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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Odd Sock Club

by Janie Van Komen

December 20th, 2005, was my self-designated day to finalize my Christmas preparations. After informing all my married children that I would not be available for the next 12 hours to tend any grandchildren, run errands, or offer advice, I overloaded my garbage cans with anything that even remotely resembled trash, fortifying the house for the Christmas barrage of trappings set to explode upon us in less than a week.

Pulling the handle of the heavy wheeled garbage can behind me, I started for the curb where the garbage truck would pick it up in a couple of hours. Just as I stepped onto the slightly sloping area of my driveway I slipped, fell down, and broke my left leg. The leg twisted under my body with the left foot sticking out from under my right leg. As I fell the garbage can set down hard on its base, however, being on a slope it teetered about one split second and came crashing down with the handle smashing that exposed left foot at the ankle.

In a single moment I went from being perfectly healthy, capable, and mobile, to a prostrated position of so much pain that I couldn’t even get my body into a crawling stance. Knowing I was home alone and nobody was coming or calling, I rolled over on my belly and pulled myself across the ice covered driveway, back into my house where I could use the phone to call for help.

Two surgeries later the tally totaled: my tibia broken in three places with a large chunk to be reattached; the fibula broken on the front and the back; the ankle was completely displaced and had to be rebuilt; the heel was broken, and the foot was dislocated more than ninety degrees in the wrong direction.

Christmas came and went. I vaguely noticed that some people got the wrong gifts but I was too ill to care. The New Year came and went. I had not resolutions except to get through each day, hoping tomorrow might bring some relief. The pain was relentless and as the days and weeks passed I wondered if there could be anything redeeming about what I was going through.

“Oh, pain can be so purifying,” one visitor said to me.

I didn’t feel pure. I just hurt a lot. I didn’t feel noble, brave, special, or able to endure it well, which were also comments made by well wishers. I felt miserable, and I was unable to concentrate on anything except how much pain I was in.

“You’ve got to find some bright spot in all of this,” somebody said to me, “or else you might have to do it all over again until you do.”

That perked up my ears...Do it over again? No way! I had to find a bright spot or die trying. I was definitely not going to do this over again if I had any say in the matter.

And then it hit me...I knew what my bright spot was. With that big black boot cast on my left foot, I could wear any odd sock on my right one. I was now in position to be President of the Odd Sock Club.

For years I have wondered what a person could do with all the odd socks that seem to multiply with every load of laundry, and now I know. If you only have one foot to wear a sock on, you can wear all those socks who have lost their partners and have been stuffed into bags, buckets, or drawers awaiting some kind of future.

Okay, maybe for some people this wouldn’t be considered a really bright spot, but for me in the state I’ve been in, it’s the best I could do.

Copyright 2006 Janie Van Komen