Anesthesia: the aftermath
My Achilles rupture happened just a couple of weeks before bow season opened in Arkansas. Back in those days, I was as fanatical about archery as I am about motorcycles today; I had spent months that summer scouting and preparing a spot in the woods a few miles from the Casa. Then bang, so to speak, the sound of a snapping tendon brought that to an end.
Not so fast, weedhopper; what if, instead of a tree stand, I hunted from a ground blind? I could drive the four-wheeler most of the way, crutch my way into the woods with my bow across my back, then spend the day in the woods inside the blind in a lawn chair, gimped-up leg propped up on an ice chest. The only barrier was a small, muddy creek I had to cross between the ATV and the blind; not a problem here. I would put a trash bag over my cast to ford the creek, and be in my hidey-hole long before daylight.
Daniel Boone just wishes he had my level of forethought is what I remember thinking at the time; I almost threw my shoulder out of socket patting myself on the back.
So the next morning, there I am, at the banks of that muddy little creek in the darkest hour before dawn. St Peter himself could not have ventured as confidently as I out onto those waters, and, just like old Pete, I began immediately to sink. My planning had not included the possibility that the creek bottom was deep, sucking mud; crutch-tip sucking mud, to be more specific. I soon found myself with two nearly useless aluminum armpit rests, their rounded metal tips only suitable for the flattest, hardest, most perfectly-angled resting places.
If you haven’t noticed, these types of places aren’t too common in the swampy bottomlands of Arkansas; I don’t remember how I got the rest of the way to the blind or even back to the ATV later that day, but I obviously did. When I made my way back to the Casa, I had to explain how I would need to replace not one but two crutch tips; I don’t remember my narrative being very PG-13.
This is when mom got one of her “ideas”. She snuck to the hardware store and returned with two toilet plungers and a pair of stainless steel hose clamps. Her idea was to clamp the plunger heads to the crutches using the clamps, and voila! all terrain crutches!.
As she assembled the frankencrutches, I watched dubiously from my dunce stool at the kitchen table. But when she finished and I rose and placed them under armpits already damp with apprehension, I remember thinking; “you know what? This just might work!” Little did I know that my new-found faith would very soon cause me to be faith-planted.
They say that faith can move mountains, but one thing that I would be willing to bet big money that it can’t move is a pair of toilet plungers affixed to a linoleum floor by suction. My forward momentum caused me to teeter above the abyss for at least two lifetimes until Lady Gravity exerted her iron will, reaching up and snatching me to her cold, unforgiving bosom…
Next: how my decision to evolve from crutches to a walker almost caused me to get my butt whupped at the Wal Marks.