A few years ago, Lynn McElfresh wrote an article in TI Life demonstrating the breadth of resources on Grenell Island. That idea was reinforced when my sister, Georgia, came to visit over Labor Day weekend.
We were walking around the back of the island, sister, cousin, dog, and me, when Georgia rolled her left ankle on the uneven path. She protected her head but landed on her right knee—badly. It took a few moments before she could sort out what hurt the most.
RICE—Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation—was the first step. Within five minutes, she was in a chair with an icepack of frozen peas on her knee.
As I ran home to leave the dog and get a set of walking sticks, a neighbor asked what was wrong, and then said he’d bring the golf cart. Golf cart! Great! As the group slowly made our way back to the cottage, other neighbors came out on their porches to inquire, and we were showered with ice packs. We got Georgia up the stairs and onto the couch and I took a deep breath.
Pain management was next. Mindful of drug interactions, Georgia was careful about what she would take. Over the counter drugs were enough.
The River was high, very choppy, and she would have to go down 24 steps to get into the boat, so we decided to forego a trip to Urgent Care. Ice packs and ACE bandages, both 2” and 4”, were the next step. We had the 2-inch, borrowed the 4-inch”, then my cousin wrapped both ankle and knee, and we settled in for a quiet afternoon.
The next day, another neighbor asked if a wheelchair might be useful. Wheelchair? Well, her mother used it in her later years, and they never took it back. Mobility! So, afternoon rides on the sidewalk, and occasional walking back to the cottage using the trekking sticks were undertaken. Then a nap.
With the swelling diminishing, and the pain manageable, the next challenge was to get Georgia home. How to get her in a boat? All the pontoon boats on the island were already put up for the season. I asked a neighbor who had a workboat if it was a walk-on, but the answer was no. I started to call around for a water taxi when an incoming call changed everything. The workboat had a special set of wide steps AND the gunwale was even with the dock. Would that work? Two steps down and two steps up, plus people to hold and to catch. Done!
Back home, the x-rays showed a small break as part of the sprain and a broken kneecap on the other leg. Full recovery is expected, and she’ll be back next summer. The Grenell community rose to the challenge once again!
By Pat Carpenter, Grenell Island
Pat Carpenter is part of a seven-generation Grenell family. Since retiring a few years ago, she has been able to live in her bucket list!