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My broken ankle blues

BROKEN ANKLE

Blh Photography | CC BY 2.0

Russell E. Saltzman - published on 11/18/17

Apparently depression is a normal side effect of breaking one's bones. And there are no ragtime songs to sing about it.

Evidently, fractured-bone induced depression is a real thing. I found this out googling broken ankles, specifically my broken ankle.

Other broken bits may also result in depression – legs, elbows, knee caps and the like. Really, any old bone will do so long as it reduces mobility and inhibits what heretofore was surely described as a jaunty walking pace carried with a gliding, graceful savoir faire.

Nobody watching now would say that.

I can just make it up to my study, 18 steps (oh, sorry, only 14; seems like 18; seems like a mile). I use a cane with my leg encased inside a clunky air cast weighing about six pounds and, because the sole is curved a bit, it makes me totter. This produces anxiety, which fits since anxiety is a by-product of broken-bone depression.

Speaking of depressions, the outlines of my frantic white-knuckle grip along the banister rail are likely permanent.

And here’s the cherry on top. Because I am a Type 1 diabetic I can reasonably expect it will take two to four times longer for my ankle to mend than required for a non-diabetic. Six weeks the first doctor told me, and that is what one may normally expect in a simple fracture such as mine. But he didn’t know diabetes from clay pigeons. My primary doctor, when I got in to see him, gave me the bad news: eight weeks minimum, more like 12, but don’t be surprised if subsequent x-rays suggest 16 weeks.

The doctor did tell me, at my five-week exam, that I could remove the cast for brief periods in order to drive “as absolutely necessary.” He only said that because I was pestering him. The doctor did not tell me that using a broken foot to push the accelerator or brake would produce wincing pain spasms.

There’s got to be something to cheer me up a bit, I was thinking, so I googled “broken ankle songs.” I was looking for a kind of ragtime spoofy bluesy thing. Nothing out there, but I did find a YouTube skateboarder blocking a church entrance. He was using the handrails for stunts. He fell and clearly turned his ankle to mush. Watching that was outlandishly cheering, even as I said a little prayer for him.

I still say mine hurt worse.

I have had friends, too many to note, who have said they are praying for my early, speedy recovery. I’m grateful and I know what they mean, but I am pretty sure these things, over all, heal due to factors that do not involve extraordinary divine intervention beyond God’s original bone-regenerating design.

I have looked up prayers for healing but, honest, they seem contrived, sonorous, triumphalistic. They fit more with the “prosperity Gospel” than they do with the cross; more the “Expect a Miracle!” sort than the “I waited patiently for the Lord” kind.

Mine goes more like Isaiah ― those “who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.” (40:31)

The Christian faith is mostly waiting. How many generations arose and fell as Israel awaited the Messiah? How many days walking did Mary and Joseph endure, trekking from Nazareth to Bethlehem? How tedious were the hours as Christ hung dying? How many days waiting before the Holy Spirit blew the disciples out of Jerusalem to preach the Gospel? It’s a waiting game, Christianity.

The psalmist has it, finally: “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” (Ps 31:24)

Meanwhile, the deacon at church is calling me Hopalong, and I don’t mind at all. At least I’m hopping.

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