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Renner: Life is a Trip Part II - In the crutches of fear

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columns Dickinson, 58602
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

A person would think I would have come up with any number of hilarious stories for when everyone asked how I actually broke my foot.

I really wonder if any one of the other 7 billion people living on this planet actually broke their foot by tripping on an alarm clock. Doubtful.

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The first week of having a broken foot was a total bust. It took me one trip up the stairs into my house to realize that crutches and stairs weren't a good combination for me. Besides, isn't a walking boot made for walking. I guess I am asking Nancy Sinatra.

There was also the fact that this boot weighed like 50 pounds, or it felt like it. If I had buns of steel, maybe I could have kept my foot up behind me for a good portion of my walking time. However, my buns are more like dough. No matter how hard I tried, the heavy boot hit the ground first with every step I took. By the weekend, I ditched my crutches completely and even went to a wedding in Medora. To my credit I didn't dance at the wedding.

My follow-up appointment was with a bone specialist. As he was studying my X-rays, he asked if I was keeping my weight off of the broken fifth metatarsal. Obviously this is why he makes the big bucks. I was truthful and said that I was walking with my walking boot. He then went into this long explanation involving tendons, ligaments, pulling on pieces of broken bone and the possibility of surgery. Now he had my attention. He must have seen the panicked expression on my face because he brought it down a couple of notches and laid out a plan.

The plan was that he would put my foot into a cast for six weeks and see if the bone would heal into place. If it did, he wouldn't have to do surgery. The catch was that I could put no weight at all on my broken foot for the next four weeks. He asked if I really understood that no weight on the broken foot meant I would be using my right leg and the crutches to be getting around.

I did admit I wasn't doing so well with the crutches so he wrote me a prescription for crutch school. Now that I did think was funny. I thought any idiot should be able to figure out crutches. Keep in mind this thought is coming from the same idiot that broke her foot by tripping on an alarm clock in the first place. I did attempt crutches on my own for a couple of days. After tripping up my stairs, tripping down the neighbor's stairs and falling onto my mother when I tripped up her stairs, my dad put his foot down. (Pun intended.)

I was to go to crutch school the very next day, even if my dad had to hogtie me and drag me there himself. So I went to crutch school. My instructor came out to the waiting room to get me. He watched me stumble and trip all the way back to his office. I was so impressed that he didn't burst into fits of laughter. (Well, maybe after I left, but he had the resolve not to dissolve into tears of laughter in my presence.)

In his office, he helped me sit down into a chair without falling and breaking my other foot. Then he took my crutches from me and studied them for a while. He was shocked that the crutches were both set at the right height. The lopsided way I walked back to his office, he was positive they were each set at a different height. Needless to say, he went to great lengths to teach me how to walk properly with crutches and my right leg to keep all weight off of my left broken foot. The stairs were tricky and he fastened me to himself with a very large safety belt. I made my way up and down the stairs a couple of time without falling and dragging him down with me. He was reluctant to take the safety belt off but my time was up.

I felt like a baby bird being thrown out of its nest. And, in truth, I never did learn to "fly" with crutches. Over the next six months, I floundered around a lot, always one step away from breaking my other foot.

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