Wheelchair Diaries #7

As Time Goes By

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And no matter what the progress or what may yet be proved. The simple facts of life are such they cannot be removed. You must remember this. A kiss is just a kiss; a sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things apply as time goes by.

As Time Goes By.  by Herman Hupfeld 1931.

A few years back, I started a daily morning ritual of rising out of bed purposefully, standing firm on my two feet and saying to myself, “I’m up once again.  It’s going to be a good day.”  I cherished the value of mobility knowing well not to take it for granted, especially as the years fly by.

How ironic.  Since the fall, I’ve lost that simple morning routine.  It is no longer possible. My thoughts now are not reflective, but merely responsive.  Get the business of the day completed.  Once Hettie arranges all the apparatus, I pull myself from my night bed to the blue rolling toilet chair and take care of the obvious. Then I shave myself and get a full body wash other than the 10% of me that is covered in plaster.  Then I get rolled to my hospital day bed where I pull my weight again and transfer to the mattress.  This time is usually the highlight of my day—coffee and computer in the morning.  It is the one event that hasn’t been altered by the fall other than I am in bed rather than a chair.

The last year that I worked before retirement, I began the habit of crossing off each day on a calendar as a pleasurable countdown to personal freedom.  With 38 years of work behind me, this checking off process made the time fly.  I could visually see how much longer I had to go and that pleasantly accelerated toward the end of my working days.  I considered doing the same after the fall, to count down the days to when my casts will be removed.  But I haven’t done it.  Unlike my retirement countdown, the amount of time ahead of me is uncertain and disproportionate to how long I have already waited.  May 11th is the date I meet the orthopedic surgeon, but there are no guarantees that the casts will be removed then or what decisions will need to be made.

And what about afterwards?  There are so many unanswered questions.  One problem I have is that both my arms are needed to help me walk again and aid the physical therapy of my two broken heels.  Thus, I must wait for my broken left arm to heal fully.  After that, I am facing a painful, long process of walking again, so says everything that I have read about the calcaneus.  Breaking a heel bone is considered a serious trauma and I have double trouble.  Because of all this I prefer to just take each days as it goes and don’t look too far into the future.  This is a big change for a guy who lives on dreams and tries to make them reality.

One thing that I have pondered is hydrotherapy.  Water has always been my playground.  Above, below or in it.  Pool, lake or ocean.  It doesn’t matter.  I feel most comfortable when I’m in or near the water.  Weird that I spent decades living in the New Mexico desert.  But even back then I spent countless hours each week churning laps in an Olympic size pool. So I think hydrotherapy may be the key for a quicker recovery, both physically and mentally.  Plans are being made now on how I can safely get my body in and out of our pool.  None of this will be cheap, but with my future mobility at stake, I really don’t care about the price tag.

I received a copy of my CT scan of both my crushed heels the day of the fall.  Reviewing the dozens of micro slices of my calcanea fractures is ghastly.  One pic has a piece of bone arching off to the left.  It resembles the southern peninsula of San Francisco Bay.  Another shows pieces of bone piled up on each other and severely slanted.  The leaning tower of Pisa comes to mind.  My doctor friend, Jeff, assures me that these scans always look worse than they appear and they need a trained eye for accurate interpretation.  But he also adds I have a clear fracture of the Talocalcaneal joint. That is where the heel bone meets the bone above it.  He is passing on these scans to a foot specialist in the States for an opinion.  And so I wait, as time goes by.

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One thought on “Wheelchair Diaries #7

  1. Wow ! This sounds so grim….Hang in there Patrick. My best thoughts and wishes are with you for a full and complete recovery.

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