One Bump and Bang Too Many

potholes

A week and a half ago, Polly and I took a road trip south, ending up in Delphos, Ohio. In a post titled Luck, Fate, or Providence, I mentioned an event that took place while I was taking some photographs of an old canal:

…Polly and I took a road trip to Ottoville, Fort Jennings, and Delphos. Like most of our trips, I took my camera equipment with me. As we were wandering around Delphos, we stumbled upon a lock from the era of the Miami and Erie canal. Getting down to the lock was a bit treacherous for me. I wanted to get as close as possible, so I gingerly walked down the concrete abutment to the lock. I didn’t fall, slip, or trip. Lucky me, I thought.

After ten minutes or so, I was ready to return to the car. I had two paths I could take. I could retrace my steps or make a big step and little jump to ground level, Polly said she would give me a hand, so I chose the latter. Polly reached down, took my hand, and began to help me up. And then, our world went crazy. Polly couldn’t pull me up completely and I violently fell forward, knocking both of us to the ground. If my weight had been balanced slightly the other way, I would have no doubt went careening down the concrete abutment into the canal. The fall would have likely killed me.

The good news? My cameras escaped damage, though one of them does have a slight scrape. The hood on the lens kept it from being smashed. Polly ended up with bruised knees and I ended up with a twisted ankle and hip and a nasty, bloody contusion on my left leg. It is still oozing slightly today.

I know I was lucky. I should have retraced my steps. This was the safe and prudent choice. However, Polly was standing right there and she said she would help. Why not, right? She helps me out of the recliner and car all the time. What neither of us counted on was how difficult it is to pull up a 350# man. When Polly pulls me out of the car or the recliner I help her. This time? I was dead weight and I almost literally became so…

Yesterday, I had Polly take me to Urgent Care in Bryan. My left leg is swollen, an inch bigger circumference wise than my right leg. The contusion is weeping fluid and has become infected. I am white, the wound is red and yellow, and I am trying to keep it from turning black. (shout out to the Evangelical song, Jesus loves the Little Children, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight) I am taking an antibiotic. The doctor swabbed the wound and sent it to the lab. The lab will do a culture to determine what is causing the infection. If warranted, the doctor said he will change the antibiotic, but he thinks the one he prescribed should do the trick. This is the same leg, BTW,  that I had a foot problem with last fall.

Last Sunday, Polly drove us to Cincinnati, Ohio to attend the Cincinnati Reds-St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. We had a great time. There’s nothing like experiencing a live baseball game. When the stands are full, as they were on Sunday, the stadium comes to life. The cheers and the groans ripple loudly through the crowd, as Reds fans live and die with their team. In many ways, I find the live baseball experience to be a lot like a revival service. There’s that “feeling” in the air that resonates deeply with me.

That said, we have come to the conclusion that I can no longer take trips hours away from home. Driving to Cincinnati and back meant we were on the road for almost 8 hours. Whether we took the interstate or a state highway, the roads, thanks to a hard cold winter and a lack of infrastructure upkeep, pummeled my body. Mile after mile the roads bumped and banged my body, so much so that even double doses of pain medication couldn’t stop the pain.

As much as I want to cheer the Reds on in person, I know I can no longer do so. My body has issued its decree, cross this line and I will make you pay. As I have said many times before, a time would come that I was no longer willing to pay the price of admission, no longer willing to suffer the brutality of long trips. That time is now.  I hate that it has come to this, but it is what it is.

Now this doesn’t mean that I can take shorter trips to places like Toledo, Fort Wayne, Magee Marsh, or Marblehead. An hour or two from home, along back roads at a slow speed, I can still do. There’s a minor league baseball team in Fort Wayne and Toledo, so I can still enjoy the live game experience. There’s plenty for us to see and do within a few hours of our home. There’s plenty of sites and out-of-the-way places to photograph. Instead of lamenting what I can’t do, I choose to focus on what I can do. This is me adapting to my environment. Shout out, Charles Darwin.

