Sometimes circumstances force us to the sidelines. We don’t understand why. We hate being out of commission. But, sometimes, the only response is compliance, as difficult as that may be.
Are there any other shelf-sitters out there?
The saga of my foot injury continues. It was rapidly improving after the “Snap, Crackle, Pop” incident. No longer swollen or bruised, and no longer constantly aching. Sure, it would get tired after a long walk and ice baths felt amazing, but there was lots of improvement over the mess it had been in July. A nurse friend suggested I get an x-ray, just be sure, but I was pretty sure that would be money needlessly spent.
And then, it happened; a collision with 60 pounds of furry force bent my toes backwards and bathed me in white hot pain. Barefoot, in the recliner, my foot collided with boundless puppy energy. This time, the constant throbbing didn’t go away after a couple of weeks. Because there was no additional bruising and no noticeable swelling, I self-diagnosed that I probably had something out of joint from the latest collision and called my chiropractor.
After hearing my litany of injuries to my foot, she wisely refused to see me without a foot x-ray and sent me to an urgent care center. Still loudly insisting it was only a sprain, I submitted to an x-ray.
You don’t have to be a radiologist to see what is wrong with this picture. I broke the knobby end of the toe bone at the joint. The Urgent Care Dr. suggested I call a Podiatrist.
The Podiatrist looked at the x-ray and listened to the long, complicated history of the foot injury and thanked me for bringing him such an unusual and interesting case. This is not a normal injury. He sold me a “Magic Boot” to stabilize my foot, told me to come back in a week after he had consulted with other specialists, and told me to “cut back on my normal activity.”
I am very active. I hit the ground running in the morning and usually do not sit down till around 8 pm for a couple hours of television before heading to bed. But, in obedience to the Dr.’s orders I swapped out my running shoe for the magic boot, stopped mowing the lawn with the push mower and taking the dog on 3/4 mile walks.
He was not happy with me when I returned. I was still feeling my pulse in my foot when I went back to his office and he asked me why I hadn’t cut back on my activity. I said I had, but apparently not enough. Clarifying, he told me “I want you to stay OFF YOUR FOOT. Sit when you could stand, crutches or knee scooter when you could walk, and no stairs for the next TWO MONTHS.” This means no shopping, no driving, no walking.
If I rest my foot completely, there is a chance that I can avoid surgery. The body may form a fibrous scar around the broken chip, which will look funky in future x-rays, but should be functional. If I don’t rest it enough to form the scar, I will need a complicated surgery to not only remove the chip but to attach ligaments back to the parent bone with screws and pins, bringing an even longer and more difficult recovery period.
Did I mention that my bedroom and my office are on the second floor?
I am reminded of the joke about the old lady who broke her leg and couldn’t climb stairs for 3 months. When her doctor finally removed her cast and granted her permission to climb stairs again, she said, “Hallelujah! It has been so hard to shinny up that drainpipe every night to go to bed.”
I’m not shinnying up drainpipes, but I go up and down the stairs on my bum, lifting myself with my arms, chair dip style. I have crutches for the upstairs of my house, and a borrowed knee scooter for the downstairs.
What can you do with no hands and only one leg? It is surprisingly tiring to get around with these aides. and very limiting. Cooking, for example, requires many trips around the kitchen just to gather ingredients and utensils, and because I cannot get as close to the stove as I need to, there is lots of leaning. I haven’t figured out how to maneuver loading the dishwasher or oven because of the weird angles from the scooter, and the fact that I need one hand to steer it.
Fortunately my daughter and husband have graciously jumped in to assume my share of the house-hold tasks. I am grateful to family and friends who have given me rides to and from events, and have brought me meals and drinks. I think these devices should come with drink holders, or I should buy one of those hiking bladder backpacks.
So I am spending time “on the shelf.” This is a rare opportunity for study, reading, painting, and prayer. Prior shelf times have always been followed by headlong plunges into busy seasons of ministry and I don’t suspect this is any different. It is a time of healing, for my foot, and a time of preparation for the what ever is waiting around the bend.