I thought coming out of the cast was going to be a good thing. In many ways it was, being able to put limited weight on my ankle sure helped with getting around. Steps! I could now handle steps – slowly, but hey! I’ll take that. Having a bath, oh man now THAT was something I missed. But I was totally unprepared for the vulnerability I felt for my unsupported limb. The goal – cast-off day was replaced with a long drawn out process of rehabilitation and uncertainty. “Ok Tom, I’ll see you when you get back from holiday – say mid to late January,” said the surgeon. And then the clincher “…then we can talk about having the next op to stabilise your foot.” That part I chose to ignore for now, my mind was on getting out of Johannesburg and heading to the sea.
The whole family had already left for our regular holiday destination in Kei Mouth. It was up to me to fly to East London alone to join them. I was really apprehensive about the bump and grind of airports and crowds. The plaster cast had been replaced by a moonboot only the day before and I really felt helpless and exposed. How the hell was I going to manage a peak-holiday flight? To be honest, it was an absolute breeze. I requested assistance and it turned out to be a bit an administrative pain, but in the end it was worth it. What did take me by surprise though was the pain I felt as we landed. The inertia reminded the op I had was more than just a scratch.
Christmas in Kei was a jol, it always is. It was a real good time to reconnect with family and get my head around rehabilitation. Moonboot, no moonboot, crutches, no crutches and only one crutch. I was on holiday and put my mind into healing. The next op? Did the Prof say something about another operation? Ah bugger that I’ll think about that one when I get back home.
In the mean time I spent some time getting acquainted with my new ankle. “Hi, Buddy – welcome to the rest of my body. We’ve been around for a long while now, but make yourself at home.” I could feel that Ankle was a little uneasy. “Listen, as long as you behave like an ankle I’m sure we are going to get along fine. I’m going to give you plenty of time to settle in and I’ll get you as much help as you need.” Ankle seemed relieved. “I won’t push you too hard, and I’m not going to do anything crazy with you, well, at least not now…..”