Sunday, August 28, 2011

Italian Life in a Leg Cast

It's been 24 days since my operation. My stitches were taken out yesterday. The doctor says that everything is proceeding well. I still have two more weeks of life in a cast and another 25 days after that of life being every step=1 leg + 2 crutches. I'm at that horrible halfway point. I look back and say, "That was boring," or, "That was difficult." Now I have more of the same to look forward to.

I spent just under 3 weeks trapped in a house with a beautiful view. I spent the longest time ever of my personal history in the mountains with sunny weather, yet crippled. I watched the sun rise and set in a hot blue sky everyday except for two. Meanwhile I could only watch the good weather from the terrace. Sunbathing was the best I could do to enjoy the great weather. Now I have a tan only on my arms, chest and tummy: the classic sunning chair position.

This year's experience was especially ironic because I have been coming to this location in the Dolomites in August for a decade and this was the first year that it didn't rain for at least 60% of the vacation. Some years, the percentage hit 90%. Instead it was sunny EVERYDAY this time. It rained a couple of times, but it was either sunny before or after the storm.

Leaving that house proved extremely tricky and tiring because of the street outside. The house is located in the oldest part of town and has a narrow and steep walkway that is several yards up or down from the nearest parking area. It's part of the charm, but you always have to walk it. In snow. In ice. On crutches. Even as the mountain climber I have become in recent years, I was huffing and puffing after short distances of navigating the stone walkway carefully and very physically with crutches.

A view of the stone walkway accessing several houses in the Dolomite region

In total, after almost 3 weeks, I left the house 5 times.

Streets like this one are part of the marvel of Italy, but prove potentially hazardous when you are not physcially fit. It's why the bel paese is una sfida (a challenge) for anyone who is handicapped. I am lucky this condition is only temporary.

But do not dispair. If you do find that you have handicapped concerns while travelling in Italy, read this Slow Travel article for insight and useful links. As the author says, it's possible but you need patience and a good sense of humor. (I wish I had some of that right now.)

Currently I am back in Padua where the terrain is flat. My new challenge is accessing my condo which is a 2-floor walk-up.


  1. Hadn't visit in a while, sorry, but I came back to your block and found you had an accident! Take care... I've had casts a few times back in Venezuela, so I know how frustrating crutches can be. Hope you heal up soon!

    P.D. Loving Genova so far. Il pesto alla genovese is great! haha.

  2. Bernie, I am glad Genoa is working out for you. That's another city with quite a lot of hilly terrain full of steps which would be quite a challenge for me now! I am learning how to do more and more with crutches, but wish I didn't have to use them at all, of course. Ciao!