If it’s been two months since Iris’s birth, then it’s been slightly over two months since Carl’s accident. One accident, two surgeries, five days in the hospital, and endless hours of physical therapy.
The accident happened February 25th, and the latest word from the therapy team is that he’ll probably be able to walk in late July or August. I’m glad I didn’t know at the time that it would be that long before he’d be up and around, but it does seem to be about on track with his progress so far.
Now that his incision sites have all closed and he’s in a removable walking boot, Carl goes to therapy three times a week where they work on the range of motion in his ankle and rebuilding all the muscle he lost from being immobilized for six weeks. When he stepped on the scale a couple of weeks back we discovered he’d lost about twenty-five pounds. His collar bones are so pronounced he jokes about using the hollows behind them for juice cups. I insensitively refer to his right leg—now a good 25% smaller than the left—as his Auschwitz leg.
But life edges closer to normal. At first he couldn’t even go up the stairs. He took sponge baths in the living room and survived from one pain pill to the next. Now he takes showers by himself, and we sleep in the bedroom. He hasn’t been on meds for weeks. We eat out. The other day he went into the kitchen and made himself a sandwich (more complicated than you’d think on crutches).
He has two weeks of regular therapy left and then it sounds like he’ll graduate to water therapy where he can start doing small amounts of weight bearing on his ankle again. From there it’s a slow build until he can put his full weight on it. In another six months, he might be able to jog again. Next summer we’ll play tennis.
This last one is actually ok with me. I’ve got some work to do myself before I want to be dashing around a tennis court.
Mostly, it’s just been hard.
It’s hard to go from being athletic and independent to sitting on the couch all day, needing help for even simple tasks. It sucked to be sidelined right when he was all set to be the one taking care of me and our brand new baby. He got robbed as much as I did. We have never had the whose-life-sucks-more debate because when we’re honest it’s obvious just how rough it’s been for both of us.
I don’t believe there was any grand design behind Carl’s accident, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t learned things about ourselves and about each other through it. We’ve learned a lot about appreciating the small stuff and being grateful for each other’s grit. And I would totally be lying if I didn’t admit that the writerly side of me is loving (and hoarding) all this new material.
It is what it is, and it’s getting better all the time.
Which is not only your East-meets-West philosophical soundbite of the day; it’s my closing thought.
Happy Wednesday, everybody.