2019: A lot of something

This year was a lot of something.

On January 2nd, I stumbled getting off our sailboat. As I was going down, I thought I’m going to have a hell of a bruise. And then I heard the bones break in my ankle.

I started screaming because of the pain. I don’t really remember the pain but I can feel the memory of it in my bones.

My husband didn’t hurry up from inside the boat because he thought I dropped something in the water. This is fair because basically one gives the same level of scream when one drops a phone in the water.

I glanced up and saw a marina person muttering into his radio. Good! Help was coming. Back to screaming in pain. My husband appeared and muttered, “Oh my god.” I decided to take a peak at my foot. It was completely sideways. I almost vomited and the pain was so intense that I dug my nails into the cement of the dock.

Time blurred and, suddenly, I was surrounded by firemen. Big, lovely, sweet firemen. The paramedic gave me something strong for the pain – fentanyl. Boy, that stuff worked fast. What foot? I kept thinking I hadn’t even brushed my hair yet and I hope I didn’t vomit in front of them. Really.

At the hospital, I’m given morphine. I have a trimalleolar fracture with an interior dislocation and all the cartilage has shattered. Basically, all the bones in the ankle were broken and my foot was shoved sideways.  They can’t set the foot. They need to operate and, high on morphine, I make a decision. Do it. My husband wants to talk to other doctors but I don’t want to lose my foot by waiting.

They put pins and plates to put my bones together. They remove the shattered cartilage and drill holes in my bones so that scar tissue will form and act as lubrication which is what the cartilage used to do.

I spend three days in the hospital. The meds give me constant and violent migraines. I don’t eat for three days and throw up stomach bile. They want me to go to a rehab place but I’ve seen those places and I refuse.

My husband finds a hotel with a wheelchair accessible shower which somehow is really difficult. Many hotels claim they are handicap accessible but are not wheelchair accessible. I am obsessed with getting clean because it’s been four days since I showered. We stay there a week which I frankly don’t remember because pain meds! We went to my brother-in-law’s apartment in LA as he was out of town for week and back to another hotel in San Diego for my checkup. I finally decide since all I do is lie on the couch — I can do that at home.

I need to explain. We have lived on a 50-foot sailing ketch for twenty years. To get on the boat, one has to step on the side deck, then step over a high cockpit coming and into the cockpit. To get inside the boat, there are six steep steps into the interior. Luckily, there are handholds everywhere because she’s a bluewater boat and handholds are key in rough water.

Our home out at Catalina Island in 2018

I am wheeled up to the boat and I pull myself on the side deck, backwards on my butt, while keeping my injured leg in the air. I drag myself into the cockpit. Getting down the stairs, I slide down on my butt and my husband catches me.

I collapse on my couch and basically live there until March. Okay, I can leave by reversing how I got on the boat but it’s so exhausting. I can’t sleep in our bed because it’s too tricky to get in and out with the cast. The foot swells and turns purple if I don’t keep it elevated above my heart. After a few weeks, I get a knee scooter because crutches are brutally hard. I gain a lot of weight because lying on the couch for months will do that.

A fellow swimmer brought me a jar of pool water when I came home from the hospital.

By April, I can walk with cane. Pain is constant. It’s tough to be positive. I get to the pool for my master’s swim team and I almost cry in relief. I can swim if I don’t kick my foot (that hurts still). I have swum with athletes with limb deficiency so I know it’s possible to swim hard. It saves my brain. I can’t swim the full hour but I work hard and improve slowly.

I’m able to abandon the cane by the end of July but I still have pain. I swim and I work on walking. It’s tough and depressing. I develop hip tendonitis because of my limp. I go back to PT in December and improve rapidly. They pinpoint the weak areas – my legs and my butt. I join a gym and do my exercises. It’s hard. But I can walk now without a limp. I actually practiced hopping the other day. I can hop!

This year was not the best. BUT there were many good things! I released a book (somehow!) and worked on three other stories. My husband and I created a free book tracking app for the genre reader. It’s called madReader (available now on iTunes!). I visited my sister and used wheelchairs in the airports. I am still in awe of the tiny woman who pushed my wheelchair a mile at the transfer in Detroit. My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in Hawaii. Me with a cane on the beach! It was funny and hard because sand is not stable. He rented a condo right on the beach so all I had to do is get to the elevator and boom—collapse in a beach chair.

Reading while recovering.

My husband cooked, cleaned and did laundry for four months. He was amazing. Anything I wanted, he got. Tea, that book over there, I wanted chicken soup or whatever. He did it. Rockstar nurse.

Anyway, so I punted on blogging because something had to go. I read 140 books. Yeah. I spent WAY too much time on Twitter but I spent less time on Facebook.

This year. Done with it.

Follow @madreaderapp on Twitter. We recommend books on there all the time.

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