One step forward…two steps back. Or falling down two steps, anyway.
Yup, I did that. From the exact same step, in the exact same manner, as I fell four years ago and broke the 5th metatarsal on my left foot, I managed to carry out a repeat performance yesterday–with similar results. At least I’m consistent.
I should have had my ankle-foot orthosis on. But I wasn’t planning on going outside. I was minding my own business, cleaning up some of the piled up paperwork in the kitchen, safe from harm to myself, when I discovered the kids were playing outside with garbage. Yes, you read that right, garbage. What would possess a child to do so? An over-zealous reaction to the call to Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!? I have no clue. But there they were, gleefully tying up a Hefty bag from the tree, huge rent in the side, refuse spilling everywhere. I slipped on the closest pair of shoes and hurried outside to stop them.
It was the right thing to do. My heart was surely in the right place. The problem is that, in my eagerness for them to immediately stop rollicking in refuse, I grabbed the bag from the tree, carried it over the porch, and intended to take care of the situation myself. My ankle had other plans, rolling out from under me on that fateful step and pitching me to perdition.
The last time I took this fall, I had my 2-week old son in a ring sling and had to twist to the left to ensure I did not land on him. This time, I had to twist to the left again to avoid landing on potted plants or slamming into the garbage and recycling bins. Immediately, I could tell that I would not escape unscathed. And as I lay there on the back, legs in the air like a dead bug, a discarded banana peel on my shoulder, I couldn’t stop sobbing. It was humbling, humiliating, frustrating, anger-inducing all at once. A wave of emotions crashing over me that I could not control. And a wave of pain washing over my foot and ankle that rapidly intensified with the fury of a storm a-brewing.
The kids rushed over to check on me, offering hugs, kisses, band-aids, and assistance by trying to put my shoes back on my now-bare feet. The last thing I wanted was to be touched, but their concern touched deeply, nonetheless. Kids–they can drive you to tears of fury one moment and tears of joy the next. Amazing.
It took a few minutes to gather the courage to drag myself back up the stairs and into the house. Then another twenty before I decided to call my orthopedist’s office. There’s not much they can do for a broken 5th metatarsal (the bone on the outside of your foot). Basically, you use crutches for the first week or so and continue wearing a walking boot for a while until the bones heal. Since I already have the boot and crutches, there didn’t seem to be much reason to go in and pay for more x-rays–I already have accumulated so much debt due to my discectomy. Considering this was my 2nd hard fall post-op, I eventually concluded that my orthopedist may want to check it out, just to be safe. Sure enough, I found myself making an appointment for 9AM today to lie on the hard white table and add another round of films to my file.
So yeah, one step forward in the slow, slow post-op progress I’ve had, and now, knocked several steps back. Physical therapy is on hold until the foot is healed, as there is no way I’m letting my therapist touch that throbbing, swollen stump. I can’t do my exercises until I’m out of this boot again either. It’s pretty safe to say that I will not be skiing this year. No walking the streets of New York City, photographing whatever I come across that catches my eye. No extending the waning summer days by swimming. No hiking the nearby mountains to take in the soon-to-be changing fall foliage. No biking the local hills, filling my lungs with crisp autumn air and luxuriating in the muscular burn that comes from a decent work-out. No… No… No…
I have to try to remain positive–so I begged The Big Guy to make me brownies.
He really didn’t want to and in the end, I had to limp out there and assist him. Between the two of us, though, we managed to bake a batch of brownies that can heal the soul. No, not my foot–that would be asking too much. But at least they brought a smile to my face. These are, without a doubt, the best brownies I have ever eaten. One small victory out of this catastrophe.
Bakery Style Chewy Brownies
- 1 cup 16 Tbsp Kerrygold butter, cut into 16 pieces
- 5 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped (I used Ghirardelli, which is 60% cacao)
- 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate chopped (I used Trader Joe's)
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with coconut oil or butter and set aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl, heat the butter, bittersweet, and unsweetened baking chocolate at 50% power for 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is all melted. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed for 3-5 minutes, or until lifting the paddle from the bowl produces ribbons.
- On low speed, beat in the slightly cooled melted chocolate.
- Add the salt and flour, mixing only until just combined.
- Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
- Spread into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly moist.
- Cool for at least a half hour (preferably completely) before slicing and serving.