It’s time to bring the broken ankle story to a close and find a better one; one in which there is running along a water’s edge, rapid trimming of sails, combing a beach, or at the very least not sounding like a wood pecker hopping above and below deck. Forgive me if I repeat or ramble a bit, but when one’s world shrinks to the settee of a 36 foot boat, locomotion is through scooting or hopping, and an impatient husband’s voice is stuck on repeat (“Sit down and get your foot up.”), then I’m apt to repeat, leave things out, embellish out of boredom, and ramble.
This is what went down last Friday. Exactly one week ago today, and one day after stepping into a hole and breaking my ankle, the glass of life remained more than 3/4 full. Yes, I was annoyed and embarrassed with myself but compassionate marina dock neighbors, family and friends from afar via Facebook, email, and Magic Jack; and Captain Chameleon’s new found cooking skills, were lifting my spirits out of the pot hole.
Stranded on a boat in 80 degree weather, chowing down on homemade carne-asada tacos and coctel de camaones, with both feet, not just the injured one, propped up high and mighty, I was in complete agreement with the famous quote, “Life is Good.”
At midnight an insidious change came about and poked a hole in my glass. The toes on my left foot were like marshmallows on an open fire; fat, burning, and changing color. What is to blame, the salt in my chow fest or the body’s normal inflammatory process post- injury? Either way, something was happening to my foot. At the same time, something was also happening to my brain. Not as in brain injury but as in my level of anxiety. An astute professional nurse when in the luxury and comforts of the USA but take me out of the USA and suddenly I am scared, unsure, and desperate.
No one to call, no real way of calling, no idea of who to call- the predicament certainly made my situation seem worse to me that it needed to. Not being one to stew for long, but one that can imagine the worst in the blink of an eye, I decided to cut at the soft cast to allow for circulation and have Captain Chameleon sit next to me in the event a blood clot had formed and was traveling to my lungs at any given second.
Chop, chop, chop.
My toes began to look alive, the burning subsided, and without restrain they swelled even more. Tattered and chopped up, the pink soft cast was now a casualty. After thirty minutes of nodding off during his night watch for a pulmonary embolism, Captain Chameleon was thanked profusely, sent off to bed, and reassured that as a team we had skirted danger, yet again!
The following morning I awoke to the sun shining brilliantly, giving a thumbs up to God for another day, and to my neighbor Donna (see previous posts) who was confident that her doctor would make things better, even though it was a Saturday. And he did.
Meeting us outside in the parking lot when we drove up in Donna’s truck, Dr. Mike assisted us into the closed clinic. He completed an examination, reviewed my X-rays , conferred with a radiologist, and then chopped off my leg. Just kidding-embellishing out of boredom.
Respectful of the ER physician’s diagnosis of fracture, Dr. Mike disagreed and diagnosed my injury more in line with a grade 2 sprain. Hallelujah. Fracture or sprain the treatment is close to the same: R-I-C-E.
Rest: Café-pressed coffee in the morning just before the San Carlos Cruiser net on VHF 74 and nothing beyond reading and movies the rest of the day.
ICE: Captain Chameleon ensures that Seamore Pacific’s 12 volt fridge cranks out enough ice for both medicinal and occasional margaritas.
Compression: Lots of hugs from Captain Chameleon.
Elevation: Dock parties and walking up to land with crutches, to see the marina cats are “ok” if the leg stays elevated.
So that’s the story. Convalescing has been a gift of time. Forced to prop my leg and remain still, I’ve had the gift of reflecting:
- Our 10 day trip (and my metamorphism into a sailor) from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas.
- Uncomfortable nights at anchor after leaving Cabo San Lucas.
- Glorious nights and days at anchor.
- Steering through following seas that appeared larger than my house on land.
- Living off the grid.
- Differencing between winds that I will sing with or curse at.
- Making meals at sea when the boat is pitching and rolling…eating crackers and canned tuna instead.
- The whale that came alongside, winked, and spouted.
- Holed up for a couple of days in San Marte cove because of foul weather and anxious to let family know we were ok. Unable to contact family for 5 days.
- Why internet is important to me.
- Gratification in walking that is not found in driving.
- Checking in each morning at 8 am to the VHF sailor’s net. We announce our presence (essentially saying we are safe in port), listen for other boaters that need assist (ready to help those in need), trade and swap coconuts, and measure up the wind/sea forecast with our sail plans.
- To be continued….