[Fourth installment  – Here’s the 1st, 2nd and 3rd- of my 8 months pregnant with 2 broken legs journey as chronicled in my book Say Bump and Take a Left, How I Birthed a Baby and a Business after a Huge Bump in the Road.]

Chapter 2
Incontinence and a Walker

I have learned a few things about myself in the 40+ years I have lived.  I happily admit to being stubborn, impatient and fiercely independent.  All three of these characteristics were the result of my innate personality and living with my controlling father for the first 18 years of my life – another story that has been lived and retold by countless others.  Now, I was faced with the inability to move without assistance.  Two of those three character flaws I just mentioned had to be abandoned.  A myth told by Joseph Campbell that kept ringing in my ears goes something like, “Be careful when casting out your demons, lest you cast out the best part of yourself.”  So, my stubbornness I clung to.

I was actually very lucky in that I had a walking cast on my right leg which allowed me to stand flamingo-like on that leg.  How appropriate that this was the leg with my pink cast.  I would not put any of my considerable weight on my left ankle however – thinking about “surgery” while pregnant had me following the Doctor’s orders like a Star Wars Clone.

How did I get around you ask?   A wheel chair was the first option, until I pictured the walls of my house being demolished and said, “No Thanks, what else?”  We lived in a 1600 square foot tract home with a standard hallway connecting the bedrooms and garage to the front rooms and kitchen.  Our home had a typical 3 bedroom/2 bath floor plan fit into a neat little box shape with no room for grand hallways and entrances.  We have since remodeled and removed the hallway to open the house entirely.  A day late and two casts short, as they say, but nice all the same.

Next I was offered crutches.

PLEASE, PEOPLE!  Being off balance with this big bump in front of me was the cause of the accident in the first place!  What, you want me to break my neck too?!  Instead, I was given a walker.  Yes, a walker.  You know, the things you see little old ladies using when they go out on the town.

No I didn’t put tennis balls on the bottom!

I was instructed not to “hop” when I used the walker.  I was supposed to pick up the walker while balancing on my right foot, move it forward about a foot, place it on the ground, lift the heaviest part of my leaning body off the ground using the support of my hands on the sides of the walker, swing my right leg forward into the open end of the walker and gently place my right foot on the ground again to support my weight, all the while not allowing my left foot to touch the ground.  The bottom half of my body had an additional 50 pounds attached to it with my already curvy figure, the weight of the baby hotel and the casts so in essence, I became a human pendulum.  I could just see myself flat on my ass again with the first attempt.  Forget moving the walker a foot, I started with about 3”.  Several times I hit the front of the walker with my swinging right foot, and hoped like hell my arms would hold until I came to a full and complete stop.  Let’s see how strong you are when you are doing the equivalent of a push up with 50 extra pounds on your body every time you take a step.  Not hop?! Yeah, right!  If you can believe it, I actually lost weight in my eighth month of pregnancy.  There were two good reasons for this:

I couldn’t readily reach food whenever the mood or craving struck, and asking my husband to do my grazing for me was just sad.
Every time I did move, it was like I was attending water aerobics class minus the flowered swim caps and the water.  My breath, like my dignity escaped me in gasps.

Do I really need to tell you how often I had to pee at this stage of pregnancy?  Add that to the fact that I now moved at turtle speed, and it was obvious that the first “hop” on the way to the bathroom was going to open the flood gates.

So much for keeping the casts clean and dry.

A phone call to the hospital, and I happily was introduced to a bedside commode.

My husband also became intimately acquainted with this device when he had to empty and clean it twice a day.

On more than one occasion, I got a disgusted look from Duane as he attempted to carry, without spilling on our newly cleaned carpets, a too full commode to the toilet to dump it after a particularly productive night.  Think about it . . . you ladies who have had babies know what comes out after you deliver with an episiotomy.  My husband absolutely deserves a medal since I was still using this wonderful commode until my newborn was four weeks old!  At least I know he will take care of me in my old age.  Actually, when I’m 80 years old, soaking my teeth and forgetting his name, he might just say, “Hey Babe, I did my time 40 years ago, you’re on your own!”

~Mary Kathryn Johnson
Author ~ Entrepreneur ~ Mom