Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Under Better Circumstances - Dec 19
We had a wonderful visit with Blase last weekend! Blase and his climbing partner were the first ones who arrived on the scene of my accident after my cousin Jason called for help. Blase also wrote a moving message and account of the rescue (in this blog - "Blase's Message - Sep 2"). It was great to connect with Blase under better circumstances!
Melissa and I had a chance to hear about Blase's work studying Montana's glaciers, his play on rock and snow in the West and stories about important people in his life. Blase and I circumambulated the great Peter's Hill - a towering monolith standing at least 200 feet high and providing a commanding view of downtown Boston. We ate scrumptious thin crust pizza at the local eatery and gabbed into the late evening.
Besides getting to make Blase's acquaintance for the second time, it was instructive and healing to reflect on the accident and rescue and to create a composite picture of what took place. Hearing his perspective helped me to understand how others reacted to the accident. I felt moved to hear that a whole crew of Park Service firefighters had scrambled up - ready to help but possessed of no technical rescue know-how. I stood in others' shoes when Blase depicted the team of 17 rescuers, drenched in sweat and out of water, straining to carry me safely and quickly.
It didn't hurt to hear Blase's perspective on my leg, either. As he noted, it sure looks a lot better than the last time he saw it. Though the rescuers worked diligently, the prospects for my foot had seemed somewhat dim with an eight-hour carry. He was pleased to see that I kept the foot, let alone that I am able to get around smoothly with crutches. The skin on my heal has been out of the woods for a couple of months, and my range of motion and strength returns slowly but surely.
This last point brings me to the aftermath of getting unscrewed. Curiously, the screw removal has left me with an interesting bit of pain at the fracture site that occurs intermittently with weight bearing. With any luck, this pain means that the bones have a little more play which should stimulate bone growth. I also have more flexibility in my ankle - still very limited. This increase in flexibility means that I can try to work my muscles back to life. I am amazingly weak - my right thigh can hardly handle a single-leg squat of even 6 inches! However, through some weight lifting and the contortions concocted by my physical therapist, I hope that this will improve quickly. I am cleared to swim as well, since the stitches were removed today.
Here is the news on the bone front. The orthopedist didn't schedule another visit until April! He said that we wouldn't see much bone growth before that, but we ought to see signs four months out from taking the screws out. He also said that the more important sign is how I progress. If I am able to return to more normal activity and don't feel any pain with weight-bearing, twisting or higher impact movements, that would be a better sign of recovery than an inconclusive x-ray in April.
All this is to say that I am well within a "normal" timeframe and that full recovery is going to take a long time. I continue to be patient and to have a fantastic attitude (except when I don't). In order to stay on the bright side, my latest response to "how are you?" is that I'm doing great considering that my leg almost got hacked off last summer. For the moment, my mantra is "grateful for my life, grateful for this trial."