By Joanna Bastian
I used to think that the ankle was rather a useless appendage when it came to the activity of writing. Actually — correction — I did not think that at all. I did not correlate a body part at the end of my leg to the activity principally performed by the phalanges above my wrist. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I have learned otherwise. Writing without the use of an ankle is a challenge of epic proportions.
Long story short: While backpacking I took a tumble and thought I had a terrible sprain. Over a year later, my ankle still felt as though it had been smashed by a hammer and at night it flopped halfheartedly to the side. An MRI showed a broken talus, severed ligaments, and one gigantic bone spur growing from the chipped bone. You would think this would bother me, but I was rather overjoyed with the diagnosis because it was something tangible and fixable, not “age-related” as one not-very-astute-professional opined. Lesson learned. If it hurts, go get it checked out. And if anyone tells you it hurts because you are “over 35”… punch them in the throat and get a second opinion.
I had high hopes for this week’s column, and next week’s. A very generous person gave me an interesting piece of written history to share, and I am looking forward to interviewing a few more people to bring the story to full circle.
But, alas, I am trapped on my couch, with my toes above my nose for the moment. Interviews over email and phone are not the same as in person, on site. The exciting columns will have to wait until this ankle can carry her share of the writing, i.e., driving and walking.
When one part of the body needs a timeout, the rest of the body does a fairly decent job of compensating, but it helps to have a few skills. In yoga classes an instructor will lead everyone in a series of one-legged sequences, moving from a prone position on the floor into a very stable upright balance on one leg. I always thought these one-legged balance flows were the same as calculus. Nice to know, and fun to do, but I did not imagine myself using this skill in real life.
Little did I imagine that all those one-legged sequences would be put to good use one day. Thank you to all the yoga instructors I have learned from. Yes, even the guy with the didgeridoo who kept whispering, “You’re all STARFISHhhhhhhhh.”
Calculus also can be applied to my current situation, as the whole ankle-getting-worse-over-time
Oh, I should also use this moment to make an apology. The hospital staff really should take cell phones away prior to surgery. Apparently I answered the phone while still heavily sedated. I do not recall those conversations, but evidence strongly suggests that I had a few chitchats on the phone. To anyone I may have called or answered the phone, if I said something like, you are super-hot and I love you and we are best friends forever … I thought you were Robert Downey Jr. and we should just forget the whole thing ever happened.