Falling out of the van

Yesterday started off like most other days in our van build. It did not, however, end up like most days Our evening and night was spent with me (Don) in bed, an ice pack on my left ankle, iced, wrapped, and elevated (R,I.C.E.). A heating pad on my left shoulder. My left wrist, well, left to fend for itself this round since my wrist was the least of my concerns and pain.

Nat was as busy as a one-legged woman in an ass-kicking contest. She was a nurse, therapist, wife, dog-handler, shopper, and chef in the span of a few hours. Not only did she bear the responsibility of nursing my hurts and pains, but Kona still needed to be looked after. We can’t forget about the two adopted cats we now seemed to be looking after. (more on that story later) A run to Wal-Mart, Aldi, and Publix for a few essentials, comfort foods for me, and the evenings’ dinner.

When Nat returned from running all of those errands, she would need to readjust my pillows to keep my ankle elevated. She is the best nurse and all-around, best friend anyone could ever be fortunate enough to be around. If ever there was an upside to rolling my ankle by falling out of our van, getting looked after and pampered by Nat is certainly at the top of the list.

So, here is what happened.

We were working in the van and coming up with a solution to our oven cabinet. Lot’s measuring before cutting. Then more measuring and more cutting. We had it built, so to fine tune the heeight, add some concrete board and a heat hield to the box.

I was attempting to exit the rear doors down onto the ground. It is about a three foot drop from the bumper to the ground. I had tennis shoes on and was holding some fiber optic wires in one of my hands. Now, ever time I exit the van like this, I am mindful of both of my ankles. My left ankle, or what we consider my “good ankle” has no surgeries, but it has been sprained, rolled and twisted more times than I can count or remember. My right ankle has had three reconstruction surgeries and my last surgery 5 years ago, I had the ankle fused and plated. Lots of cool looking terminator type of hardware in my foot and ankle.

So, all of that to say, I am very cautious and aware of taking big steps down and walking along uneven terrain. Well, not only was this a pretty big step down from the van, it was also on some uneven ground. A very brieft lapse in judgment on my part, I just stepped right off the bumper and immediately rolled that left ankle.

Now, if you have never rollled an ankle before, I really can’t accurately describe the pain, sensation or agony that travels from one end of your body all the way through to the other end reaching your brain. The pain is instantaneously. It is faster than light.

There are a few thoughts, emotions, and sensations that take place at the same time. All within that nano-second. My first thought was “ow”. Now, when I say my first thought was “ow”, multiply that by an exponent of 1000 and then add in a chorus of curse words that not even urbandisctionary.com would be able to define.

There is that split second of thinking “oh crap, not again”. Coupled with the other thoughts of “how bad is this one going to be?” “Uh, I don’t have health insurance, so, how is this going to play out!” Not to mention the frustration and anger that I am the only one responsible for what is playing out as I continue to fall and try to brace and protect myself as I begin to hit the ground.

After I hit the grounds I immediately reach for my left ankle, the worst part of the entire sequence is about to take place. It’s not the excruciating pain I am experiencing. It wasnt’ the unknown factor of how much damage my ankle had incurred from the fall. No, the worst part of the whole ordeal was about to unfold after the fact.

Nat runs over to me as she sees and hears my performance taking place. She is frantically repeating ” Are you okay?” It’s not just the panic or fright in her voice that made me feel horrible, it was the look on her face. The scared and frightened look on her face not knowing why I had fallen or what was wrong with me. All she knew, was that her man was down on the ground in pain and without control over my own situation and body. She began to cry, again, not knowing that I had only rolled my ankle. I immediately tried to relax and ease her worries letting her know I am alright. I simply rolled my ankle and I will be fine. I asked that she go and get me a bag of ice. From many years and multiple times of rolling and turning my ankles, I knew a bag of ice on my ankle was better sooner than later.

She ran off to our friend’s kitchen to get me an icebag. While she was gone, I, looking like a walrus trying to move along the beachside rocks, attempted to right myself and get off the ground. There was a lady walking her dog about 5 houses away, so I wanted to get up and act as close to normal as possible before she got around to where I was.

Nat comes out of the house with a bag of ice and I am already standing and slowly making my way towards a lawn chair. I already knew at that point that it wasn’t a terribly serious sprain, but I could tell it was going to swell and I would be off of my feet for a couple of days.

Nat’s anxiety for my well-being was still a little high and I was focused on letting her know I was alright and everything was going to be fine. She immediately went into nurse/doctor mode and got my shoe off, an ice pack on and my foot elevated. She then went to go and get my walking cane I saved from when I had surgery on my ankle last. (I knew that cane would come in handy again after 5 years ago)

We hobbled over to the RV together and she put me in bed, fixed up some pillows so my ankle was resting higher than my heart, and got me a glass of chocolate milk. After all, love, pampering, and chocolate milk make everything better!

When she returned from shopping, the bounty she returned with would make any person in the greatest of pain smile with joy. She brought me more chocolate milk, orange juice, fudge stripe cookies, mint-flavored fudge striped cookies, (think Girl Scout Thin Mints, but better), and some coconut caramel shortbread cookies. (again, think Girl Scout Samoas).

Yes, she knows my love language!

It’s been a couple of days now, and the ankle is still a little swollen and tender. I can walk tenderly on it, but Dr. Nat still has me confined to the bed and writing chair.

I am ready to get back to working on our van build so we can travel and adventure!

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