August 27, 2019

Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.

-Allen Saunders


Well, dammit!

The day after the first day of about 1.5 miles, we ventured 2 miles down the rail-trail. I’ve been wearing hiking boots on the trail in order to preserve the ortho-boot, which I use the other times I’m on my feet. Even so, things seemed to be going well, so the next day we went three. Our prior routine is pulling at us like the irresistible force, ergo, we then went to four and I was thinking about extending it to five the next day, which is today. After four miles, however, my ankle began to hurt a bit more than when we started out. Today, it hurts, not terribly, but uncomfortably. This may be exacerbated by the fact that late last night, Waldo and I were caught in a downpour and the ortho-boot got soaked. Now, I can’t wear it at all until it dries out. A good portion of the thing is foam rubber and this is taking a while. The ortho-boot fixes my ankle so I can’t hardly flex it and that allows the joint and its ligaments to rest. Without it, the pain in my ankle is slowly getting worse. Discretion wins out over hubris and we are resting for a day — that is, no prolonged walks — and then we will see how it goes. God, it’s taking a long time to heal.

Waldo is being a real trooper and, although I’m certain he’s aching to get back to the rail-trail, as am I, he does the best he can entertaining himself in the apartment. He seems to have found a black hole in here, however, or maybe it’s that place where lost socks disappear, as many of his bones, antlers, balls and other toys can’t be found. I’ve looked under the tables, chairs, couches and the bed, in closets and in every nook and cranny I can see and can’t find them. I’m thinking I won’t find them until a good spring cleaning is done, which, like so many things, is going to wait until my ankle heals a bit more. Today, I bought him more toys. I even sprayed the building around the balcony with some stuff dogs are supposed to avoid in order to encourage him not to eat the place and I’ve let him go back out there. So far, so good. He’s tolerant, although it’s obvious he’s raring to go.

This has given us the impetus to work on games like fetch. Waldo loves to play keep-away, which is okay, except his idea of the game is to make me chase him around, trying to get at whatever we’re playing with. That’s something I tire of pretty quickly, so I’m trying to get him to return toys when I throw them. This is a real challenge because that’s not the game he wants to play. So far, it’s a work in progress, a negotiation, an admixture of fetch and tug-of-war, but at least he’s bringing the toy within reach where I can get it without running after him. And it helps keep him entertained and deepens our bond to one another.

The damn rail-trail is just over there, just a mile away. On the trail we can go about our business, be entertained, get exercise and enjoy each other for hours, until we’re pleasantly exhausted. We can be in nature, a part of the greening world with all its sights and smells. We can meet other people who also enjoy going out for a walk, and encounter other dogs who are eager to play. And that’s to say nothing of the possibility of finding a rabbit, squirrel or chipmunk to pursue.   It’s not fair! And all this is due to a minor indiscretion, a moment of inattention while walking down the stairs. Life is so unforgiving – heavy sigh. Convalescence sucks.

Waldo’s nudging my arm as I write this. He wants to go out. I take him out about every two hours and stumble along, dealing with whatever pain arises. This way, he gets at least some limited stimulation the outdoors has to offer – as do I. That’s not much, but it’s something.

Maybe tomorrow, my ankle will feel good enough to do the 1.5 miles.

Ah, dog, this sucks.

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