“The good news is…” I could see from the x-rays up on the lighted board that there was no break. “…that I don’t see a break or a fracture. The bad news is that’s about as bad a sprain as you could have done. It’s going to take a long time to heal.” The doctor scrunched up his nose in hard-luck sympathy and his wire-rimmed glasses rose up a bit above the level of his eyes.
“We have a few options. We could put you in a traditional cast, which would hold everything still and help you to heal the fastest — but it’s not that nice for you. Or we could just leave it alone and let you walk on it, but that’s pretty painful and you’d end up not being very mobile. Or, I could give you an airboot, which is a middle ground between the two.”
He held it up — a huge great ugly cross between a ski-boot and something a StarWars Storm Trooper might wear. I pulled a resigned smile, “Sooooooo, I get the big dorky boot then…”
“It’s not dorky!” he defended. “They’re quite good really…” He looked down, turned it over in his hands. Focusing on the medicine, he missed that I was thinking of my vanity. “You’ll need to wear it most of the time, to start. It will be a while before you drive. And expect it to take four to six weeks before your ankle is fully healed.” Four to six weeks! For one moment of stupidity!!!
After the doctor left, the nurse gave me a resistance band and showed me a few exercises. The he put my foot in the boot and explained how to put it on, how to inflate the sides so it supported my ankle.
“Where are your shoes?” he asked, looking around the room. I pointed to my Dansko clogs in the corner. He looked alarmed and spoke sharply, “You need to stop wearing those!” And, shaking his head, he added, ” They’re death-traps!” I knew he was right but, to be fair, they were the only shoes I could fit my swollen foot into that morning.
When we were finished, he walked me back down the hallway to reception. The doctor was right — the airboot was quite good really. I was hardly a picture of grace, hobbling as I did, with my right foot clomping loudly with each step, but my ankle hurt an awful lot less with the support of the boot, and this had been a walk I had barely been able to make just an hour before. I suddenly felt a surge of excitement. I could get around again! I had my autonomy back!
Vanity may be over-rated.