I’ve made some adjustments during the past year, most were forced. Guess it’s to be expected as I age. I remember feeling kind of resentful at times when this happened with my parents. Seemed like it was one thing after another. I’d adjust to their new ‘norm’ then something else would cuff me up side the head that required another adjustment. Now some of those same annoying inconveniences are happening to me and I resent it. I’m not ready to make those changes in my life. Enough already!
I fell 2 weeks ago. Just great. Shannon invited me to go along to a flea market at the Chelsea Fairgrounds. She went last year and stressed the grounds were very uneven. “That’s ok, I’ll use my cane.” Actually I’ve been doing great-5 months post surgery with knee replacement. For 2 weeks I’d been walking 30 minutes every day, amounting to a good half mile, not burning up the pavement or setting any land speed records yet, but it’s a start, and I felt good. Listening to my tunes, feeling back to normal. Almost.
I was doing great at the flea market. Watching the ground, inclines, declines, cement cracks/potholes (deep enough to lose a foot/small child), kids, strollers, pets, yakkers not paying attention. Most of the vendors offered shabby chic items for the home, some had clothing, others foodstuffs. One dude was giving out free samples of his canned goods. A large picture of him and his granny, circa 1950 was prominently displayed. He made a point of telling me many of his products were made using granny’s recipes. I’m game and ask for a taste of Bread & Butter Pickles. He grabs a plastic fork, plunges it into the newly opened pint jar and snags an 8 inch shoestring thick rope of pickles. I daintily shove the half jar in my mouth and struggle to chew and swallow. Nothing sweet about these puppies, they taste like dead cucumbers. I compliment him on granny’s great recipe and quickly move away lest I’m tempted to try something else he’s concocted. Um, no thanks. My big purchase for the day was a bag of kettle corn, just what I don’t need but I love the stuff.
Shannon bought some wall art for her office at home. Hubs and I had a big breakfast but Shannon hadn’t eaten so I sit-guard our purchases on a picnic table while she peruses carnival fare. She’s thoughtful and hands me an ice cold Diet Pepsi because it’s really hot. We’re done and heading back to the parking lot. The path/driveway is part grass, part gravel. Honest we aren’t 200 feet from the car when my left ankle encounters a rock on the side of my foot and I go down. Hard. I land on my left hand and replacement knee and instantly roll to my back. The sky is spinning and I think I’m gonna be sick. Can’t leave my head flat on the ground so I lace my fingers together and pull my head up. The spinning slows and finally stops. My knee burns like it’s on fire. Shannon asks how I am? Knee hurts, hand hurts (from the colorful bruise on my hand, I think the curved part of my cane was under my hand when I hit the ground). I can move all my parts but just laid there for a couple minutes. I know I can’t roll over, get on my knees and stand up and I need more than one eager person (Shannon) to help with that. I spot a women’s foursome heading our way and ask if they can help stand me up? (I hate this. Really. Hate. This). I’m finally up, full of dust and heartsick about the setback.
Good thing I was wearing capris. There’s a couple of scratches/dings on my hands and knee but not bad. I limp to a nearby fence, Shannon jogs to the car to swing by and pick me up. I need ice and Motrin. I have much to be grateful for. I didn’t break anything and I think my new knee is pretty much indestructible. Actually most of the pain is in the back of my leg. Feels like I maybe hyperextended it. Two weeks later and there’s still 2 lumps/bumps on my knee. Hope they eventually disappear.
For the following week I do the bare minimum in the housework/cooking/stairs departments (not a big stretch for this lazy slug) around the house. I called Dr. Carpenter’s office for reassurance there’s not much chance I really hurt my new joint, right? I can walk but going up and down stairs like a normal person is impossible (again) and bending my leg is still very limited. But I am moving. A tad better.
There are 3 issues I must address/accept about my leg (s).
1. I am sorely lacking strength and stamina in both legs.
2. I am fairly certain my balance problems have hindered my progress. This issue is not new. I was diagnosed with Meniere’s 15 years ago, but it sure seems much more pronounced since my bad fall last summer. This scares and worries me a lot.
