6.21.2013

wmtc rebooted

I was in the middle of writing a post about my plan to get back into an exercise routine... when I broke my foot. Doing almost nothing. Walking along in the mall, on my way to get my hair cut and then go to work, my ankle turned over sharply. I was horrified, thinking it was yet another ankle sprain. But no... turns out it's a three-part fracture in my foot.

I was worried at first: if I could break a bone just by walking, is there a problem with my bone density? Are my bones becoming fragile? But I've learned that fractured foot bones are very common among people who have a history of ankle injuries. Every time your ankle turns over, a ligament pulls at those small, friable bones in your foot, weakening them. This was an accident waiting to happen.

I was very sad and frustrated at my ruined plans to be more physically active. But before long, those feelings were replaced with relief that this happened after our trip to Spain and not before.

I'm in a walking cast, like a ski boot, so as far as fractures go, I'm pretty lucky not to have the inconvenience of a plaster cast. I spent a good portion of my early teenage years on and off crutches, an experience that permanently changed my perspective on life. Now, hobbling around the house with a cane, I'm remembering what it's like to be less mobile, to have one or both hands used for stability so you can't carry things, how long it takes to get things done. We live in a house with three floors and no bathroom on the ground floor, so life will be a bit more challenging for a while.

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This is another opportunity for me to praise Canada's excellent public health care system, and to remind us that Ontario's coverage should be further expanded, not continually reduced. My doctor took x-rays, found the fracture, and sent me to Urgent Care, where (after a wait), I was fitted with a temporary plaster cast, and given instructions about visiting the Fracture Clinic the following day. At the Fracture Clinic, I was seen by the orthopedic surgeon on duty, a specialist who does nothing but treat fractures. They gave me the walking cast, scheduled a follow-up appointment, and here I am.

This would have all been "free" - paid for by our taxes - but Ontario covers only plaster casts. Walking casts are out-of-pocket. If you have supplemental health insurance, you're reimbursed, and if you don't - as is increasingly the case - you're on your own. The friendly technician who made my temporary cast said that some people opt for plaster because they can't afford, or don't want to pay for, the walking boots. That's wrong. Everyone should have the same options, regardless of ability to pay. I'm sure in some cases this is regardless of desire to pay, not ability, but I don't like to see that two-tiered system creeping in. I'd much rather my taxes fund someone's increased mobility than fighter jets or worse, the Conservative Party's slush fund.

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Now, time suddenly has been returned to my life, time in which I had been planning on walking, hiking, swimming, or doing exercise classes on Roku. This seems like the perfect opportunity to write. If I'm successful, this blog will again reflect something other than my own small corner of my world.

4 comments:

James Redekop said...

Sit-ups should still be an option...

Remind me at WMTC8 to tell you my father's broken ankle story.

laura k said...

Sit-ups should still be an option...

Ha ha. Can't say I'm really interested in working on my abdominal muscles.

Lorne said...

Hope your recovery is swift, Laura. A friend of mine recently had a similar injury, but despite doctors saying he would be wearing 'the boot' for about three months, he will be getting it off after about five weeks.

laura k said...

Thanks, Lorne. The doc yesterday said it's likely that in 3-4 weeks I'll be able to wear a running shoe. I'm going to try not to get my hopes up, but that would be nice.