My latest adventure revolves around decades of being bipedal. The human body is an amazing organism, but it’s not designed to last forever. I’m talking about wear and tear on the joints. I feel fortunate that no bones have been broken in my travels (except maybe for one or two that didn’t slow me down much). But at the age of 56, I am experiencing a cast for the first time in my life.
After the past couple years of managing to hike, ski, and clamber around, my left ankle was so wobbly that I wanted to find out what was wrong. I have vivid memories of each time it has rolled to the outside, leaving me lying on the trail faster than I could blink. It’s not a good feeling to know that I could fall down miles from anywhere and find myself unable to walk. (Which is the case all the time, but more likely with an unreliable ankle.) Why risk it? In the immortal words of those hardy souls who have gone before me: “I might be getting too old for this sh*t.” So off to the orthopedic surgeon I went. He discovered that my ankle ligaments were intact but stretched like an overused piece of elastic. An easy fix–he tightened them up. That was eighteen days ago. On Day 9, I went back to the doctor to have the bandages and sutures removed and was fitted with a fiberglass cast. There was a wide choice of colors to choose from. In the end I made a conservative decision to go with good old blue, a color I can live with for four weeks. When I need more color, I can embellish it myself.
Life has slowed waaaaaayyyy down as I recuperate. My needs are simple, and I can walk enough to take care of myself. Friends are kind enough to bundle me in their car to take me on an errand or two. But mostly I am at home, reading, quilting, scooting around the garden on my backside to pick weeds and debris. This past week the spring weather has been so glorious that I can lie on a reclining chair outdoors, drowsing like a cat in the sun, listening to birdsong. My energy level fluctuates as the body goes about its mysterious healing processes.
I hope to be cleared to do trail work in June, but for now I wait. Before I know it the cast will be off and I’ll be able to drive again. Physical therapy will start, and I’ll be able to do more in the garden. I’m surprised to feel patience with all of this. It will get better, and when I hear the mountains calling me, I’ll be able to answer, “Yes, I’m on my way.”