Living on a farm brings its own particular pains. When you realize that you shouldn’t have stabbed yourself in the foot with a pitchfork, it makes for a memorable moment. When you realize that forking hay on a hot day while wearing a tanktop, shorts, and flipflops will make every particle of hay in the whole world stick to you in some places you’d rather it didn’t (along with bugs), that’s a memorable moment (as will removing said particles). When you were foolish enough to go to the chicken coop wearing not only toenail polish (with said flipflops) AND a sparkly ankle bracelet . . .well, the bloody wound was pretty memorable too.
Of course, we’re not even going to count the multiple scrapes and bruises that just seem to accumulate. Sure, you lost your balance and grazed your knee on the rickety steps into the coop. Of course, you MEANT to whack your leg with that fencepost. Then there was the “freak” shaving accident when you decided that now might be a good time to shave your legs, lest your husband think he married a cactus. Oh yeah, and don’t wear your Wellies without socks. Your ankles will get sores, but those don’t count.
One of the worst possible things you can do is to twist your ankle. Believe me, I came by it honestly. I was playing Monster Mommy with the kids (which involves me stomping around and growling “I’m gonna GET YOU” while they run and scream. It usually ends in a good ticklefest. Well, this time, I managed to forget about the steps in the kitchen. I missed one. My (yep, you guessed it) flipflop skidded out from under me, and I took quite a tumble.
To my kids’ credit, they wanted to help me up. I figured that I was rather beyond that. Good thing I managed to only croak “OUCH” instead of the myriad other phrases that popped to mind that would have made a sailor blush. I’m glad I knew where my Ace bandage was. Within minutes, I became a hobbling vehicle of pain. Sure, I put ice on it and took some ibuprofen. Yep, I wrapped it up, and was very proud of the idea of cutting the toe end off of an unmatched sock to keep my bandage clean. So there I sat. Ice, Compression, Elevation. Every step was sheer agony. I cursed the day I thought that I could keep up with 8 pens of poultry, 2 horses, 2 rabbits, and 2 dogs (plus all the cats). How in the heck am I going to take care of them?
When you have a twisted ankle, you suddenly rediscover every last hole in the yard that you meant to fill in. Your injured foot finds every single bit of uneven ground on your property that you always meant to do something about. Never before in your life have you been more aware of possible pitfalls, looking for available handholds, or figuring out how to stand up from a chair without crying out. I know you seniors out there know all about this.
Then there’s setting up your table for farmers’ market (shameless plug here: I’m set up in Marion Central Park Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings—ask me about eggs!). Dragging your table from the truck. Setting up your merchandise. Walking way farther than you really should. Dragging it all back to your truck. Afterwards, you can come home and hobble back down to the chicken pens to check them, drag the hose to water the horses, and still chase kids . . .albeit slower than before. Chores take twice as long as before—after all, you’re not striding out there, you’re hobbling. You're trying to watch out for those holes, and finding some of them the hard way. And of course, you’re out there in 100 degree heat. Gosh, next time I twist my ankle, I’ll make sure I do it when the daily high is under 70. Sweat and Ace bandages just don’t mix. Standing at the sink and doing dishes? Standing at the stove and making fried chicken? Let’s just not talk about that. It's making my foot hurt just thinking about it.
I’m so glad that my hubby is willing to step in for me. After all, Ibuprofen really doesn’t help if you re-injure yourself. I’ll just have to show him the secret spots in the coop where the goofy chickens sometimes lay eggs, but he’s learning fast. He's awesome at forking hay to the horses. I honestly don't know what I'd do without him.
So at least for now, my foot doesn’t look like a black and blue mutant marshmallow. I’m still moving slowly, but I’m still moving. Watch your step, folks (especially when you play Monster Mommy)!