KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Misadventures at the Polling Place

Ed and I live in a Super Tuesday state, so right after we got our youngest off to school on Tuesday, we drove over to the elementary school, our polling place, to vote in the presidential primary. After we voted, we chatted with a couple of the poll workers whom we see every single time we vote in an election. Ed told them just how important it was to him to vote in the primary: "I'd have found a way to get here even if I had two broken legs." Everyone chuckled, and we headed out to walk back to our van in the parking lot.

As we walked, Ed noticed a box truck slowly heading off with its vertical sliding back door still partially open. Visualizing all sorts of things falling out of the truck and onto the road and causing a driving hazard for others, Ed took off running after the truck. He wanted to catch it before it left the parking lot and warn the driver about the door.

Now, being a cabinetmaker, Ed's in very good shape for a 46-year-old man. He's on his feet all day at work and is always lifting and moving heavy sheets of plywood and large cabinets. He's the one who climbs up and down a 40-foot ladder each December to string Christmas lights on the 40-plus-foot blue spruce tree in our front yard. Though he doesn't jog anymore, he did so for years. When he's doing yard work on weekends, he trots from the tool shed to the garage to the garden. He's just not a sedentary guy. So when he was racing after the truck, he was shocked when his right leg gave out on him in midstride and landed his body splat on the asphalt.

It seems that sometime in December, he had somehow slightly torn his Achilles tendon in that leg. He hadn't known anything was wrong with it; he'd just had some occasional aches in the leg. Yesterday, after X-rays and an MRI, an orthopedist informed him that in running full speed at the polling place, he'd torn the tendon three-quarters of the way through.

The doc said that even if the running hadn't done him in, eventually the tendon would have completely snapped, maybe even just while he was walking somewhere. Because there is still a quarter of the width of the tendon intact, Ed won't have to undergo surgery. The doc casted his leg from the knee down, with his foot pointing down and the tendon ends pushed back together. Within 4 to 6 weeks, the tendon ends will have grown together again. Then he'll be in a leg brace for a while as he undergoes physical therapy so that he can walk properly again; the tendon will heal shorter than it once was and will need some supervised stretching. Right now, he's out in his wood shop hopping and crutching around on his good leg as he builds some cabinets.

Moral of this story: Be careful what you joke about!

Updated at 3:45 p.m.: With the out-of-the-box thinking that is a gift of AD/HD, Ed has come up with a brilliant idea for avoiding crutches while he's doing work that requires him to be on his feet rather than sitting. Ever seen drywall stilts? People who are putting up drywall and using spackle wear special stilts, like those at the link below, to allow them to reach the ceilings and the tops of walls.

We just ordered a pair. He'll retrofit the one for his right leg so that it will adapt to the position of his foot, which is casted so that it points down. Then he'll be able to walk everywhere and still have the use of his hands--no holding on to crutches--for things like holding a lacquer spray gun or nail gun.

Nothing ever keeps that man down. :-)

Updated 2/18/08


Anonymous said...

Freakin' OUCH! Glad there won't be surgery, at least.
Also, hooray for voting!

Anonymous said...

Ouch...Achilles heel injuries are common among Irish dancers, so I've seen how painful it can be. I hope Ed is doing okay and not in too much discomfort. I'm also glad it happened *after* he voted. ;-)

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