Essays

Break a Leg

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“Break a leg” is a theater phrase. Research shows varied meanings, including numerous curtain calls or a superstition against good luck.

Here in Carpenter Country, we weren’t taking curtain calls when we recently broke an ankle. And we know compared with other injuries and illnesses a broken bone is nothing. But the experience, while low priority (and not very lucky) has been enlightening.

The first lesson learned was that the ol’ homestead lacks the equipment necessary to make life easier for a physically challenged person. There are no handrails in the shower. Sinks are too high and toilets too low. Ramps for access or doors wide enough to admit a wheelchair are nonexistent. Steps make crutches awkward to use.

On top of that, doing anything with just one leg to stand on takes forever. For instance, wrestling into shorts or slacks is almost impossible. Fashion immediately lost out to the practicality of wearing long muscle shirts that fit like a dress.

Amid all this chaos is a bright side. Thankfully, there’s a wonderful housemate who does his all to provide loving care. And hopping around on one foot is growing easier. For faster travel, a wheeled desk chair and a relative’s walker have been pressed into service. Next will be a walking cast.

Best of all, the doc promises that a fully mended bone–and restored mobility–are only a few weeks away.

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