Posted by: Debra Kolkka | April 1, 2021

Home again

It is lovely to be home from hospital! Everyone at the hospital was great. The nurses were endlessly patient and efficient and never made me feel anything was too much trouble.

I love to be independent, but sometimes you just have to let other people do things for you, particularly when you are in traction.

Shortly after being x-rayed in hospital and it was discovered that I had a broken fibula and a dislocated ankle, a doctor appeared with an instrument that looked a bit like a drill. He then produced a sealed packet from which he pulled a thin steel rod. My foot was anaesthetised, he said “Don’t look” and he shot the steel rod through my heel. It was cut to length, screws were attached and a 5 kilo weight was added to put my foot in traction where it stayed for 3 days. I did shut my eyes.

On Monday morning I was wheeled to surgery, given an epidural and my body from the waist down seemed to float off into the distance. With both arms spread out beside me I imagined myself to be floating in the sea at Noosa and let everything go by. I did hear a few buzzing noises which I suppose were screws being put in place. I could hear quiet conversations but is was all quite peaceful.

Once the surgery was over I could gradually feel my legs returning and I was wheeled back to the room. There was not a great deal of pain and painkillers were freely available if I needed them.

I was able to come home on Wednesday. The ever wonderful Filippo collected me from the hospital, picked up my drugs and brought me home to Casa Debbio.

Lucky me! I have my friend Sarah here to help me. She is extremely efficient and caring and is an excellent cook. My left foot is to have no weight put on it at all until the 6th May when the cast comes off and a screw is taken out of my ankle.

I have learned to navigate using crutches that Vittorio appeared with soon after I got home. With those and strategically placed chairs I can get around. I go up the stairs backwards on my bottom. It is easier coming down.

This morning I got to sit outside on the terrace in front of the house.

The cherry tree has blossomed in the 6 days I have been away.

Wisteria is about to bloom.

My first sewing job was to make a sock to cover the white gauze on my foot or it will be grubby in no time.

It is good to be home. Tuscany is most likely a red zone until mid April, so I wouldn’t be going anywhere anyway.



  1. I am so sorry to hear this, Debbie. Casa Debbio looks like heaven at this time of year and it appears time to simply be

    • I certainly won’t be pushing myself. I need to get through the next 6 weeks as quietly and calmly as possible.

  2. I know how you feel. I slipped in the garden last September and broke my ankle in two placese (two pins and a plate) and was in wheelchair for six weeks (due to not being able to manage crutches for some reason!). Medicos were not going to let me go home as I had 16 stairs to navigate. Luckily the Physio did an assessment and due to my gardening (lifting bags of compost etc) my arms were strong enough to allow me to access home by going up the stairs backwards on my backside using my arms! My fall happened a week after we signed a contract to sell and what did we do in March? Bought a property on 2 acres with slopes! Did buy a pair of work boots which hopefully will help in keeping me upright. All the best for a speedy recovery, it is a long process but you are in a beautiful spot with kind people to help. Best Wishes,

    • Thank you. I’m doing the backwards up the stairs thing. It’s OK. I am lucky to have help! My land is all slopes and terraces so I will hire a wheelchair on my next hospital visit. I’m not going out there on crutches!

  3. I’m so glad you are back at home, with someone to look after you. Heal well!

    • Thank you. It is great to have Sarah here and Filippo is here working in the garden most days.

  4. Oh Deb, the joys of loving and working in the garden. Our thoughts are with you during your recovery. Enjoy those spring flowers and keep the photos coming. We have no idea when we will be able to tend to our garden in the Lunigiana again but your photos help. Take care

    • I will be taking things very slowly and carefully. I want my ankle back! I’m going to hire a wheelchair when I go for a hospital visit next week so I can get outside a bit more easily. There are no level surfaces here, I won’t be doing it on crutches.

  5. Feeling for you, Deb , but pleased that you are being so sensible. Enjoy looking at your beautiful garden. Take care and stay safe. xx

    • The last thing I want to do is fall over and make this worse so I am doing very little. I have had plenty of practice over the last year at staying home!

  6. Good to see you are home and Sarah to help you – what an amazing friend
    Rest up and enjoy your beautiful surroundings – Brisbane is an orange zone at the moment

    • I am lucky to have friends to help. This would be just about impossible alone. Time to be still for a while.

  7. Good to hear you are home and on the road to recovery, thank goodness for friends. Sounds like your hospital experience went a lot smoother than it would have here! Be careful in that wheelchair on those slopes. Take it easy, enjoy spring from a seated perspective for a change.