2015 Ford Escape

My chauffeur driving our 2015 Ford Escape. What’s real interesting is the gravel pit in the background. I sure wanted to climb down there and take some photographs.

We recently bought a new car, a 2015 Ford Escape. We made this purchase because I was having difficulty getting in and out of our 2013 Ford Fusion. The Escape sits up higher and has greater head and leg room, allowing me to sit comfortably, even when I have to twist my body to lessen the pain. We are quite pleased with the car. Actually it is an SUV, but we call it car.  Health problems have robbed me of my ability to drive any distance but a short one. This is another thing I’ve had to adapt to. For decades, I did most of the driving and now I must rely on Polly to chauffeur me wherever I want to do. Again, it is what it is.

The nasty injury detailed at the start of this post has proved to be a wake up call for Polly and I. I no longer can afford to push the envelope, risking injury. Since I am diabetic, any type of wound is a concern. I pastored several people who lost their legs due to a cut or wound that morphed into an abscess drugs and doctors could not cure. Despite all our miracle-working drugs, there are viruses and bacteria that can and do kill us. I must take better care of myself, not putting myself in circumstances that could cause physical injury. When I walk with a cane, I tend to ignore my limitations. When using a wheelchair, it is obvious that I can no longer pretend to be Superman. While I refuse to give up, I must face reality and adjust my life accordingly.

The good news is that Polly will still be by my side. We’re in this together until death do us part. Her love and care make the pain and suffering bearable.

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16 Comments

  1. Suzanne

    Thought about you yesterday, Bruce, was wondering how you were doing physically and thinking that you should never stay at the hotel I am at here in Costa Rica. When we checked in yesterday they tried to put me in a villa that was 88 – count em – 88 steps high. I told the travel agent when we booked the trip that I do not do lots of steps because of my asthma and bad back. One upgrade and tantrum later I am a mere 9 steps up in a room with actual air conditioning. Had asthma attack in first room from too much mold and the villa was out of the question because of the 88 steps. I would have loved to have been at the villa because the monkeys and sloths abound up there. Even with precautions this trip is a stretch for me.

    Reply
  2. Becky Wiren

    Hope everything heals up quickly Bruce. Take care of yourself.

    Reply
  3. Karen

    So sorry this is happening. I watched my mother going through something similar. Despite family and friends urging her to re-focus her energies on what she *could* do, she chose to sit and be miserable. I know that’s easier said than done — I have health issues and limitations myself — but the alternative is unrelenting torture. I’m glad to know your attitude is helpful.

    Reply
  4. Robt

    Great attitude to have in the face of adversity – I find myself often making similar decisions and choices albeit to a much lesser degree than you, sir. However, me being a dog person for all my life, one can easily forget how powerful a large breed animal can be – in this case a wolf hybrid – so I tend to attempt to engage them when they start doing the “play dance” without thinking that I have a very seriously compromised spine/back injury. Silly me engaged a goddamn WOLF in a game of tag … not the shih tzu, not the doxi/corgi, not the jack spaniel, … oh no, I had to get sucked in by the big bad wolf … it didn’t end well for me, still recovering from that brain fart and now over on my monthly medication quota. Bruce, I think we’re similar in that life is for living and though we take care to live within our given limitations, by golly we’re GONNA live it!

    Peace and speedy recovery to you sir.

    PS. Still waiting on the fabulous pictures that were worth risking life and limb 😉

    Reply
  5. Ahab

    Wishing you strength and healing, Bruce.

    Reply
  6. PatF

    Toledo Mudhens. Sometimes you need to go ahead and quit fighting so hard. I had the wheelchair and cane. Hubby pushing me around Disney World in hot humid June was no fun for him. lol. He got pretty bitchy about that. I relented and rented a scooter.

    It’s all good Bruce. Be Superman on something other than your body. As a matter of fact, you’re a pretty impressive superman teacher!

    Reply
  7. Ruth

    Why don’t we have the pictures you risked your life to take? 😉

    Seriously, Bruce, you’ve got a positive attitude and outlook. Constant pain can be draining and it does make a lot of people focus on the negative. I’m really sorry you took a tumble. Open wounds are quite scary for diabetics so I hope that heals up quickly for you.

