Persons, places and things: Taking a ‘break’


By Barb Arland-Fye


Running on ice has not become a new Olympic sport and yes, skating is more appropriate for icy surfaces. That answers two questions that colleagues posed after learning I had broken my leg while running on icy sidewalks in downtown LeClaire on Valentine’s Day. A punster at the Chancery (Bishop Martin Amos, according to my sources) suggested this column should be titled “Taking a Break.”
Laughter definitely eases the pain of a serious injury, and I know that God has sent many angels to accompany me on the journey toward healing, especially my husband, my family and my staff at The Catholic Messenger.
Steve had no idea when he handed me a Valentine’s Day card that morning how much quality time we’d be spending together. I took off for a walk/run while he took off for a nap after working until the wee hours of the morning.
A longtime runner, I’ve had to cut back the last several years because of back and leg pain. But visits to my chiropractor made running more enjoyable in recent months. After walking a couple of miles, I ran. That familiar sense of exhilaration and freedom kicked in, prompting an extra “leg” to the run on the sidewalks of downtown LeClaire. A thin layer of snow covered icy sidewalks, forcing me to slow down – but not enough. I lost my balance and went flying. A sickening snap accompanied my landing. My right leg angled to the right and a thick round bulge appeared above the ankle, as if a bone had popped out of place. I tried to negotiate with God to hit the rewind button and edit out the fall!
Instead, an ambulance whisked me away to the hospital, and I fretted as the EMT cut off my Under Armour (a brand of running tights) to tend to my broken leg.
Steve, who woke up and answered a telephone call from the police department, caught up with me at the hospital. I grabbed his hand and held tight. The bones that connect my right foot and leg were broken. The emergency room doctor manipulated the bones while I was sedated, put my leg in a cast and sent me home with plenty of pain medication and a pair of crutches. Surgery may be required, but because of swelling in the leg, that decision will wait until this week.
Prior to sending us home, the nurse instructed Steve on how to take care of me. “Don’t let her do anything without you at her side,” the nurse said.
“This is a Valentine’s Day we’ll never forget,” Steve said cheerfully as he half-lifted me from the car into the house to avoid a fall on the snow-covered driveway. For the rest of the day — the whole weekend, in fact — Steve has become my “legs.”  We must look like a couple of clowns – me hobbling along on crutches with Steve hovering like a helicopter to prevent another fall.
Steve told a fellow Knight of Columbus that he’s adjusting to his new role as “Barb’s man servant.” And I’m adjusting to my new role as “queen of the couch!” I’ve taken a break, but with God’s grace, I’ll be back!

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