Oh, what a vacation it was! And the strides (literally) I've made in the past two weeks!
The flight was AWFUL, and I even began to worry that I had made a terrible mistake by trying to vacation with the broken leg. Looking back, I believe that my depression was due to medication + a little alcohol + being wrung out by the long flight + not getting my butt out of the seat. The return flight was much easier.
I've now been through security four times. In general they patted me down, put me in a chair, waved their magic wands, made me remove the cast, and let me go on my way. But ONE episode was so terrible as to make us report it to JFK's American Airlines security department. They took the crutches, pointed to the metal detector and told me to go through WITHOUT the crutches, WITHOUT a chair, and WITHOUT assistance. I was told simply, "Hop." My husband was furious, but we were absolutely unable to get through their stupidity. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Insist on a chair! They have NO RIGHT to endanger your recovery.
That being said, the trip was a delight, and I made enormous progress while there. I learned to climb stairs bipedally at Glenlohane, where the stairs are shallow and wide, and at Temple House I learned to take the crutches just by the grips, not putting them under my armpits, and climb stairs that way. I'm still very very cautious going down, though.
I made my way through a farmer's muddy field on a mountain side, over a wooden stile, over a reasonably broad creek, to a stone circle on the Beara Peninsula (wowing all the other tourists who saw me perform this particular stupid crutch trick) and then of course had to repeat the entire episode backward. I felt like I had conquered the world! That set the mood for other stupid crutch tricks of course.
A week after that I was ambling around another estate, came to a cattle guard (I was alone, or my husband WOULD have stopped this), and looked at it as a personal challenge. Heck. The COWS are smart enough to stay off these things. I'm obviously more stubborn than a cow. This is the ultimate Stupid Crutch Trick. For those of you who have never seen a cattle guard, it is a rack of pipes set into the roadway to allow a car to pass over, but the cows, sheep, donkeys look at the gaps between the pipes, and the shaky, rolly pipes themselves, and decide to stay on THIS side and not cross. I braced one crutch on a metal strip, took a BIG stride, and put my good foot on one of the pipes so that the heel was on one side of the pipe and the ball of my foot on the other, then realized that there was no safe place to put the other crutch, no safe place to put the casted foot, and no way to back out. I finally sank the crutch into the space between, whispered a prayer, and swung further over, then quickly got to the far side. I would have felt VERY proud, but realized later (when I was about to send Husband to get the car to retrieve me) that there was a nice simple PLANK FENCE that I could easily crawl through. That would also have made me feel good, except that after crawling through the fence with no risk to life, limb or dignity, that there was A GATE only 30 feet further down the fence. For all this I deserve the DUMB MBLer AWARD.
Lessons of that day: 1) you may have gotten good, but you still need to look at a situation and avoid risks. 2) If there isn't a perfectly safe way. . .DON'T GET COCKY. There are many other bones in your body that can get broken by being stupid, careless, reckless, etc.
People in Ireland are extraordinarily helpful and polite. This was most apparent in very, very crowded pubs, when a clear path mystically opened before me as soon as I got to my 'feet', the doors that were held open, the pint glasses that were ferried before me, the kindly comments, sincere wishes for recuperation, and admiring remarks about my determination, grace under not-great circumstances, etc.
I climbed castle stairs, gingerly crossed The Burren (phenomenal moonscape of terrain that eats crutches whole) and managed to stay upright on slick, wet tiled floors. One man, a hands on healer, treated my leg twice (any chance to have someone hold, rub, massage, touch the leg feels decadently good, and though I'm not a proponent of psychic healing, I would NOT refuse the kindly gesture), and for all I know, that's why I feel so wonderful now!. Since returning three days ago I can do 100% weight bearing briefly, and hobble about 5 steps without crutches (but still in the cast) get around 90% of the time with 1 crutch (I CAN CARRY THINGS AGAIN!!!!!) and feel as if a full recovery is just around the next bend.
I have slept one night without the cast just because I laid back and fell asleep. I don't think there was any damage done, but until the OS approves, I won't do that again. Everything is just seeming easier and easier. I'm not nearly as exhausted at the end of the day, the shooting pains are a thing of the past, I haven't had pain killers in over two weeks. This is what the road to recover SHOULD be like!
For a few photos (one of me on crutches on the Burren (the green spaces at my feet are 1-3' crevasses in the rock!) please visit http://www.picturetrails.com/gallery/view?p=999&gid=867033&uid=574728
Here's my wish to all of you who are reading this that your path is as hopeful and encouraging as mine is. Next step....OS visit number 3. See you then!