Thursday, January 14, 2016

The leg bone's connected to the ankle bone?? Well...

We had to rush to the emergency room the other night, and it wasn't for me.

Normally you'd think that would register a “Yes! Not me!! Outstanding!!!” on the “Thank You Lord Scale of Personal Mishaps,” and, normally, you'd be right. But since it was Sheri we had to get to the hospital? It was more like a 10 on the “Why Didn't This Happen to me instead?” measuring device.

So, what happened? We were winterizing the windows in the living room... Let me pause to say that what happened is an offshoot of my firm belief that no good deed goes unpunished. We were trying to be conscientious and fiscally careful, which is like a good deed, and... Sheri was standing on a chair to reach. I had my back turned to her as I worked on my side, and there was a huge bang/crash, and I turned around to find Sheri lying on the floor. She didn't look like it had been part of the winterizing plan.

She laid there for a couple of minutes- at her request- and then said it really, really hurt. My wife has an amazing tolerance for physical pain, so the fact that she used two reallys really worried me.

Her ankle swelled up almost instantly and turned a variety of colors not seen since Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Let me pause again... Though in this retelling, I'm applying my amazing talent for humorous turn of phrase- believe me, at the time I was just truly scared. But scared is boring, so...

It was obvious we had to get her to the emergency room and that's what we did. There was a horrific storm a-blowin' and a-rainin', but at least it wasn't snow. What she had to go through just to get her to the car would have made many a man weep, including this one, but there was nary a tear. Of course, it was raining so hard I wouldn't have known, but I know.

We got her to the emergency room, into a wheelchair, up the ramp, through intake and into a room. We apparently arrived right ahead of what the nurse called the post-dinnertime rush, so Sheri was immediately whisked off to x-ray and back.

Verdict: broken ankle on her left foot, both sides. Let me pause a third time... Did you know you really don't break your ankle? No, you break your leg at the ankle. Those ankle nobs are the end of your leg bone and she broke one in three places and the other broke in reaction to the first break. Regardless of what you call it, it obviously hurt and would likely need surgery, according to the nice young doctor in the emergency room.

So, we headed home, a journey not much more comfortable for Sheri than the one to the hospital, even though her ankle was now in a cast. The biggest challenge I faced was filling the doctor's prescription for “A stick for her to bite down on if the pain got too bad,” which was the only aid Sheri would accept. Well, that and ibuprofen.

I decided we surely had a stick at home that would work and, if not, we had plenty of wooden spoons. Getting her back up the three stairs and into the house, still in the driving rain, was tough, but, again, being the trooper that she is, she managed.

Here's a funny thing, funny odd not tunny ha ha. With all the health issues I've had in the last two years, I have not once said, “Why me?” But as I sat watching Sheri suffering, more than once I asked, “Why her?” On Valentine's Day it will be exactly 22 years since she was diagnosed with Type One diabetes; for the last two-plus years she's had to watch he husband suffer from multiple myeloma and an unnamed, but serious, stomach ailment, and she hasn't complained... well, not much. She's terrific, but sainthood does elude her. So, “Why her?” and, of course, the answer is, “Why not her? And, too, “If not her, who?”

After a couple of days she went to the orthopedic surgeon who scheduled surgery for the end of the week. An interesting thing about that. My various health issues have left me with not much strength and I had used up most of it by the time Sheri had to go to the surgeon. So, we had a couple of friends come over to assist and I couldn't help but notice, again, how amazing the human body is. To get Sheri into the car- an act that she did every day, all by herself, without even thinking about it- now took three people, plus herself. Yeah, boy.

They're going to insert a steel plate in her foot to fix it. I think, once the pain that comes from the surgery itself wanes, she should be able to get about a little better since it would seem the ankle will be truly immobile.

How upset have I been about all this? Not once have I said, “Look, Sheri, I know it hurts, but I had a stem cell transplant and you didn't hear me complain,” or any such thing. I just want her to heal and not have to be in pain. That's all.

There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere