Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Tomorrow it will be three weeks since I broke my ankle, and on Thursday I will finally see my doctor (we ended up doing the whole "you broke your foot" thing via voicemail instead of in person) and find out just what got broken, and where, and how much longer will I have to wear the damn cast for.

Three weeks since I've been for a walk just for its own sake.  Three weeks since I've shaved my right leg (okay the cast is removable so that is TOTALLY a choice, but still). Three weeks since I last got behind the wheel of the car.   Three weeks since I've been a properly functioning member of my household.

Driving kids around has always been a major way in which I've contributed to running our family, especially evenings and weekends.  I'm pretty easygoing about it; I've given up consuming large quantities of wine on the weekend without giving it much thought - and I don't really mind planning a Saturday or Sunday afternoon around drop-offs or pick-ups.  But JTM likes to have a little more control over his schedule and, once he's home for the evening he likes to stay home.  And that's why I do more of the extracurricular driving.

Or I did, till I ended up in a cast.  So now the poor guy has to drive kids to band practice for 7:15 and then come back for the rest of us (at the other end of town) three mornings a week, and pick up as many people as are available for pick-up at the end of the school/work day.  Then take people to organized activities, pick people up from unorganized ones, and so on.  And that's just the weekdays.

It's all getting to be a bit much for us all as a family, to have to depend on just one person for all that, and it's compounded by the fact that I can't even travel independently; I need someone to take me to all my stuff too!

Apart from the way the cast decides to torture me throughout the night each night with its sweaty, clunky awkwardness, this being grounded business is the absolute worst part of having a broken ankle.  And it's affecting everyone.  I just want this to be over!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How I Broke my Ankle

Because I know people like a good accident/injury story (oh maybe that's just me) I'll share the details of my broken ankle and the recovery process with anyone Googling the keywords "broken ankle", "ankle fracture",  "how to avoid passing out or puking on a busy street at lunchtime" or "how to accessorize a hideous grey air cast".

I was out over the lunch hour a week ago last Wednesday, shopping hard for a few articles of clothing (see my las post for more scintillating shopping details).  I work downtown, right in the middle of everything, and just a few blocks away from the big downtown shopping mall.  I was on my way back to the office, totally proccupied with the purchase I'd made and was wandering mindlessly across the narrow roadway beside the mall and back up onto the sidewalk.

And I just put one foot down on a piece of uneven concrete, rolled my ankle hard, hearing/sensing a sort of popping-snapping sound as I went down - somehow face first- onto the sidewalk.  The pain was very nearly unbearable, but as a good Canadian, I would rather suffer total agony than make a big fuss and spectacle of myself in the downtown shopping and tourist district of my nice Canadian city.  So I accepted a hand up from a kind stranger, joked that clearly I should be headed back to work and not loitering on the street, and began the excruciating  process of attempting to walk.

I took about a dozen steps when I was nearly felled again by a wave of nausea and lightheadedneess, but by that time I was right in the middle of a busy intersection and had no choice but to keep moving forward - just kept telling myself that if I were an injured cavewoman I would have no choice but to get back to the village if I didn't want a cheetah to chase me down and lay me open.

So I did manage to get back to work, where my incredibly kind coworkers brought me ice packs and drinks of water and helped me get ready to go home.

I managed to get the shoe back onto my rapidly swelling foot, and hobbled down to the waiting car (Thanks JTM!).  When I got home, I just fell into bed with a couple of pillows under my foot, and a nice big ice pack, and pretty much passed out for the rest of the day and evening.

The next morning, surprisingly, I found that I was able to walk a bit without too much difficulty, although my foot was very swollen and bruised on the outside.  I decided to go into work for the day - but there was something about the way it looked and felt that made me wonder if it wasn't something more than just a sprain.

My family doctor couldn't see me that afternoon, so I left work early (thanks again for the ride, JTM!) and hit the neighborhood walk-in clinic.  The doc on duty poked and prodded it  little and, when I told him I felt pain under and behind my ankle bone, he sent me for an x-ray.  He said me that docs follow something called the "Ottawa Ankle Rules" to decide who needs an xray to check for a fracture.  Pain behind the ankle bone means "send for x-ray".

So we headed to the radiology place and I got my films done.  The radiologist had already left for the day so I needed to wait till morning for the results.

I went to work again the next morning and JTM called me at about 11 to tell me that both the walk-in and my family doc had called.  My regular doctor actually left a very detailed message explaining that there was a stable fracture, and that I should go to an orthotics place and get an aircast.  I should "weight-bear as tolerated" and use crutches for the first while if I felt I needed them.  Cast on for 3-4 weeks.  And that was it - okay it wasn't really all that detailed.  And his office was closed for the weekend by the time I'd absorbed all the info.

