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Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again PART 2

Mar 27 2015


Part Two

Paul met us out front with the crutches, which scared the living bejesus outta me. I’d never used them before, and I felt like I was on stilts or something, even though both Paul and Sean assured me they were adjusted for my height. Now, these guys are both deeply knowledgeable when it comes to mechanical aspects of anything, so if they say something is so, you can bet your booty they are speaking the truth. That, however, did not reassure me in the least. All I could think about was those two round inches of rubber being my only contact with the ground, and the precariousness of the whole situation. I made my way across the front yard and up our three porch steps without mishap, except for the wedgie Sean gave me when he thought grabbing the waistband of my pants was going to help. And I think they pretty much hoisted me up those steps.

Once inside, where everything was flat and devoid of rocks or other hazards of that type, all I wanted to do was head for the bathroom and my recliner, in that order. I proceeded forward six inches at a time on the crutches and everything seemed OK until I was leaving the bathroom, when something went wrong. Somehow I ended up on my own bathroom floor with what felt like a sprained wrist.

My next trip – from bathroom to recliner – was my last on the evil crutches.

Fortunately we had stuff around, so I could avoid both using the $%^&* crutches AND another trip to the equally $%^&* ER. I had a wrist brace that I’d used some time back when I was doing a lot of work online and I’d begun to notice some carpal tunnel symptoms. We also had an office chair on wheels, which would do until Monday when we hoped we could get one of those newfangled scooter thingies to get me around. We had a gel seat cushion, too, that I’d bought to have on hand in case of hard rental car seats, and not yet used for anything. Perfect for the recliner!

By now it was 36 hours since my literal downfall. While I don’t have any proof of this, I think that our minds sort of protect us from reality for a while after an accident to allow us to adjust in some way to what has happened to our bodies. After a nap in the recliner, I realized that things were starting to hurt, big time, and if I didn’t have enough pain medication to get me thru the weekend that would be a problem. The broken ankle was the least of my problems, as it was immobilized. The wrist was also not too bad. It was the tailbone that was the biggest problem. It hurt when I moved, hurt when I stayed still, and as much as I would’ve liked to stretch out flat on a couch to take the pressure off, we don’t have one.

Lying in bed seemed too much like giving up, even at that early stage. Our bedroom is designed for sleep. It’s as dark as the inside of a cow, for one thing, and there’s no TV or handy tables with enough room to set my stuff. I was also averse to the idea of being in self-imposed isolation, because I had plenty to talk about with my husband. I’d been in PHX since December 15, after all. So making the best of things in the recliner seemed the way to go.

As things turned out, we found I had a few extra pain pills left over from my interstitial cystitis prescription, so I didn’t need to go to urgent care, as advised by the orthopod’s office, to beg for relief. It’s only been two years since I’ve used any serious pain medication, and near as I can tell I take a lot less of it than most people. (I’d worked in a call center for a Part D Medicare insurance provider, and my word, that was an education!) I’m allergic to ibuprofen, acetaminophen has been found to be pretty dangerous stuff, and so I’m left with aspirin. Aspirin does work fairly well, but I have to take it on a full stomach along with some Mylanta, and it’s just not practical to do that every four hours. The only other option is opioids, and having to put up with being made to feel like a criminal. I wonder how much of a negative side effect that nasty hoop-jumping routine has on people who are only taking opioids to relieve pain according to doctor’s instructions. It can’t help!

One of the reasons I was so worried about the pain pills was that I remembered what a horrible time my mother had when she broke her arm. She sat there and cried for hours from the pain one day, and there wasn’t anything I could do, as I was still a teenager and didn’t yet drive. In those days, all you had to do was call your doc, and there would be a prescription waiting when you went by his office later.  My dad was at work, and she wouldn’t let me call him. Thing was, it didn’t start hurting until some time after her accident. So I had this nagging memory sitting at the back of my mind. I wondered if it would happen to me.

I was new to this business of not being able to move about and do things, but at first it was enough of a novelty – and I was exhausted anyway – so that I spent a lot of time sleeping and watching TV. Between the unread books on my Kindle, what was available at the library and on Oyster, I also had no lack of readily-available reading material.

I still wasn’t enthused about food, but my husband made sure I ate, even if only a little. He’s a good cook, and I think he was enjoying the opportunity to cook his favorites, his way. At first, anyway. I wouldn’t realize for weeks how worried he was about not only my physical health, but my emotional state as well. I was in a sort of chronic panic mode. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. Would I have to have surgery? Would I still be able to dance – to walk, even? Would the tailbone issue keep me from making trips to Phoenix and other places? Would I fall again and break something else? I also found myself almost bursting into tears once when I momentarily had trouble figuring out how a sponge bath was supposed to go.

When Monday finally came around, the trip to the doctor’s office was a long, hard, slog. I don’t remember how I got down the front porch steps that first time, but somehow I did. Then it was another ride on the chair out to the truck. Getting in and out of the truck is no problem. There are handles! I bless the guy who invented those! At the doc’s was another thing. We’d borrowed a wheelchair, and I spent the time shifting and squirming, trying to find a position that hurt a little less. Even with the gel seat cushion we brought along, the wheelchair felt as hard as a rock. Still, I got x-rayed and the doc decided to wait and see on the surgery. At first it had seemed like a surgery was more about doing something, rather than sitting around and waiting for time to do its healing work.  I eventually realized I really didn’t want any pins and/or screws in my bones. From what I’ve heard from other people, those screws and pins tend to hurt a lot, forever, and I’ve already got enough things hurting on a regular basis, thankyouverymuch. Later I’d be very glad for the doc’s wait-and-see attitude.

I also got a cast. Yay. It was bulky and heavy, but it felt a lot more secure than that splint, which I’d worried about constantly. Also got a script for pain pills, so that was two things I no longer had to be concerned about.

We went from the doc’s to the drugstore, then on to the DME store. (DME, in this context, meaning Durable Medical Equipment). Apparently you have to have a prescription for the scooter thingy, but we had one, so it was only a matter of going there and getting it. Waiting outside, of course, while Paul went in and dealt with the details.

As I sat in the truck, cursing and squirming and trying to get comfortable, I saw a tall lady emerge from another truck in the parking lot and practically fly down the sidewalk on crutches. She wasn’t any teenager, either, and I wondered how she managed. Turned out she is one of my husband’s co-workers over at the Marine base. She’d also broken an ankle on New Year’s, but in her case she’d been knocked down by a neighbor’s dog somehow while she was out walking her own dog. She’d apparently left the same doc’s office minutes after we did, and was likewise in search of a scooter.

 

 

Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 1

NOW READING>>Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 2


Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 3

Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 4

Broken Grandma – a journey on wheels and feet and back again Part 5

 

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Meet Trudy

Trudy W. Schuett chairs the Regional Council on Aging for Arizona's Region IV, which includes Yuma, La Paz, and Mohave counties. She is also a member of the Governor's Advisory Council on Aging, and sits on the Board of Directors of Arizona Humanities. She lives in Yuma, but this year spent the summer in Glendale helping out with the grandkids. Carley and Tori are now in third and fourth grade.

Meanwhile back in Yuma, her husband Paul is watching the calendar. In November 2015 he retires from Marine Corps Community Services, where he's been teaching Marines how to fix their cars since 2000.

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