Oh, the quiet wind-down of the year. There is frost on the roofs of the houses across the street this morning. New Year's Eve. The last day of 2007.
It's been wonderful having the past couple of weeks off. Absolutely wonderful. Christmas was quiet and lovely. We spent Christmas Eve at my sister's beautiful new house. The highlight of the evening was Arden, our nine-year-old niece, passing out the crochet presents she'd been secretly working on for weeks. I know I've said it before, but this girl truly is a crocheting wunderkind. As we opened our presents (pictured here are the hat and scarf she made for Frances the polar bear, and all without a pattern) pure amazement was expressed as we looked at each thing she'd made entirely on her own, with no help from anyone — a hat, a round pillow, a bracelet, a scarf, a stuffed bear for her brother, and juggling balls — and a collective cheer went up for our girl. It was my favorite moment of Christmas.
Thank you for all your kind Christmas comments and well-wishes and the beautiful cards and presents. Egads, so kind of you — thank you. It all gave me such a sweet, warm glow to carry through the holiday. I've spent the past week quietly crocheting, soaking up the wind-down of the year, reflecting and planning things for the next one. Nevertheless, a worry was plaguing me. My bad foot had not been feeling right since November. I tried to push it to the back of my mind, since there were so many other things going on, but for a couple of weeks a small bump had been looming on my ankle. I tried to stay off my foot, hoping it would disappear. By last week it could not be denied. It was popping up in a place that was held together by lots of plates and screws, where my bones were put back together at the time of my accident in 1998. Last week I went to see my regular doctor, who referred me to the orthopedist; because of the holiday I wouldn 't be able to get in until this coming Wednesday. But by early Sunday morning, the bump looked big and angry, and had developed a tiny, weeping hole, so, once again, we headed up the hill to the ER.
Eight a.m. Sunday morning at the ER felt oddly comforting and familiar. To say I was "nervous" doesn't begin to describe it. I think the clinical term is "very, very, very-very-very nervous." My blood pressure and pulse were insane. While the docs drew blood, asked questions, took x-rays, and looked concerned, I quaked with anxiety until someone gave me an Ativan. Under warm blankets, I took deep breaths and watched "Christmas in Yellowstone" and held Andy's hand, all of which helped to calm me. Slightly. Hours passed. People in scrubs and coats came and went. Sometime in the afternoon, the very kind orthopedic surgeon appeared to talk to us and said, as they usually do to me, "Well, there's something very unusual on your x-ray."
"It seems a drill bit is trying to get out of your ankle."
"[I'm giving up swearing for new year's so I won't repeat here the long string of very creative expletives that whizzed through my brain upon receiving this news.]"
I won't go into the details either, but basically at the time of my original surgeries, a drill bit had broken off and stuck into bone. When that happens, they leave it there, if it looks like it won't cause any problems. And it didn't, for almost ten years, though who knows how long it's been trying to work its way out. By the time the surgeon removed it yesterday, the tip of it was actually coming through the skin.When I got home, I told my friend Elizabeth this story. She screamed appropriately (thank you, E) and then said, "So your ankle was like 'Pa-tooey!' and . . . spit it out." Prrrrretty much, yeah.
Everything's good now. I am fine and feeling more relieved than I can say. Turns out having a drill bit in your ankle is actually not as bad as some of the other problems I was imagining! Of all the things I was imagining, I will admit that I hadn't considered that there might be a tool coming out of my body. Luckily, it came out without any trouble and now just has to heal up. Nevertheless, it is my fervent wish to stay out of trouble for the rest of 2007. To that end, I plan to stay on the sofa all day, cuddling Frances (above) and Clover (video and photos coming soon, just haven't had time), eating shrimp cocktail and homemade eggrolls (thank you Andy), and watching movies, the New Year's Eve ones you guys recommended last year.
Be well, everybody, and a very, very Happy New Year to you all!