So I found the orthotics place and called them to see if they could get me in (Yes! Phew!), and JTM picked up up and drove me over mid-afternoon.  (You will notice a pattern here, of JTM driving me everywhere.  I don't want to give the plot away, but I'm sure you can see a pattern beginning to emerge...)

It's important to note here, that this is Canada, land of socialized medicine - where we generally get what we need, sometimes even when we need it - so it felt pretty damn weird to get the diagnosis via voicemail and then have to hand over $200 to get a cast for my broken ankle.  I'm sure if I'd gone to the emergency room, they'd have hooked me up no charge, no questions asked.  But live and learn- my extended benefits through work will cover most of it (although the insurance company did recommend that I submit an estimate first, by mail, that they could review and hopefully approve, again by mail - yeah, for a broken bone.  I'll take my chances and file the claim, thanks.)

I didn't do much over the weekend - the labour day long weekend, as it turned out, and the most beautiful weekend of the summer, sigh.  I tried, and then abandoned, crutches, preferring instead to shuffle along; not all that painful actually.  But the cast is beyond ugly and awkward as hell; it's so thick and reinforced on the bottom that it makes my cast leg over an inch longer than my good leg, so I look and feel pretty clumsy hobbling along - and my glutes are KILLING me.  And I can't drive - I have to be chauffeured EVERYWHERE because I can't manage the walk to the bus either (sorry JTM).  And everyone started school last Tuesday, so GAH!  It's been a very frustrating time for the whole family.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Frugalista (Quite Literally!) Catches a Break

I got this crazy idea in my head that I could go a whole year, or at least six months without purchasing a single article of clothing for myself.  Someone had posed the hypothetical question on a community message board I frequent, and a little more on-line digging found an entire legion of women prepared to engage in a similar experiment over at unclutterer.com.

Here's the thing: for years now I've been buying crappy clothes because we've been on a budget and I've been on a never-ending weight loss adventure.  So, apart from a few beautiful, classic items my mom insisted on buying for me, my wardrobe is composed mainly of sleazy junk sewn by children (I love kids, really I do, but  they're not exactly whizzes with the old Singer - thanks to Kelly Oxford for that observation).  And right now, about half of what I own is about two sizes too small.  And I didn't even wear most of it last year because I was too busy lying around in the same pilled fleece pants day after day, eating chips on the couch and crying over reruns of "A Baby Story".

Yes, I'm back to work now (yo - holla!) but the 30 pounds I managed to put on over the last 12 or so months has landed most of my clothes in a Rubbermaid tote in my closet.

I love clothes - I truly LOVE them. I come from a family where our memories of events are not so much focused on what we ate or who we saw, but what we were wearing.  Before I started considering this clothes shopping moratorium thing, I'd actually got a new blog set up where I was going to record, every day, what I wore and how I felt about it. Right down to the gonch.

But then I had a change of heart.  I thought about people who didn't give a shit about their clothes as long as they were clean, comfortable and relatively appropriate to the setting.  People who would rather stick pins in their eyes than shop for a new pair of anything.  Was I happier, or more well respected, more popular with the other kids because I spent so much more psychic energy on my appearance? Should I really spend money on new things when so many of my clothes had barely been worn?  Were there better things to focus my attention on (like losing the weight, just as one example)?  And did I have the self-discipline to just quit clothes shopping cold-turkey?

I decided to do it.  Starting September 1, I would not buy a single article of clothing for myself for six months.  Not even a pair of socks.

So about a week ago, I hauled out all my clothes, purged a few items (not many, honestly - I actually do this regularly already.  I don't really have a tonne of clothes compared to a lot of women; they're just not great quality and kinda tight...)  I determined that the only thing I really, really needed was a long-sleeved white top in a decent fabric with some interesting detail, that could go under anything.  That and this super-cute blouse that had little butterflies all over it that was working its way through the clearance process at my favourite not-so-cheap clothing store.

I headed out from the office at lunchtime last Wednesday to pick up the blouse (now marked down from $50 to $12.99!) and to begin my quest for the holy grail of white t-shirts.

Well I managed to get the blouse but had no luck on the t-shirt.  As it was already the last day of August I was thinking I might have to give myself a day or two extension.

And that was what I was contemplating (along with OMG! How cute were the little butterfly-imprints on the buttons of my new blouse?!) when I tripped on the sidewalk outside the mall, rolled over on my ankle, and hit the pavement.

The ankle is broken. The details of that event can be another story for another day, but right now I'm still deciding if the universe thought it was helping me by making it pretty near impossible to shop for at least a month, or taunting me by forcing me to make one more purchase: a hideous goes-with-absolutely-nothing $200 grey boot cast that that my insurance may or may not cover.

Thank you universe; I really like your...uh...style.