It’s been an odd, choppy Ragdale beginning week, but it’s beginning to get right.
Here’s how it went: last Friday and Saturday were smooth and hugely productive, with mornings of brisk long walks and physical therapy exercises integrated neatly. Then Sunday, after exercising first and making a not-great decision to do my fast walk on the trails, about a mile away from the studio, I took a rather spectacular flying fall and felt my ankle pop. It swelled up enormously and I spent most of the day with it wrapped in ice packs and propped up on pillows, then attended a nice outdoor Ragdale dinner party with board members and guests, with one gigantic ankle dressed up in a lovely brace.
Sunday, immediately after four HOURS of ice & elevation…lower leg was a bit swollen for four days, too…
Monday, still a lot of swelling, so no walk and only truncated exercises, but I made a cast piece with Saturday’s fresh paper & kozo fiber, sitting down. Monday evening, possibly in a delayed reaction, my back went into spasm after dinner, and I spent the evening lying flat on it in a truly foul mood, with a heating pad under me, and the iced ankle up on pillows. Tuesday, the ankle finally looked a bit better and the back spasm had begun to loosen, so I did a gentle, normally-paced walk and all of the exercises except four that require me to stand on one foot, and made a second cast piece while standing, to ease the back. It did, but that meant another evening of iced ankle. Wednesday, a faster walk and the same set of exercises, then back to Chicago for my appointment with the great physical therapist, who was quite concerned about the ankle. Apparently, with the draconian process of an HMO, she can’t even give me advice unless it’s ordered by a doctor, and though she tried, making calls for me, there was no way to get assessed then and there (though my primary doc is in the same complex). Home to a happy man and dog, where I collected a few more materials and ate dinner while avoiding rush hour, then back to Ragdale and more ice (the only advice the PT was allowed to give) and a late night of writing for an outside project. Thursday: up later, walk, exercises, shower, and then out of sheer frustration, I treated myself to an early birthday present: a massage by an excellent practitioner who visits Ragdale weekly on request (and also does acupuncture). She was fantastic with my legs and back, as well as relaxing me; all I wanted to do after was sleep. But, I had an appointment four towns down the North Shore, and that went very well; you’ll be hearing about it soon. Back just in time for dinner and then an evening of writing and ice. Yesterday: walk, exercises, shower, unmolding the castings only to discover some big problems, a labourious afternoon solving said problems (whew) and making repairs, some work on a second project, off to buy wine, and an after dinner sunset porch party at the studio with my fellow residents.
Now, I’m strapping on the brace and am off to walk, exercise and have a lovely long Saturday making more castings and (finally!) doing some experiments. I’m so used to unscheduled Ragdale time that throughout all this, I’ve been struggling mightily with having routines, with devoting so much time to healing my legs…but I can’t do anything without them! The ankle is still stiff, slightly swollen, discolored and sore, and if it’s still that way after the long holiday weekend, so be it: I’m resigned to another long trip to the doctor. Enjoy three days of not-laboring, Yanks with jobs!