It's been seven weeks since I listened to those of you telling me to go get my ankle checked—that it might have been more than just a sprain. Which of course it was.
It's been seven weeks since I've been able to put my left foot on the ground and walk. It's been just under six weeks since I had surgery, a metal plate and nine screws attached to my fibula.
Yesterday (my birthday), we had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon and I got the thumbs up to start putting weight on my leg (slowly, wearing a walking boot, using a crutch) and to begin physical therapy. Baby steps, but still the best birthday present ever.
If you'd have told me that during the time I was unable to walk that Portland would experience a record breaking heatwave with temperatures unlike anything we'd seen before—records of 108, 112, 116—I probably would have cried. In retrospect I still can't quite believe that I was out there in that heat, with the lower half of my left leg in a cast, attempting to get around on a knee scooter watering my garden like a mad woman determined. But I was, and my garden came through without too much damage.
|The paver pathway to our patio through the lawn (photo circa 2016), see below for what this design has taught me|
Here are a few things I learned over the last six/seven weeks:
- Crutches are like walking with chop-sticks. Maybe athletic 20-year olds can easily navigate around on crutches but not a middle-aged gardener. Get a knee scooter. They have a long lost of shortcomings and are as frustrating as hell in a small house but are life-changing.
- My husband is not a gardener / but he can set a sprinkler. I was told multiple times "I am not a gardener," usually when I reacted with dismay that he could walk right by something obviously in need of care/picking up, but not do it unless asked. On the other hand once I set up a watering regime for the upper back garden and the bamboo-stock tanks, one that could be done with a sprinkler set to run for 45-minutes or so, he made that happen. Over and over again. Thank you Andrew.
- Pavers set in lawn are hell on wheels. I love the pathway to our patio made up of pavers set into the lawn (photo above). The contrast of soft green organic material surrounding the hard concrete, it never gets old. That is unless you're trying to move up that path on four 8" wheels designed to move across level surfaces. I've never felt older than when navigating this section of the garden. Getting around over by the shade pavilion was also trying. What's worse than pavers in lawn? Pavers in gravel. Whose idea was that anyway? And who thought it was a good idea to hang all those epiphytic plants on the fence, plants that need lots of moisture so as not to dry out?
- Level changes are interesting design-wise, but make it hard to get around a garden. Ya, so that sunken patio of ours, two feet lower than the rest of the back garden, I needed Andrew's help to get the knee scooter down there. Every. Single. Time. Thankfully most of the containers on the patio are filled with xeric plants... and those that are not could be hit with a carefully aimed hose nozzle on the "jet' setting. Still, patio time has been almost nil over the last few weeks. I plan to make up for that starting immediately.
- Anyone who asks what you’re doing with all the extra time—they've never broken an ankle, leg, or arm. Everything that you normally do (making the bed, taking a shower, watering plants, making dinner) takes five times as long when you're doing it with one leg—if you can do it at all. I read no extra books or watched any extra TV/YouTube during this time. Not even close. I was exhausted at the end of the day and fell asleep fast. Although of course I woke up every time I needed to turn over, something very difficult to do while wearing a cast or boot.
|Here Tiffany is pruning a branch off my deformed Quercus dentata 'Pinnatifida', something I'd been pondering for over a year but she got right to with her long-reach pruners.|
|Bye bye bloomed out Echium wildpretii! Tiffany made quick work of the tall dying plants.|