“You’re limping again,” he said (again). “YES! FULLY AWARE AGAIN OF THE FACT I’M LIMPING. DON’T MENTION IT ALL THE TIME!” (I don’t think he will for a while.)
I’ve had a gammy leg, as father would say, for over six months now. When you live on a ranch, things happen all the time. Gates bang against your leg, the 50-pound feedbag falls on your arm, the wire catches on your flesh. I’m a daily walking wounded ranch warrior, dripping with cuts, nicks and bruises. And I never pay attention to any of it.
Except that this time, I’m more wounded than before. My feisty mare reared in a freak way when the cow startled her (can’t make this stuff up). I had mindlessly tied her up so I could do brushing, hooves, etc. Her lead rope caught, she pulled the nailed corral board out, which proceeded to whack me in the back of the leg at a rate of speed and force, knocked me to the ground (and out, I do believe) and tore up my knee pretty good. (No lectures please. I do know better….) The mare ended up at the top of the lane, towing a large piece of fence board behind her.
On that particular day, I think I walked around in shock and therefore functioned quite well. My leg was cleaned up and put in a bandage and off I went. It stiffened up badly in the afternoon and I took a nice soak in some Epsom Salts to fix me up.
The next day and the following, I expected to be feeling a lot better, with all the swelling down and the wound clean. Except that is not what happened. (“Why didn’t you go in to see the doctor at this point?” my friend enquired sternly.) To which I reply, who goes to the doctor when the pain is bearable, and you can still walk! We have had enough doc and hospital visits in this house — I didn’t need to add myself to the list. That’s what we ranch chicks do — we just get on with it.
It’s almost as if I felt I deserved this gammy leg because, after all, I was going to be 60 this year. Gotta have aches and pains if you reach yet another milestone of aging such as this! I wonder if this condition is psychosomatic and my busy brain is just creating achy places in my head. However, the aches seemed to grow down the leg — from the knee, the accident site — to the top of the foot sometimes.
I even went into the emergency room, when I was staying with my sister one time — thinking that I might have a blood clot in the leg. I didn’t. It’s likely muscular, the doc told me. I had sort of forgotten about my knee injury and the fact that it was still quite swollen. I put it down to fat knees and more or less investigated likely causes around the periphery of the obvious ranch accident.
My lovely doc booked me in for a bone density test and hip X-ray. Bones not too bad considering, a little osteopenia in the hip, nothing too spooky. Well, that’s good news, I said to myself. I’m sure the knee will be better soon.
And then the blasted thing started to keep me awake at night, how rude. The legs were throbbing. I slapped on mineral oil, voltarol, whatever I thought might provide some relief. Aleve was on my nightstand, this had become a daily thing … (“I KNOW I’M LIMPING. DON’T EVER POINT THAT OUT AGAIN, EVER!!)
“Why didn’t you go to the doctor and get a referral to an osteo?” my friend suggested again, helpfully. “I’m sure they can get to the bottom of it!” (Oh, you mean go and see a specialist that will be able to figure out my knee, leg, nerve issues? What a concept; why didn’t I think of that before?) And I sort of did, but then I didn’t.
The reason I have a gammy knee and a wonky leg is because I smashed it on the ground a few months back in a freak accident. The reason it is not getting better by itself is that I am basically stubborn and stupid. I have been living in complete denial these past, long seven months and now it’s time to face the music.
“It might be a torn meniscus,” my massage therapist noted. “You could have a torn ligament,” said someone else less qualified. “You’re nearly 60 — must be time for a knee replacement or two,” barked someone else right at the end of the qualification line.
I called my GP and asked him when I could be seen. The first step to getting a referral and starting to fix this annoying thing is to get on the phone. “It will be a month,” the receptionist said. “OK, how about if I just see anybody, anyone at all?” “Still a month….” (“Then you people are too busy,” I said to just myself, acknowledging it was past time to change my doc office.) I made a call to another doctor and could be seen almost right away.
And here we are — about to step inside the office of a professional who will guide me toward the light in terms of starting the process of fixing my leg/knee/nerves. I’m pretty sure I shall get some flack — doctor-style — about why it took me so long to come in and how much more damage I am causing just hoping it will fix itself. But I’m ready for that.
Having ignored everyone’s advice and listened only to the annoying husband clacking on about my limp, I’m now to the stage when I am sick and tired of having to think about this stupid injury. I’m tired of aching and hurting and dealing with throbbing legs at night. I’m going to face this beast head on and steal back my mobility before I feel further injured or lose my sense of humor around it anymore.
When I next see you around town, I’m hoping you will notice what a good firm stride I possess, such great posture and without a single gammy leg in sight. Surely, you will then think to yourself, “Wow, she looks good for 60!”