Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Daily Crutch

On Wednesday I had my second plaster cast removed. The infection from the last time is gone but the incision is still not quite healed. So, yet again, we wait to start physical therapy. The doc says not to worry because the important thing is that I keep the tendon flexible, or else the lengthening will have been for naught, and I can do those exercises on my own. The PT is for getting strength back, and we can catch up in that way at any time. So for now my orders are more elevating, less walking and more Aircast. But the good news is that he cleared me for driving. Hooray, I thought! Yeah, as it turns out, not so much.

Bright and early on Thursday morning I said to Cameron, "Where do you want to go today? We are footloose and fancy free and mobile again." We decided we would start off heading to the vet because my cat had run out of her pills and had gone quite a few days without them. Then, since we were out in that area we would stop by a favorite farm-stand type store, and then finish the day off by stopping at our neighborhood spray park. Driving was going to require that I take off the Aircast. I brought along a clog to slip on because it wouldn't rub against my incision and that worked out well. The problem, it turns out, was that aforementioned "strength." Pulling out of the driveway wasn't too bad, it certainly felt different, and I admit to being a tad nervous. But I made my way down the street and up the ramp and onto the highway. This is when I discovered that pressing down on the accelerator with an atrophied leg can be a bit problematic. I couldn't get the car up over 45 mph. Other cars are whizzing by me, blowing horns, giving me That Look as they passed. That was scary, but I shifted my position on my seat and skooched a little closer and was able to get up to about 55 so I wasn't a total danger to myself and others. I merged onto the Mass Pike, which is a toll road, but I have the Fast Lane pass so I get over all the way to the right, not only to let faster cars get by but to get into the dedicated lane for the pass.

Now, to back up a little you should know that I was driving my '97 Ford Escort. This was the car that we unregistered and put in our garage when my son was born to save a little money. A few months ago we re-registered it and have been driving it instead of our other car because the Escort is only 4 cylinders and thus uses a little less gas. Plus, to my son it is "new" and he thinks it's a real treat to take the "green car." For some reason the Escort has lost it's little velcro tabs that hold the Fast Lane transponder on the windshield, so when we drive through a toll we need to dig out the transponder and hold it up behind the rear-view mirror in order for the whole transaction to go through. Oh, and driving through the Fast Lane without having a transponder results in a pretty hefty fine.

Can you guess what happened next? I'll bet you can! First I forgot I was supposed to hold the transponder up until I was just about under the point where it gets read, then I almost got rear-ended when I slammed on the brakes and started fumbling for it. Somehow I realized I was already past the point of no return and had to keep moving before I caused an accident, but the thoughts started flying through my head about how I had just ran the toll, and that our account doesn't even have the new license plate number listed. I was already pretty stressed out about the odd feelings in my right foot and after this happened I pretty much lost it. I started crying. Meanwhile my son, the chatterbox, is in the back.
"Mommy, when are we gonna get there where is the vet why does 'Pencer need pills does Jake need pills too when are we gonna get there." Then he noticed I was crying. "Mommy why are you crying why are we gonna get a ticket is the p'liceman gonna pull us over where is the p'lice car why will it come in the mail where is the p'liceman how does he know where we live." I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't focus on the road between my overwrought thoughts of breaking this news to my husband and Cam's voice.
"Cameron, PLEASE stop it, I need to CONCENTRATE. You need to be QUIET!"
Then, from the back I hear the tiniest voice say, "Maybe we should just turn around."

That was so perfect that I actually laughed out loud. He sounded like he had grown 30 years in those moments. He also sounded concerned for his crazy old mother. I felt terrible and apologized to my boy, and we continued on to the vet because we really did need those pills, but we scratched the other plans, and went straight home, turned on the a/c and treated ourselves to massive amounts of ice cream and Tom and Jerry cartoons. And when I told my husband he actually laughed at me. Any other time I'd be mad at being the butt of the joke but this time it was completely welcome.

All in all, the driving was not a good idea. I won't be doing that again for a while. I am going to keep up my home exercises for another week and then try again in on the 21st, when I need to take the cat back to the vet. I believe I will take the back roads this time. You know, just in case.

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