The title of this piece is Dark Day. And it was going to be an exploration of darkness. The midnight purples and blues, big heavy mountains and vast empty sky. It was my day. At first. Except I am skipping ahead to the ending before the beginning.
Days since injury: 7 Days in splint: 7 Days in cast: 1 Doctor visits: 3 Tests so far: X-ray, MRI (ordered) Prognosis: bad. Very bad.
I don't know why, but I was weirdly optimistic this morning. I had my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. I got to know him with my hip acting up earlier this spring. He's a nice, informed doctor. He is patient. He listens to me. I was hoping that my foot would go into a cast for a few weeks, but that I could put weight on it soon and get more independent again.
He unwrapped the layers of bandage and cut off the padding. And it looked worse than my worst expectations. Swollen and bruised. And his demeanor changed. He got frustrated with the temporary splint. He seemed concerned. At first he thought I may have strained ligaments on both sides of my ankle. As he did the touch-response questions, though, he had more questions than answers. "And it hurts here, right?" as he pressed the inside bones of my ankle.
I shook my head. We narrowed the worst pain above the ankle joint, with numbness below where it's significantly swollen. "We need MRIs," he said. At first, he was confident that I wouldn't need surgery. Then he said, "Even if I wanted to do surgery, I couldn't. Not with the ankle scraped up like this."
Then the worst part of my day was when he had to recast my ankle. And he refused to let me have my relaxed pointed toe, so he stretched my foot. Excruciating ankle-pain with a week of tight tendons and it was miserable. I am glad that he is taking the time to cast it well. And that he recognizes my unique challenges. He also recognizes that I will probably need to see a foot specialist in Sacramento. His initial confidence quickly became concerns. He is seeing me again on Monday. We stretched the foot as far as it was willing, but it's not far enough. And my elevating the foot on pillows did not elevate it enough.
I shared concerns about circulation and CMT. In the winter, I get freezing toes. My neurologist has had concerns in the past. So when I see this major swelling, I worry about the role of CMT in my healing. Again.
So I am keeping my foot way, way up on a mountain of pillows while I slouch to get it above my heart. I am on the island, with even less freedom than before. We do have the wheelchair so we did go out for a little while. Because, needless to say, this news and the pain dumped me into a deep dark hole.
My dark day. No end in sight. I worry if I will be able to work in a few weeks. If I can drive Anika to school. If it will ever get better. I cried a lot today. One misstep. And countless changes. And Anika is getting tired of bringing me drinks or helping with Ian. The novelty is wearing off. I feel like a burden. Worry. Pain. Uncertainty.
A terrible combination. Even this beautiful sky barely affected my melancholy.
I have to get so tired before I can fall asleep with the foot on pillows and through the pain. So I opened Brushes on my iPad. Maybe some art would help. That is where I was as I made the first mountains on Dark Day.
Then Ian saw what I was doing (summer bedtime). He leaned over and said, "Orange.". I sighed. Okay. Orange.
The sun. Over the mountains, bright and full and messy. And he kept going with sunshine. I added trees and blue sky. And remembered how much I love drawing. Virtual painting. Colors and shapes and movement. I am not a trained artist (at least not past my 12 years of first grade art classes :)). I don't care. I love art. Making, creating, being art.
As one door closes, or at least jams shut for awhile, other windows open. If I were not confined to this island, I would have a hundred other tasks filling my day. So I will try not to get mired in the fears. Healing is such hard work.
Yet this also holds a mirror up to my life. I knew, in an abstract way, that I walked a tightrope and had the potential for an accident like this at anytime. I knew I could have a disaster at any moment, on any day. And yet I lived as though it wouldn't happen. Ever. I can be mad and fussy. Or kind and helpful to myself.
The sunshine. I am so glad that Ian drew sunshine all over my Dark Day. He turned the energy of the painting from melancholy to joy. Landscapes are shadows and sunshine. Dark and light. I will try to hold the balance.
One day at a time. One struggle. One smile.