My fears were not misplaced. I have a stress fracture in my right foot. Undoubtedly, the condition is the direct result of countless hours on my feet, providing caregiving service during Jim’s final months. It’s time to pay another price for the cancer that took his life.
I’ve been ordered stay off my feet as much as possible and wear an orthotic boot for many weeks until the bone heals. And I’m told that I cannot use anti-inflammatory arthritis medicine for the duration. The boot is huge and looks like galactic war apparel for a 7-foot storm trooper. And due to its design, I am having difficulty walking with it strapped on. Forget about driving with it. I am only capable of safely driving with a regular shoe on, so driving will have to be restricted. I plan to use a walker to help get around the house.
Visits to the new church will be postponed. I already called the church office and told them that my official membership swearing in process will have to wait for a couple of months. Forget about the long drives to grief support meetings. Get together with new widow friends I’ve been making? Nope. I’ll try to get by with less frequent trips to the grocery store. (A local pizza delivery place may need to be assigned a speed dial number.) The car needs some maintenance, but that will have to wait until later. Newly seeded areas in the lawn, due to the late irrigation system installation last year, will no longer be hand-watered. It's too early in the season to turn on the system to make the job easy. If I have a multitude of dead patches in the lawn this summer, I don’t give a rip anymore. There are a string of things now being crossed off of my busy to-do list because I simply can’t do them.
How will I manage taking Angel out for her constitutional walks multiple times a day and safely navigate down two steps off the front porch? Beats me. I just tried it a little while ago and the steps were pretty difficult. I wobbled. Angel will just have to be more patient and use potty pads if I can’t rush fast enough to her liking. Clearly, getting a dog was a stupid idea because I’m going to have a difficult enough job taking care of myself in my isolated life.
I was going to plant some annual flowers along the front walkway in late April. Not anymore. (Good thing I moved a bunch of liriope clumps last weekend, shoveling with my hurt foot.) I have a dependable housekeeper who comes to clean every two weeks, and that will have to suffice for cleaning activities. Lawn mowing service is provided because I dutifully pay my subdivision’s villa dues. Any household maintenance will have to slide. If emergencies come up, I’ll hire the work done.
As demonstrated through Jim’s extended illness, I have a very skimpy support network. People I know just go about their own lives. Whatever. I’m not going to beg. I must soldier onward. Please pray that I don’t teeter and fall, hurting something else in the process.
The April photo workshop trip to the Smokies (3 weeks away) now seems like it is a laughable idea. The doctor will check me out in two weeks and then proclaim whether I can go on the trip or not. I told her that I would not wear an orthotic boot while walking over rough terrain, since I can barely walk on a plain, flat floor. The Wyoming trip is in serious jeopardy, but I informed the doctor that I WILL go on that trip no matter what. I had to cancel two trips to Wyoming due to Jim’s cancer, and I am not going to cancel again. End of story.
The bone that is fractured is notorious for slow and difficult healing. If boot mobilization doesn’t work, then I will be ordered to use crutches and keep all weight off of my foot for several months. Surgery is also a possibility later on. I will simply have to face whatever comes down the road for me. This won’t be the last time that I will have to fend for myself with an aging body that is uncooperative.
If you have people in your life who love you and are there to take care of you, please count your blessings, my friends. You are rich beyond your wildest dreams.