Returning to Gib is truly like entering a different world as we queue up (15 mins so not bad) to cross the frontier.
So this is the comparison to The Vegman Cometh.
Tooooo many nice people keep asking about The Ankle and I said I’d add a brief update.
I was sort of dismissed by physio. ‘Community can come and see you about the stairs again.’ No mention of a further appointment at the hospital.
But going there to show that I could do the exercises I’d been given, go up and down three mock-up stairs in the gym, answer some ‘how are you feeling’ questions didn’t strike me as a good use of time either. I also needed to make my own way to hospital for future appointments, no more patient transport for me. If I could do that, I would hardly need physio would I?
Community rang about the stairs. I didn’t answer the ‘phone. Partner did and said I could manage, ‘No need for you to visit’. Whereupon physio fell off the face of the earth. That was three or four months ago.
So, what can I do?
- Limp around the flat and the finca.
- Walk very short distances outside to get into the Land Rover.
- A planned hike down to the village in Spain didn’t happen, although I’m sure I could do it. On the right day.
- I can get in the shower so long as I don’t move around.
- I can walk up steps not badly, down is harder.
What can’t I do?
Ha! Just ha!
- Kneel down, bend down, hop, stand on the bad leg for more than two seconds … etc
- Walk without a limp.
- Walk downstairs properly, it’s still one foot then the other onto the same step.
- Climb a stepladder.
- Walk outside without crutches—sheer fear—my balance is terrible and I need the crutches for visibility and to whack people.
There is probably more, (eg run, jump, cycle, swim, skip, walk a dog) but that will do as a summary.
Just to remind you all, I had a bi-malleolar fracture, which means both the tibia and fibula were broken. It was unstable and dislocated. To add insult to injury, my surgeon moaned about my terrible bones and then added fragile skin to the list.
I was put in plaster immediately (to align the dislocation) to await surgery the following day. And then the fracture blisters appeared. Two weeks peri-op. Post-op, six weeks non-weightbearing, and another week before physio. Nine weeks inactivity. Don’t forget the damaged left wrist and right ankle during the fall, nothing major, just not much use in the walking scheme of things ie crutches. And the twisted knee I cleverly managed a few weeks back which is still playing up.
Ankle breaks/fractures (same thing) come in many guises. I had a plaster, no surgery, for my first broken ankle, forty something years ago. I had surgery and plaster for a ripped ligament, thirty something years ago. I had plasters for other sprained ankles. A broken ankle isn’t standard. Simple as that.
[All photos captioned]
Thank you all very much for your good wishes and continued requests about my health. You may wish to pace yourself for the long term however:
‘studies have shown that people can still be recovering up to 2 years after their ankle fractures.’
Here are some nice X-ray piccies, not mine sadly, (I’ve not seen mine), showing how the pins and plates are inserted in the ankle:
As a slight sidetrack, searching on the internet for broken ankle info is amazing. It seems that
a) half the world has broken their ankle,
b) people can’t believe the pain it can cause, and
c) it’s only after breaking an ankle and being rendered immobile that we all recognise how essential and fragile our balance and mobility are.
From one fall to another
But speaking of falls, here’s another Gibtale. One of our older neighbours was recently widowed and has a small Yorkie. She (the woman not the dog as he is a boy) is always impeccably dressed—pearls for church sort of thing—but pretty fragile, so she doesn’t walk the dog very far.
The other night we had a lateish ‘phone call from our neighbour opposite. Apparently the woman had fallen and could Partner possibly take her Yorkie out in the morning? I rang her, we agreed on a time (she’s up early like us), and then I rang the other neighbour back to say it was sorted. The next morning, after walking Big Dog and Little Dog, Partner went round to see her. Dog duly leaded up and off they went. Yorkie was initially wary, and then quite excited as he got a longer walk at a faster pace.
‘I’m not doing it all day,’ says Partner to me, and promptly commits to four walks a day. On top of walking our two, four or five times a day each.
I gave him a sheet of paper to give to her with our ‘phone numbers on to save hassling our other neighbour. When Partner returned from the second dog walk yesterday, there was a neat little card in a bank change bag with her ‘phone numbers, and …
‘There’s money in there,’ he said to her. ‘I don’t need money.’
‘No, no, it’s just my ‘phone numbers.’
‘Thank you,’ he said, and took the card and the enclosed five pound note, that was perfectly visible.
And then she added, ‘Buy yourself a beer.’ Actually it will buy a six pack of San Miguel.
Dog walking is a lucrative business. We know one woman who comes in from Spain and charges £10 per dog walk. There is a slight discount if you have two.
The point is, if you are immobile, you are totally stuffed. Your dogs don’t need a long walk, it’s the frequency that counts. Our neighbour would have to look at paying £30 or £40 a day for what takes no more than two hours. Cash.
In the evening, he came back with some treats for our dogs. The point is, that it’s not about the money. It’s about helping a neighbour, who lives on her own, doesn’t mix closely with a lot of people, her daughter lives in Spain, and her options were very limited. We’d hate to see her have her dog put down because there was no-one to walk it. Old age and falls come to us all.
Maybe she should ask somebody from the Catholic Church? Maybe she doesn’t want. She comes from an old monied family in Gib, and isn’t in the habit of letting people lightly into her home. Just like our neighbours opposite. Like many Gibraltarians she spent time in the UK (London), in her case teaching. Her husband was British. Perhaps she can feel comfortable asking some eccentric British couple around the corner for help. And as in Spain, our (older) neighbours are part of our life.
Just as well he’s not working. Although, he has been to price some large jobs.
More importantly, he’s done some small jobs, ie MY flat.
He was surprised to return from a dog walk to discover I’d mopped part of the flat by 7am. Most of the rest of the living area was done that day, the moving furniture sort of sweep and mop job, and the next day involved pulling out the cooker. And blissikins. He decided to paint the entrance area and kitchen part of the flat. I’m the only person living in the block married to a professional decorator, the only person who gets everyone knocking on my door, and the one with the worst entrance area. Was, I might add. I can open the door with the light on now. Well, I could if I didn’t have a Podenco eager to charge out and meet and greet and BARK.
What else does Giblife mean? Cleaning the block. Neighbours complaining about The Vamp, tax return, annual accounts for the block, board papers. No wonder Spanish life is so good, trouble is, it doesn’t pull in any money … It’s as though time is suspended there, whereas here, busy, busy, busy.
For some of us, although maybe not all.
And we all need to eat.
Why didn’t I use that header photo for the WordPress Angular photochallenge? …