On Sunday afternoon, had you chanced to call by our house, you would have found me, if not sitting down, doing something like a hop-shuffle.
I was not practising tap dancing. Far from it. No, I had been oddly clumsy, about an hour before we had lunch...
But first, I should backtrack some more, to Monday last week. We were on our way to play a Settlers game with our friends, walking our usual route after dark when, to quote Dr Seuss in one of my favourite children's books, 'I stubbed my big toe on a very hard rock, and I flew through the air and I went for a sail...'*
The rock was actually a large stone thing near the edge of the pavement, supposedly to prevent cars from parking there, and it was totally in shadow as we walked... because there was a car parked right beside it. I was chatting with Richard... and suddenly I was flat on my face. It was extremely painful, and I could feel blood beneath my chin. My right knee was hurting too. So I hobbled the last few yards to our friends' home, where I bathed my chin and knee (which was bleeding, although, oddly enough, my jeans had not sprung a hole) and put some arnica cream on the places where I felt bruised but not bleeding.
I felt somewhat in shock, and it was painful to talk (worse to smile or laugh) but I managed to play a game and then walk home, and by the following morning felt mostly fine. My jaw was a little achey and my knee had a big scab, but otherwise I seemed none the worse for my experience.
Fast forward to Sunday, when I'd almost forgotten about the indignity of falling over. I was wearing flip-flops, as I usually do around the house in warmish weather, and was about to pop upstairs for something. I think my right flip-flop must have somehow flop-flipped underneath me, so instead of stepping onto the first (marble) step, my toes hit it, and I tripped and fell. I caught myself on some of the higher steps, but somehow bashed the top of my foot extremely hard.
It was very, very painful. I could not put my foot down, at first. To get anywhere at all, even to a chair, I had to hop. Richard fetched me a bag of ice so I could hold it against my foot, raised on a beanbag, to try and ease the pain somewhat. And yes, the first sharp pangs did ease a little; after lunch I took some aspirin in the hope of both reducing the swelling and the pain.
Despite - or perhaps because of - having grown up around medics, I tend to avoid doctors or hospitals whenever possible. I didn't think I had broken anything, and when I asked knowledgeable friends on Facebook, they all seemed to agree that even if an x-ray showed that I had cracked a bone in a toe, nothing would be done other than strapping it to the next one, and telling me to rest.
Hopping wasn't really helpful because every time I hopped, my right toes and foot jarred badly, and I was worried about overbalancing. So I came up with the idea of encasing my foot in a lengthy roll of bubble wrap:
I found that, with this soft pad, I could put my foot gingerly down and shuffle around the house, at least on the level. I didn't attempt much, but it was better than being unable to visit the bathroom or get a drink of water. In order to go upstairs to bed in the evening I had to sit down on the stairs and reverse up, which wasn't easy, but it worked.
I went downstairs the same way on Monday morning, and was pleased to find that, with the bubble wrap, I could now hobble around without too much pain. We didn't have any surgical tape, but masking tape worked well to tape my right toes together, to stop them jarring as I hobbled. Two of my toes looked very bruised, as did about half of the top of my foot, but most of the time there was almost no pain, for which I was very thankful. I remembered to elevate the foot as much as possible, too, and found I could even sit at my desk and type with my foot up:
In the evening, we had been invited out to supper with our friends Mark and Joan. I'd let Joan know what I'd done, and they did offer to bring the meal to us here... but I was feeling somewhat cabin-feverish and said I would prefer to get out. I noticed that my foot was not as swollen as it was, and found that I could even fit a trainer on, with the laces very loose. So, clinging onto the banister, I hobbled down our outside stairs, and Richard drove me the half kilometre or so to our friends' apartment. Thankfully they have a good lift in their building, and not far to walk.
By bedtime, having made my way up two flights of stairs, my foot was aching once more, but I was glad to have been able to get out.
On Tuesday morning I felt so much better that I wore my flip-flops, and progressed to limping around the house. I hadn't cleaned the floors for several days, and they were looking pretty bad, so I swept and mopped the entire main level.. .it wasn't until I had nearly finished that my foot began aching again. Perhaps I over-did it. I took it easy for the rest of the day, and hoped that by Wednesday it would be significantly better once more - and was then disappointed that I was still limping and didn't feel much improvement at all.
This morning I was pleased to find that I have progressed further, to the stage of walking awkwardly rather than limping. At least, that's how it feels to me. I suppose the healing process is likely to be slow, now that the worst is over... and I'm just hoping that clumsiness and falls are not going to be a regular feature of my advance through middle age.
As I said on Facebook, I hope that I will never again take for granted the ability to walk without pain.
* from: I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew