Independence Day

Carl rummages

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.

Good times.

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.

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4 thoughts on “Independence Day

  1. Love the photo. Totally made me grin.
    Am also completely shocked by his weight loss. I bet you guys can’t wait for the pool workout stage when active muscle building can come back into his life. So glad that walking is this soon on the horizon. I know it must seem slow to you but to me it sounds within grasp. I think part of my sense of time is at the moment is coming from the baby’s eminent arrival. Suddenly I feel like life is whizzing right by and summer seems like two days from now. Whew!

  2. You two really have gone through a very difficult time, and probably still are in it for a some more time. I liked your thoughts on how both of you got robbed. So true. And I like how positive you take everything. I so hope Carl’s recovery will continue as smoothly as it has been so far. do you have a swimming pool close to your house? How long until he will be able to drive?

  3. I have SO much empathy for you guys right now. When I broke my foot, it was in my dance heyday, and I totally had an identity crisis going from dancing and teaching dance nearly every day to living on the couch. And I just almost can’t even imagine what it would have been like going through my first labor and baby adjustment with a husband in overwhelming pain himself, unable to walk and help me. Grit is the right word for both of you.

    Also, this seems like the right time to admit that I used a picture of Carl’s Auschwitz leg from your mom’s blog as a homeschool visual aid while we were talking about muscle atrophy in science. It’s pretty crazy how our bodies just reabsorb themselves when we don’t use them.

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