The Long National Mullet Katie nightmare is over. 

The Foot is free. 

Seven Weeks

Even though it's full-scale summer, there hasn't been a "View from the Back" since I broke my ankle. That's because the view has been from my couch, and it ain't been pretty. Well, it's mostly been of Jack Daniels:

Also known as "CheddarJack"

My paddle aches were gone and replaced with a specific twinge in my left shoulder that I only get if I'm not exercising. 

When I broke my ankle one of my friends said to write about what I went through because we'll all go through it at sometime. 

I've been non weight-bearing on my right leg for 7 weeks. "If you stand on it you WILL have to have surgery," they said to me at Medac and Wilmington Ortho. Everyone I saw said "STAY OFF OF IT." 

I was terrified of slipping up or disobeying orders and having to be off of it for 7 MONTHS. So I stayed off of it. I sat on the brown chair or blue couch and tried to work. You don't need your leg to be a freelance writer but you do need your brain and if your brain is used to sunlight and fresh air and salty water and sore muscles and what it is getting is air conditioning and the view of your neighbor's newly painted ugly orange fence, it doesn't work very well.

I'm fiercly independent, which I know, as an admission, will come as a shock to my friends make my husband and friends roll their eyes. Having to ask for help for everything sucked. It sent me to some really dark places.

Honor the Injury

I kept feeling bad about the way I was feeling because it's not like I didn't still HAVE my leg. I just couldn't use it for a while. And now, even though I can use it, I can't use it fully. I will be a while before I can carry a board to the water by myself. The most major thing that I can do, that makes me happy, that calms me down, works me out, drains away the anger–I couldn't do for two months and I still can't do without help. 

It has been like that movie/experiment/stunt when the guy ate McDonald's for a month. I went from exercising and being active to a full halt. To sitting on my (now pretty fat) ass. My brain chemistry is MESSED UP right now. 

I told John repeatedly that I felt bad being such a drama queen and so angry and upset and frustrated by my injury because it was a pretty simple one, really. He told me that I couldn't feel bad about feeling bad because I still had my leg when some people didn't. He said that my whole world had changed instantly and there was nothing wrong with being shaken up by it. 

The seven week period was like a vacation and a jail sentence. In any case, it was a holding pattern. Lots of waiting and holding my breath hoping that they'd take the cast off at 6 weeks or so. Hoping that I didn't lose too many jobs because I couldn't get to them. Hoping that I could find a prone board and that I would like it and be able to do it. Hoping my husband wouldn't freak out when I got one. Hoping I wouldn't be too needy and drive people away or too angry and wear out the welcome.

There were plenty of times when my friends/husband/The Mullet could have easily said "I QUIT YOU" and I wouldn't have blamed them.

You Find Out Who Your Friends Are

Who calls? Who doesn't? Who drives from 45 minutes away repeatedly to bring dinner and who never asks? Who holds on tighter no matter how much I try to push them away?

I know who I want to invest time in after this experience.

If you picked me up for pedicures or cleaned my house or planted my garden or pruned my trees or fixed the trim or took me for boat rides and car rides, if you let me crash or bought me drinks or drove me all over creation, if you called me before you went to Costco to see if I needed anything or dragged me out to lunch when I said "no I have to work," because you knew I needed fresh air, if you texted or gave a "thumbs up" on my alternative 100/100 count, if you ordered me a bike basket with butterflies that light up and drove two hours to give it to me, or carried my backpacks filled with rocks,  if you had a dance party from the waist up, if you texted me ridiculous pictures at all hours of the day or night or you sold me a prone board for so little you practically gave it away to me, if you let me cry or called me when I texted you and said I wasn't ok, if you did all of that and you're still my friend, know that I'm not letting you go. 

You're stuck with me. Because I wouldn't have made it through without you.

The Foot is Dead; Long Live The Foot

I walked into Wilmington Ortho and they took  me back to the cast room. With little fanfare, Per, the tech, pulled out the saw and cut Big Purple (the cast) off. 