3. This might seem like a prideful matter, but I view it as more of a crutch/dependency issue. (Weird choice of words). If I simply look back since surgery I can only think of one instance where I thought, damn, wish I would have left my cane in the car. (More on this bizarre shopping trip in a minute). Every other single time I’ve been running errands, walking on uneven pavement or very tired from getting in and out of the car numerous times I’ve thought, why didn’t I bring my cane? I would feel better if I had my cane.
So a week ago Monday I had an appointment. Decided to make one extra stop while I was out because I had done absolutely nothing the previous week. The Sunday paper ad for Aldi had humongous bags of Halloween candy on sale. (We get between 450 and 600 trick or treaters at our house). I used my cane when I got out of the car, then realized I had no change to retrieve one of their shopping carts. No matter, I’m only gonna buy a couple bags of candy. I walked right to the candy aisle (yes I’m familiar where the sweets are-don’t judge) and was searching for the bags of 250 pieces for $19.47 when I spot a seriously jacked up bag-400 pieces (about the size of a twin mattress, only harder to handle) for $23.97. See the problem is both Hubs and I are incapable of throwing one itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny candy bar the size of my thumbnail into a trick or treater’s pillowcase (which is usually larger than the kid). It just seems cheap and pitifully tight-assy. So we toss in 2, sometimes 3.
Still, if we stick to 2 bars each, this supplies 400 kids for 50 bucks, not bad. Might have to buy a couple extra bags just in case. (We’ve run out every year and had to turn our light off early, but 2 years ago we made a terribly embarrassing mistake). We were running low on candy and I remembered a good dozen plus full-size Hershey’s candy bars (for s’mores. Yeah that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). I run to the cupboard, rip open the packages and start handing out big candy bars. Word gets out-spreads like the plague. Soon the line to our front steps is 50 deep with kids and parents and we’re out of everything except Idaho potatoes, 3 stalks of celery and a half dozen eggs. I yell an apology to the masses, close the door, lock it in case they try to storm the joint and turn off the light. (We were pleasantly surprised the next morning that our house remained egg and toilet paper free).
Back to my woeful tale at Aldi’s. So I’ve got my cane, my purse, no cart and 2 bags of candy that are measured by the metric ton. I hobble to the checkout with my cane under my arm (it does a lot of good there doesn’t it), the 2 round hay bale size bags ripping out my fingernails with every uneven/unsteady step. Ahead of me in line is a very pregnant mom with 2 small girls who are both gaping at the size of my load. Mom says, “you only got those 2 big things? Go ahead of me.” “God love ‘ya woman, thanks!”
I pay, then awkwardly move my two Hummer size bags to the extra counter where everyone bags their own stuff. I slide/push/pull/yank them along until I’m at the exit. I feel like a total fraud (because I can’t use my cane unless I get rid of one of the smart car sized candy bags). I feel like everyone is watching/recording/ me. My cane is under my arm, one 55 gallon drum bag of candy held like a baby in my left arm. My purse is hung over my head, hitting me in the gut with every wobbly step. My right hand is clinging (minus 3 fingernails, hey who needs that extra weight anyway?) to the other bag which is now skimming the ground. Hefty, hefty, hefty (me and my 2 bags). This should be titled, The Longest Walk. My Jeep looks like a tiny dot on the horizon. Actually it was the third car (no I don’t have a handicap sticker) in the row just to the left of where I was standing. (And cursing my decision to make that one extra stop or try and buy those damn kids any stinking candy).
Please God let me make it to my car, please God let me make it to my car (sung to the tune of, Shall we gather at the river)? I can’t remember ever being so happy to heave my heavy burden in the Jeep. If you see a YouTube video gone viral (just my luck) of a good sized granny with enough candy to feed a third world country for a week, limping along without her cane, which is going un-used but not un-noticed, please show some empathy and compassion. She’s trying valiantly but not getting very far…