The story has a story! Days since injury: 6 weeks Doctor visits: 6 Prognosis: Long recovery... But good Diagnosis: found!
Finally! I took a half day off work to drive with Giovanni to Sacramento to see a foot and ankle specialist. We drove through shady neighborhoods and waited for a train to pass by with raucous bells and clanking, painted train cars.
I was nervous. Scary nervous. I have never been to a specialist and heard good news. Usually, it's a new heavy story that I hold in my hands. Arthritis or surgery or new limitations. So I went into those offices with great apprehension. My emotions flared when the nurse noticed my cast (the one cut along both sides that I take off at night). "Oh," she said, "I will put you in the other room. In case he wants to put on a new cast."
New cast? No, no, no. I took deep breaths. We had the envelope of MRI images. I didn't want these answers. I wanted to get better, but I didn't want new questions, new decisions, new care plans.
He was very kind and curious about my high arches. Saying CMT didn't phase him at all. "You have the typical CMT foot," he said. And when I asked if he had many patients with CMT, he smiled and said a few, and they all have feet like this.
See, not so rare :). "I know I'm fancy," I said, "But that's actually not why I'm here. I sprained my ankle."
He nodded. He flipped through the many MRI images. Oh, first he flexed my foot. Ouch! He said that was actually good. There is a lot of support and the tendons are healing well. But there is a lot of swelling. He turned pages of MRI images. He found I have an extra bone in my foot. Curious. Apparently an extra bone isn't that unusual.
"This, though..." he paused. He pointed an image, to a a thin strip of white between two bones. "This is a bone contusion. White means fluid and you can see a lot around your ankle. To see it here, it means you bruised the bone."
And just like that, a memory flashed out of the darkness. My foot sinking into nothing, than jamming against the ground, slamming pain upwards with the force of landing. Then the roll, then the collapse. I said before I didn't remember the actual impact, and I still don't have all of the pieces. But that memory, that one is a sure thing. Of course the bones are angry.
Unfortunately, he said in some ways that a beak heals easier, since these bruises are very slow to heal. And painful (no surprise there). He referred me to physical therapy. But I get a walking boot. Yay! That should help with getting around and getting chores done. I feel like I may need to talk to my neurologist though. My wheelchair is a rental, and if this is long-term, I may need to investigate purchasing one. The doctor said that activity could prolong the injury. So I need to take it easy, not in the stay-at-home sense, but in the don't-walk-long-distances sense.
That's another's day, though. I teach tomorrow.
One more insight. The doctor said that CMT can cause greater injury when it comes to high impacts. He said that most people have a little spring, a little flex when they misstep. The CMT person, though, tends to jar with each step. Since the muscles are weaker, the foot is pushed towards the ground with more force. Add to that all of the weakness and sensory challenges, and a simple walk down the hall is a disaster movie in the making.
Once upon a time, these stories scared me. I became embarrassed for some reason, upset and anxious. Now, though, I feel proud. Why? I am proud that, with all of these challenges, all of these chances for disaster, most days I am fine. Most days I am a warrior.
So it was better news than I expected. I'm not excited about months of healing. But perhaps it will give me a reason to get a wheelchair for adventures, which I needed anyway. And you can trust that I will be paying close attention on every vacation.
I'm not home free. The road is long. At least I know why it hurts so bad, though. I don't feel so crazy. It is taking a long time, it hurts like crazy, because it is a big deal.
For now, a little peace. A little gentleness.
Peace is not all about happy endings. Sometimes, peace is about hope.