The trip started out so perfect. Dad was coming out…we had a lake house in the Catskills rented…and we were going to take him to #1 on his Bucket List, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The house was perfect–middle of nowhere. The thing I liked best was the”spotty internet” description. A week off the grid, heaven. There were boats–a kayak came with the place, we’d brought along another one borrowed from my friend Joan, and there was a paddleboat. Seemed like a nice paddleboat. At the time.
Day 1: Chilling at the house. Swimming in the lake, grilling, relaxing.
Day 2: Baseball Hall of Fame! David, Sam and I really aren’t a baseball family, but Dad loved it. And niece Beatrice did a pretty good job of imitating the the statues outside.
Day 3: We did other things…but my favorite part of the day was taking a walk along a country road, as Dad told me what each flower and bush was. How did he know them all? He said he set out years ago to learn all the native wildflowers of Western Illinois…and most were the same here in New York. To me, this hour-long walk was the reason for the whole trip. Cooperstown may have been on his Bucket List, but spending a morning like that was on mine.
Day 4, day: Trip to Oneonta. Scenic drive, college town, a great bookstore, beer outside. Beautiful.
Day 4, evening: Looked like rain and for some reason, I felt the need to pull the boats in. Boats? Getting wet? How could that be bad? They’re boats–it’s what they do. Still, I went down to the dock, looked at both kayaks, and decided, nah, they’re too small…I’m going to pull in the paddleboat. The biggest, heaviest, most sturdy boat. The one that would survive a Catskills rain storm just fine tied up to the dock. Boat…being pulled in….by the rope in front….along the lake shore….it’s a little slippery….and Cheri’s foot gives way. Heard a snap as it buckled under itself right on the ankle.
….And she’s down. Tried to stand. Not happening. “Sam!” “Dave!” “Help!” “HEY! ANYBODY THERE!” All I could think about was that Andrew Wyeth painting–Cristina’s World–where she’s crawling up to the house and nobody’s there. Only, they were there. They were just inside. Watching Big Bang Theory. Because the Internet wasn’t spotty that night. Seriously, the first time the kids watched TV the whole week…and it’s when I’m on my butt, unable to walk. “Saaaaaammmmm” “Hellllllpppp!!!” Finally the screen door opens, they come running down, and realize I actually am pretty much hurt. After contemplating first using the kayak paddle as a crutch and then considering putting me actually IN the kayak and pulling me up to the house, David decides to bring the Forester down. Loaded me in like an old sow, took me up and off to the emergency room.
Day 4: night into morning: The emergency room back in in Oneonta was actually not terrible, except the guy in the bed next to us who kept moaning, “Ooooh….I need medication…..I’m in pain….why am I here…..?” That sort of comes with the territory in any emergency room, so we didn’t freak. It actually gave us something to listen to. The Australian doctor tried to explain to David how to put on the Ice Bandage. He kept asking her, how do you get the ice in the Bandage? Finally she had to tell him she was talking about an Ace Bandage, it was just her accent. Sam was texting Bea and Dad a running commentary from the waiting room, and when we finally left, the diagnosis was contusions, a bad sprain, and what looked like a bone chip or fracture. Problem is, there are so many little bones in your foot, they can’t tell much from x-rays. Turns out, my fracture was one of the mid-bones kind of close to the ankle. One of the talus bones. Once I heard that, suddenly, it started hurting. A lot. Maybe because Dr. Ice Bandage put it in an actual plaster-of-paris cast and told me to stay off it. She also gave me crutches and told me to stay off it, because, in her words, “Ya don’t mess with feet.”
To be continued……