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The Dog Days of Camping

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Why you shouldn't pitch a tent if you're Jinxed

I had finally recovered from both knee surgeries, learning to walk again and not look like a penguin doing it. No assistance from walkers or canes either. Stacey even let me drive to the post office once! I was really doing good. Stacey and I were out and about, walking the bridge, taking Billie to the park, doing things that a lot of people take for granted. I was feeling so good, in fact, I had one thing on my mind: camping!

 We made our plans hastily while Stacey was fishing on one of the bridges that you can’t drive over up towards Johnson Creek. It was quite spontaneous. One  second we were talking about how nice the weather was going to be and the next second she was saying “Yeah, that sounds like a plan!” while reeling in her pole. We sped back to my house to pack up our gear. 

Overfilling the truck with all the important camping paraphernalia I thought we needed, I told Stacey, “Hey, let’s take the dogs!” Of course, Sparkles is a male and should not have been allowed on an all-girl trip, a decision I regretted later on in the day. 

We started out up Lightning Creek to a campsite we had scouted out months ago. We pulled into our campsite, set up our tables and chairs and started the fire. I might add, we didn’t really need a fire as it was a warm day, but what is camping without a fire? I was attempting to gather enough fire starter for the next morning, so we could make fire quickly for coffee. Trust me, Stacey without coffee is a national offense! It is so not pretty. 

I will say now, it could have happened anywhere. With anybody. It could have happened at home. Sparkles was still jumping around the camp. It was his first trip out with us and he is still just a puppy. A really big puppy. He was desperate for Aspen to play with him and, as usual, she was just as determined not to. Time moved in slow motion as Sparkles bounced against the back of my legs, causing me to fall forward. I knew I was falling on my brand new knees, so I tried to twist around so my backside would take the brunt of the fall. My backside could take it; I wasn’t sure my knees could! 

Unfortunately, my left ankle wasn’t communicating correctly with my brain, so it didn’t twist with the rest of my body. I screamed. I admit it… I have never screamed so loud or hard as when my knees hit the ground and my ankle dangled off to the side. I was laying face down in the dirt. I actually felt my knees strain against my bones; it kinda felt like Velcro sounds. My ankle was twisted behind me, but all I could think about was my new knees. They are very important knees. 

Stacey was standing over me, not really knowing what to do, not that she could have said anything that I could hear over the sound of my own voice screeching. After a very long few moments, I slowly hushed into sobs so I could apologize to Stacey for making the hair on her head instantly gray and turning her tan white. I asked her, I thought relatively calmly, to straighten out my knees. They felt like they were bent up under my bum. Stacey’s eyes bulged. “Are they still attached?” Stacey practically fainted as she spoke. 

“Yes,” I whimpered, “Just make them straight.” Stacey grabbed my right leg and I am sure she thought it was gently, but I was pretty sure she was trying to finish off my new knees by yanking them straight. Of course, then she was scared to touch me and it didn’t help that every time she did, a new round of moans and groans spurt out of my lungs. 

After assuring her, I did not need an ambulance and I was going to stand up, she finished her job of straightening my legs out. No pain. What a relief to realize my knees were intact. It was also at that very moment I noticed my left ankle just didn’t look quite right. I had Stacey take off my shoe to look at my weird ankle. You shouldn’t do that, just so you know. When my shoe came off, my ankle exploded. I could watch my ankle swell. I only yelled out a few time right then, but man, it really hurt! 

When I stood up, I almost passed out. Stacey drove the truck over to me because I was in too much pain to put any weight on my ankle. I knew it was sprained bad! My knees, however, were perfect.

Before we made it the 14 miles down the mountain, I had already forgiven the dog and was once again allowing the drool to flow. I made it home and, with Stacey and Brad’s help,  inside and to my bed. Go to the hospital? No way! I was tougher than that. Nothing more than a severe sprain, by tomorrow the swelling would be down and I would be fine. 

Let me say right here, if you think you sprained your ankle, just buck up and go to the hospital. If you don’t, you’re gonna be in for a very long night, and I was. Then I had to get up in the morning and call Dr. Tuck and explain to her office why I was out camping when I was j recovering from two knee surgeries. I wasn’t that excited about looking Dr Tuck in the face and telling her what happened. 

As it turns out I didn’t have to. Instead I had to look at the young, good-looking, new male doctor on staff. Yay, me! What an impression I must have made. 

He informed me that my ankle was indeed broken, (because I can’t do anything half way ya know!) I got a removable cast and a referral to another orthopedic surgeon. Really? Again? 

Not happy, I spent the weekend cussing and feeling sorry for myself. Dr. Leedle told me I didn’t need surgery. I cannot even tell you how excited I was! I almost kissed him. He put a huge boot on my left leg. It weighs about 50 pounds and feels like I am dragging a bowling ball around. I returned home and my family ushered me into the house safely, because evidently I am not capable of doing those things on my own. 

Two days later a cold attacked me and bronchitis took over my lungs. A little medication and I am on the mend. Except for one thing. Now I have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, (De. Kym), who did my new knees. You guessed it, young and handsome. Well, poop!

Jinx, who lives up to her name, is always willing to chat. Reach her at [email protected]

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Author info

Jinx Beshears Jinx Beshears is a southern transplant to North Idaho, and shares her confusion with the Pacific Northwest Lifestyle in her column, Jinxed. When not writing, or living, her outlandish stories, she's generally lost somewhere in the mountains with her dog, Aspen.

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camping, dogs, Jinxed, broken ankle

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