August 6, 2019

The formula for achieving a successful relationship is simple: you should treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster.

-Quentin Crisp


It’s dark. I’m out walking Waldo, just getting back to our building.   There’s a series of cement stairs leading down a hill to the front door. Not paying adequate attention to where I put my feet, I set my right foot on the edge of one of the steps, put my weight on it and more than the front half of my foot is supported by nothing but air. My toes go down, flexing my ankle forward in a totally unnatural angle. I fall to the ground and immediately know I have seriously sprained my ankle. Goddammit!

Waldo sees that I’m down, runs over to me, does a quick doggy triage and decides that I’m not on death’s door and returns to his mission, whatever that is. I lay there for a couple of minutes, doing a systems’ check. I’m pretty sure nothing is broken, so, with some effort, I stand and gingerly try putting some weight on that foot. It will support my weight, but it’s telling me to straight leg it – no bending the ankle. I hobble back to the apartment, take Waldo off-leash and send him to bed (it is his bedtime). I sit in my chair, recline back and do a quick physical exam of my right ankle. It’s tender and I know the pain will get worse, but I’m now certain that nothing is broken.   But it’s going to mean no prolonged walks for at least ten days, maybe longer. Damn.

What am I going to do with a dog that’s as hyperactive as Waldo? Just a few weeks ago, Waldo’s surgery restricted what we could do and we had to live with a cone-of shame. His resilience was remarkable. Now, walks again are out, except for short poop and pee jaunts around the building. Prolonged standing is out, so any playtime we have will have to be modified so it’s done from my chair with my foot up. No dog parks because once I put him off-leash, I’ll never be able to get him back on-leash when I can’t walk worth a damn. I just hope the poor dog can hold it together for ten days – or more. Before I took care of him, will he now take care of me, at least by happily allowing his activities to be limited? I feel really bad for him.

Next day, Waldo wakes me a little after six and tells me he has to go out. I get dressed as quickly as I can and carefully and slowly go down the stairs. Once outside, Waldo races off to the end of the leash as he always does. I give him a gentle tug when he gets there to ensure he doesn’t pull me off balance. The last thing we need is for me to injure the ankle even worse. It’s hard enough to walk on the cement walkway, but the uneven turf we have to cross causes the ankle to flex ever so slightly, which hurts like hell. Waldo runs about, gathering up his woodchips and sticks and makes the best of it. I don’t go far, it takes about twenty minutes to go around the building twice, but Waldo is able to run around at the end of the leash so that he gets almost as much exercise as if we were doing our regular walk.   I take him about every two hours. Somehow, we manage.

Inside is something more of a challenge. He grabs one of his balls and brings it over to my good foot. He holds it in his mouth and tries to tempt me to knock it free. He doesn’t fetch worth a damn. He either plays tug-of-war or keep away. He does, however, get close enough to my good foot so I can, on occasion, knock the ball free. We play tug-of -war with a couple pieces of rope, but if I let go of it, he won’t bring it back so we can continue. I have a laser pointer and he loves to chase after the little red dot. He looks up at the hand that is holding the pointer and seems to know that it’s where the light is coming from, but he doesn’t seem to care. He would pursue it all day if I didn’t tire of the game. When I’m writing, Waldo goes about the apartment, trying to find something to entertain himself with and I have to keep a close eye on him so he doesn’t get in trouble. Somehow, we make adjustments in adversity to each other and our needs.

We are a team.

Bored. Bored. Bored.

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