    My thoughts are with you and Polly. May you enjoy what you can for as long as you can. (((gentle hugs)))

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Picture are coming soon. I have a large number of photographs I need to process.

      Reply
  8. Heather

    Sure hope you feel better soon and your leg heals up nicely. Your positive attitude is inspiring, just like your writing. Glad you and Polly have each other.

    Reply
  9. kittybrat

    Ah, Bruce! The reality that comes (literally) crashing down so hard you no longer can ignore it! Cripe! Glad you made it out, Buddy!
    Hope you’re healed up (both of you) sooner than later.
    Potholes are deeper and worse this year due to the severe cold. The colder the winter, the deeper and more frequent the phenomenon. They’re so bad and definitely NOT good for a body that needs TLC!

    Glad you’re realizing that it’s prudent to thrive within your limitations. Although limitations are a bitch, ignoring them fucking HURTS!!!

    Reply
  10. Mary Ellen

    I’m sorry to hear about you and Polly taking that fall…I had that happen near the end of June of last year….the cat did something unspeakable outside the litterbox, and in the process of cleaning up and chewing the little beast out, my feet went out from under me, and down I went…I’ll spare you all the gory details, but I had to make a trip by Greyhound Bus from Central Florida to Northwest Florida the following week. On crutches and a knee brace. Got back home and went to the doctor and he took one look and diagnosed cellulitis, gave me a shot of a powerful injectable antibiotic and a ‘scrip for an oral one, which helped, and wanted to see me in four days; he gave me another injection at that time…it was painful for me when I’d had my leg elevated for awhile, to put it down to the floor lever so I could get off the bed…OMG it hurt…I spent most of the week in my parent’s guest bedroom…I hope you can get some good antibiotics to help that wound…the one they gave me started with an r and started working quickly…Polly, I hope you feel better soon, too… (((gentle hugs)))

    Reply
  11. Susannah

    I hope the antibiotic is working by now. Laurie had a leg injury that did that several years ago, on our last out of town trip. It made him pretty sick for weeks, but it all cleared up eventually. Left a nasty scar.

    Do what he didn’t do: keep the leg elevated, keep off it as much as possible, give your whole body a chance to heal.

    Slowing down goes against the grain, I know. It does for me, anyhow. But there’s a good side to it all; you’ll find it.

    Reply
  12. Scott

    Bruce,
    Your stubborn positivity towards what your body is putting you through is amazing. I know you do your share of cursing and ranting as well, those are definitely needed and part of the process. You are a help for me on this as I work for a larger health insurance carrier, and talk to a wide variety of members including a number with complex health issues like yours and your attitude helps me do my best to treat them with the compassion they deserve, even though many are angry and frustrated with the processes.

    HUGS, if this is a touch day, cyber hugs if not. 🙂

    Also I always recommend OD’ing on ones favorite media to stay sane. If you’ve not seen “Hot Fuzz”, I highly recommend that, it’s a hoot.

    Scott

    Reply
  13. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

    Thank you everyone for the kind words. I deeply appreciate your love and support.

    Reply
  14. Barbara Miller

    Ouch. Take care of that wound. And I’m glad you didn’t fall. Hope things level out for you,, and that wound heals up good.

    Hey, have you ever thought of taking up crafting while recuperating? You could learn knitting or crocheting. And then give away the stuff to friends and family.

    I know an older woman who said she learned pottery to keep herself busy and off the street (I had this interesting image of her as a Hell’s Grannie when she said that.) She mentioned that she had gotten real good at giving stuff she made to people and then running away real fast.

    You wouldn’t be able to run away real fast, but maybe you could guilt trip the giftee about how you made it specially for them while you were recovering or something.

    Just a thought….

    PS pictures or it didn’t happen. (I hear that’s what the young folks say now.)

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I hope to get the pictures up soon. Out today to take more, only compounding the processing back log.

      Bruce

      Reply

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