so far, so good . . .
It’s almost a week (tomorrow) since I took that fateful step off the stairs, thinking that I was nearer terra firma than I actually was. Instead, I fell on my right ankle which dislocated the tibia and broke a bunch of bones (what they call a compound fracture.)
Today, surrounded by beautiful flowers from well-wishers, I am biding my time until the surgeon operates on my foot next week (week by week it seems to go.) After lunch, I managed to use a walker to stand at the kitchen sink and wash my hair. It’s getting long, I keep telling myself as I comb it out and twist it securely on top of my head to dry in the sun while I sit and rest my leg.
Here’s a story that has been in the front of my mind: thirty years ago, a neighbor family who lived up the hill from us in Lexington were friends with my family. They had three girls and so did we. The girls were all classmates with one another. Their father taught at MIT and the mother was a well-known and well-liked activist in the education system in our town. First, we heard she was in the local hospital (Symmes Hospital in Arlington which is no longer there) for knee surgery. Then she went home. Then, she had a clot. And suddenly, she died, leaving the family on its own. We were so shocked that a seemingly innocuous operation could lead so quickly to such a sad end. Just so you know, though, the father raised the three girls by himself. Two of them studied at MIT, including graduate school. A. started a lab there which invented easy-to-use tools that helped people in Third World countries to purify water. I heard that she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (“genius grant”) a couple of years later. What an amazing story of an amazing family who made its way in the absence of their vibrant mother all those years. Their father was well known at MIT for fifty years, during which time he taught electrical engineering, and then afterwards served as MIT’s head of undergraduate education and student affairs from 1990-1995.
You know where this is going, right? I described that sudden death from knee surgery situation to the orthopedic surgeon we met with on Monday. I said there seemed to be situations, rare perhaps but even so, times when someone may go in for a tonsillectomy, lapse into a coma and then die. Since my personality is proactive and organized, I reflected about what I wanted to have happen in my absence (if I died unexpectedly.) It’s taken a couple of days to learn there’s nothing like transparency to help align people you love.
Now, it’s time to plan what to make for dinner: roasted sweet potatoes and thin-sliced pork chops in a mustard-apple cider vinegar glaze, fresh spinach on the side. There’s even a half of a peach cobbler to warm up and eat with Haagen Daz vanilla bean ice cream after dinner. Yum!
Postscript: The week-by-week paradigm has kicked in: when the ER cast was opened up on Friday, there were skin blisters, a condition that required antiseptic applied to them and then a new cast closing the ankle up for another ten days. To avoid post-operative infection, the blisters should heal first. The next peek is scheduled for the week of March 10th.
In the meantime, my daughter C. helped me position pillows while resting on the couch, so that the cast is elevated higher than my heart–thereby promoting a less congested ankle area, helping it to heal sufficient to have surgery. One week at a time. . .