still hobbling around on crutches. Let me say that I’ve had about enough of crutches, and the sore hands and arms and shoulders that accompany their constant use. Most people I’ve talked to who have broken an ankle or leg have been walking on it after 6 or 9 weeks, but then, they don’t have over a dozen screws in their legs.

Swelling has gone down – my right foot looks more like a foot than a pod now, but it is still swollen. For instance, I can’t imagine trying to jam it into a shoe at this point. Hopefully continued physio will bring the swelling right down over the next couple weeks.

The good news is that I’m finally able to start back to work today – although it is on a limited basis at first, working from home, half days to start. I wanted to start back to work much earlier, but my desire to do more sooner was premature and I suppose overly hopeful. It is difficult and frustrating to be limited in what you can accomplish. Tuffy P has been simply amazing during all this, not only providing me with all kinds of personal support but also looking after everything around the house on her own, all while working at her very challenging job every day. I’m also thankful that my employer has me covered with an excellent short-term disability plan while I recover.

I can’t help but consider how fragile we are. One misstep, one patch of black ice and everything changes for weeks. I recall thinking in that brief second as I was tumbling to the ground, “this is bad, I’m going to hit my head”, but I didn’t hit my head, and I consider myself fortunate to have come through with a bone injury which, with some fancy surgery, a handful of screws, and a considerable dose of resting time, should heal up just fine.

Most of you know that since I broke my ankle, our Newfoundland dog, Memphis, had surgery on her back right knee to deal with a ligament tear. We’ve been quite a pair, her and I, hobbling around the house. She is still limping but she is getting quite a bit stronger. Next week she starts doing 10 minute walks and when she can handle that everyday, the walks will increase incrementally. I’m looking forward to doing those walks with Memphis once I can start putting weight on my right leg. I miss walking around our lovely neighbourhood, taking the dogs over to the lake or to the leash free park to goof around with their buddies.

The thought of Memphis and I limping around the neighbourhood reminds me of a time a number of years ago when my father and his old dog Julie were both suffering from some pretty bad arthritis. He was determined to give her a good walk every day, and off the two of them would go at a super-slow pace, having an around-the-block adventure, stopping to talk with all the neighbours along the way, a sight for sore eyes.

I will have two visible souvenirs from my surgery – scars on each side of my ankle. They are both neat and healing nicely, but they are not going anywhere. The one on the inside is shorter and curved and the one on the outside is long and straight. There is a third souvenir, a handful of screws, which are hidden from view. I wonder if they will set off the metal detector at airport security?

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