Monday, March 12, 2007

I Get Around

Interesting life, learning how to get around on one leg. My left busted foot can’t touch the floor, so I’m doing a lot of interesting maneuvering.

I came home from the hospital with a light aluminum walker—two wheels at the front and regular legs at the back. Easy to glide along hardwood floors and hop behind. Also came home with a pair of crutches. I’m getting better on them, but any way you slice it, I can’t be up on ’em for long. All my weight resting on one leg—even if it’s a strong runner leg—makes for a hip burn pretty fast.

So. Ingenuity time.

First, exercising. I’m used to running five miles a day. Can’t take sudden total inactivity. So my first full day at home I started “running” in my chair. Knees bent, lifting the legs straight up and down, like working an invisible pump organ. I’ve always heard 2000 paces is a mile, so I count off that much for now. This uses all upper leg muscles—rather different from running. Can work up a sweat. But I can only do 100-150 in a row without stopping for a minute. I'll work up to doing a mile at a time, eventually hoping to get up to three miles. Keep in mind, by the way, my left leg is heavy with the splint and padding and bandaging. (Wednesday I get stitches taken out and a cast put on for six weeks.)

Then it’s on the floor on each side for leg lifts. Then some stomach crunches.

Second necessary ingenuity--buying accoutrements. Mark brought home a rolling workshop stool from Home Depot. Great for perching on at the sink and generally rolling around the bathroom. Here in Idaho we have a two-person tiled, walk-in shower in the master bath, but in California we have only tub showers. No can step into bathtub with one leg. I found a handy-dandy shower seat with an extension that reaches over the edge of the tub. You just plop down, swing your legs over—and you’re in. I also ordered a plastic thingy for covering the cast and keeping water out during showering. (Right now I'm taping a garbage bag around my leg.)

One more purchase—a physician’s-type rolling chair, with a footrest ring and a back. This will be great for scootin' around the hardwood floors in our California kitchen, where I'm having it shipped. I can make coffee and divine meals sitting on that thing. Be a regular holy roller.

Third, challenges. Saturday I got up and thought, “I know, I’ll bring Mark coffee in bed.” He deserves it, don’t you think—after all the wonderful care he’s been taking of me. Now I had no idea how I was going to accomplish carrying coffee up 24 stairs (yes, 24!), and using crutches. But hey, I’d figure it out.

(See what I mean? The stairs--16 on the first part, then around the corner to the right and up another 8 to the master suite. Cornering left leads to the other side of the greatroom and more bedrooms.)

So I crutched to the staircase. Went down the steps on my rear, leaving my crutches at the top of the stairs. At the bottom I picked up my walker and walker-hopped into the kitchen. The coffee was already made—it goes off automatically, being set the night before. I poured some into Mark’s Starbuck’s silver keep-it-hot-mug—the kind with a rubber top with one area left open for drinking. Then I hopped over to a drawer for some masking tape. Taped up the mug’s drinking hole. Put the mug in a plastic grocery bag. Wrapped the grocery bag tight around the mug and taped it. Took the handles of the plastic bag and tied 'em over the front brace of the walker.
So far so good. I walker-hopped back to the stairs. Now how in the heck to get the coffee up stairs, when I needed both hands to lift my rear end to the next step, all the while holding up one leg?

Aha! I untied the plastic bag from the walker and tied it around my neck, with the coffee mug hanging down front. Tada! I felt like one of those St. Bernard rescue dogs with the neck keg.

I butt-reversed up the 24 stairs. Pushed up on one leg at the top, grabbed my crutches and crutched into the bedroom. Sat down on the bed and untied the plastic bag. “Your morning coffee, sir.”

I tried to be nonchalant about the whole thing but couldn’t keep a wacky grin off my face. Mark just shook his head and smiled. One more antic from his dear wifey.

Speaking of Mark, he misses you all. Keeps asking if I’m telling you that he’s taking great care of me. Which he is. He’s been Mr. Step ‘n’ Fetch, Mr. Chef, Mr. Launderer and Mr. Errand-Runner.

I could get used to this.

Before we get back to our regularly scheduled programming, tomorrow I will show you some pictures. Yes, dear hubby was snapping 'em even as I languished in the snow after the accident. Oh, my. I hadn't figured out how I managed to do such a terrible number on my ankle. Then I saw the photos.

I don't wonder anymore.

Read Part 6


Kristy Dykes said...

You wear me out, girl, just hearing about your ingenious industriousness! My m-i-l broke her ankle when she had four little ones, one a baby. She put the knee of her bummed leg on a tricycle and got around that way.

Tell Mark we haven't forgotten him. We'll never forget him! He kept us informed, and he was good!

Unknown said...

I have to give you an "ooh-rah!" the official motivational cry of the U.S. Marines for improvising, adapting and overcoming!

Karen Eve said...

I understand the crutches issue so well. Bags became my good friend and I had them tucked away all over the house (2 separate upstairs areas). I could put things in them and put them on the steps ahead of me as I went up and for unbreakable things, toss them down the stairs as I went down. I also did a wheel chair to get around outside of the house for the first month. It took a while to develop the upper body strength needed for crutches and I wasn't going to retire from life just because my knee had blown out.
I admire your exercise routine and I'm sure that you'll recover faster for it. My prayers are going up for complete healing of your ankle. Have you gone over to the HR yet?

eileen said...

The policeman shook his head as Husband ranted. "She really did hang herself with the plastic bag! I'm not guilty!"

LOL in '90 I broke both bones in my left leg. Was a floating sixth grade teacher, room to room in a wheelchair, on crutches to teach. Single parenting included shuffling kids and grocery store trips. Christmas shopping with my best friend pushing the chair. Ahhh, memories. You DO survive. And with all the prayers of the saints, BC, you'll heal well. (Hi Mark! I'll believe your story!)

T. Forkner said...

Mark is a sweetheart. You're a lucky holy rollin' lady.

Pamela S. Meyers said...

Egad. Blogger messed me up and didn't take my sign in. Lost everything I wrote before.

Tip for Brandilyn. My aunt did this when she needed a walker. Get a carpenter apron at Home Depot. The kind with multiple pockets for tools. She would put a covered drink in one pocket, a wrapped sandwich in another, condiments and silverware if needed in another, paperback in another. Then she'd roll off to where she wanted to sit. Worked like a charm!

Hope that helps and feel better!!

Karen said...

Keep pressing on Brandilyn. You CAN do it!

Nice place. I like all the windows.

D. Gudger said...

I've done the crutch for several weeks thing - I became pretty good at carrying things in my mouth, and found I had to take baths. I even tried duct-taping around an ankle cast, but the shower water got in. Don't miss the arm-pit blisters from the crutches though! Good thing your stairs are carpeted!
Can't wait to see the "scene of the accident" photos!

Kristin said...

Brandilyn, I'm going to have to pick you up and take you to Stanford or Hillsdale. No chances of too many accidents walking the mall. That's what you need, dear. A place of respite with an elevator. Bring your charge cards! : )

I had no doubt you were that creative by the way. You didn't learn to kill all those people in your books by doing it!

batgirl said...

the work-out: could you make me feel any more guilty? If poor injured Brandilyn isn't even using her ankle as an excuse...

Susanne said...

My goodness that's a work out and a half! Beautiful staircase and home though.