And I got up, without a backward glance, and hopped down to X-Ray. I left an hour later with an air cast, a hairy leg, and two months worth of pent up energy. 

Dave Made Me Do It

I don't know if there are any pictures of me on The Drunken Otter, which is my new (used) prone board. I got it from Brad, the Patron Saint of Prone Boards in Wrightsville Beach. It's a 15'6" BARK custom with a rudder. Sharna drove me over to pick it up, and despite our initial skepticism, we found that it stacks perfectly well on her board. Whether it would rip the roof off her car if we drove 80 with both of them on remains to be seen, though. We headed to the Blockade Runner for the weekly Sunset SUP Series race.

Dave Baker carried the board to the water for me and I crutched down and hopped on. When I got my Big Purple BARK from Steve Capps, as soon as I hopped on I knew it was made for me. I feel like that about The Drunken Otter. Renee kept telling me she really liked it and I kept yelling "YOU CAN'T HAVE IT, RENEE." (Hey Brad, we need one like it for Renee, K?)

While the SUPpers had a stroke clinic on land, April said "Prone people, talk amongst yourselves."

Dave said "Ok, so you put your right hand in the water and drag it back. And then you put your left hand in the water and drag it back. And repeat. Oh, and if you get on your knees you put them both in at the same time. Got it?"

"Got it!" I said.

"OK! We're done! Where's the beer!"

I paddled around and practiced. Dave and Renee taught me how to use the rudder. After a few minutes I came back to shore and Dave said "Ok, you're doing the race."

"I am NOT."

"Sure you are!"

"If I fall off you're going to have to rescue me."

There is a perk to paddling with head of Ocean Rescue. But I gotta say, Dave, at the races, you're just Dave, our awesome friend. I look forward to seeing you and Renee every week.

The prone heat (there were just three of us) lined up. It was a sprint. I'd spent a combined total of about 15 minutes on a prone board before, but what the heck! 

UPDATE: I FOUND A PICTURE. THANK YOU  BLOCKADE RUNNER!

They blew the horn and we were off! Dave immediately fell rolled off. 

I felt good on the way out. I thought "God help me. No really. God help me if a boat comes whizzing by while I cross the channel because I WILL turn into chum if that happens."

We neared the buoy. "RENEE! HOW DO I USE THIS RUDDER AGAIN?"

"I'M NOT TELLING YOU IF YOU'RE THIS CLOSE TO ME!"

"I'M NOT GOING TO BEAT YOU!" 

Dave came up around my left shoulder as I worked on turning. "IF YOU KNOCK ME OFF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT ME BACK ON." I reminded him.

We headed back to the docks. My arms were burning. "I HAVE NO ATP LEFT IN MY MUSCLES" my brain screamed. 

Dave fell rolled off again. He swam around a bit and looked over his shoulder at me while Renee cruised toward the finish line. 

Once I got to the dock I could hear people yelling. Boy that felt good. I hadn't raced at all since the Surf 2 Sound. I've worked a bunch of races, but I hadn't gotten to hear my name yelled and it was fun. 

"Hi five!" I yelled when I reached Dave and Renee. "Wait. I can't lift my arms!"

"You did it!" Dave said. 

"Because you made me."

"But you still did it!"

Later that night, Craig Stephens came over and asked me why I didn't paddle. I just looked at him. "I DID paddle! Prone!"

"How did I miss that?"

"I dunno. But it is a good thing I don't still have my cast on. I got a hole in the bottom from kicking too many people in the head, you know."

He showed me his ankle that he broke awhile ago and let me feel the screw sticking out by the skin. Ew.

My friend Laura texted me last night and said that my face was euphoric in this picture that I sent her. 

That's me and Dave and Renee. Euphoric? I'd say that's accurate. 

As the sun went down Sharna and Ed took The Drunken Otter back to her car. 

On the way home I told Sharna "I know you've spent a lot of time driving me around, but I feel like, because you did, I've gotten to have a summer."

I have my sights set on the Chucktown Showdown 8 mile course prone. The Drunken Otter and I have some work to do. 

The Foot is Free!

1 COMMENT