    • It has been an experience. Not everything was great at the hospital, but the important things were. I would call it frill-less. I will allow myself to be pushed in the wheelchair. I don’t want to do anything that might slow down the healing.

  8. Ouch! Tricky times! Heal well and quickly Deb. You have a great team of helpers and the perfect recuperation spot.

    • Ouch indeed. How lucky I am that it is spring and I can watch my garden.

  9. So sorry to hear about your fall and surgery. I am glad that you are back home and have help there. You seem to be in good spirits, which will help in your recovery. I like the sock you made for your cast 😉

    • I just happy to be home and surrounded by lovely people. I feel very lucky. Bring on may 6th!

  10. Glad to hear you are home and recuperating. It is good you have such wonderful friends around you, especially when your family are unable to be there. Take care on those stairs, and on all those slopes outside. Wishing you a speedy and as painless a recovery as possible.

    • Thank you. I think the wheelchair will be good for outside. I have no intention of trying it on crutches! I will be taking things very slowly and carefully.

  11. Oh, poor you, you have had a terrible time. It does sound though that you had the best possible treatment in hospital (which sounded quite horrendous). So lucky your gardener was around when it happened, especially as you were alone. A few years ago, I had a foot op. and got around with a senior walking frame with my knee (bad leg) on the seat, and wheeled myself around. Worked a treat. I hated the uncomfortable crutches. Please you have someone with you to help you and keep you company. Hope your injury gets better soon and be kind to yourself.
    Have a peaceful Easter.

    • I don’t like the crutches either, but I can manage small distances. I won’t go further than the front terrace outside. Apart from that there isn’t a flat surface outside. The last thing I want to do is make this worse. Thank you for your thoughts.

  12. Take care of yourself. Hopefully the great views will help with your recovery.

    • My beautiful garden will help enormously. My peonies are about to bloom and the wisteria is well on the way. I am very lucky to be in a great place.

  13. Take good care of yourself Deb.

    • I certainly will. I want this to be over as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

  14. Egads! Horrid that your leg was damaged but joy for the great care you have received. My new hip will installed on 20 April and I come out of rehab around 5 May. I will use your trick of going up stairs on my bum – good idea! I don’t like that you could hear the drilling.
    Rest up and heal.

    • A new hip will be excellent. I hope your recovery goes well and that you are back on your feet quickly. It is not much fun to be incapacitated. I’m sure you will get lots of help along the way. This is not the time to try to be independent.

  15. Well all the best to you .I am just about to put my foot in the beautiful waters of Noosa!

    • Lucky you! Have a swim for me at Little Cove, my favourite place in the world.

  16. So pleased that your hospital visit was positive Debra. I wish you a speedy recovery. Great that you have some help. Saluti. xx

    • I now have experience of Italian health care and I can see that it is very good. I will be taking the next few weeks very slowly and carefully in the hope that my ankle mends well.

  17. How wonderful you were able to return to Casa Debbio. I thought you were destined to return to your apartment by the river. Wouldn’t have been terrible but so much better to recuperate in the fresh mountain air surrounded by your peaceful gardens and stunning vistas. So glad to hear the surgery went well. Now sending thoughts for a perfect recovery.
    And lots of patience.

    • I will need patience. I am not accustomed to sitting around doing nothing. 5 weeks of doing very little is not the end of the world. I will get there.

  18. Wishing you a quick recovery!

    • Thank you. At least it is spring and I can watch my garden grow.

  19. Your positivity will help make your recovery easier! At least it is Spring and wine is available. Best of luck for a speedy recovery.

    • There isn’t much point being negative. I am surrounded by lovely friends and a beautiful place. I am very lucky.

  20. When I broke my ankle I rented a knee scooter that helped tremendously. You put your injured leg on the scooter and use your good leg to maneuver around. I don’t know if they have them in Italy.

    • A friend told me about these. They look great. I haven’t been able to find one in this area so far so I will have to manage with a wheelchair outside.

  21. Good to hear that you are safe and sound back at Casa Debbio with good friends looking after you. Take it easy and follow instructions. I know it is hard,,,, lots of love

    • I am taking things very slowly and carefully. I know I won’t be doing much for the next 5 weeks. This will pass.

  22. Hi Deb it was so interesting to read of your experience & now hope all goes well. With Spring coming I am sure the sight of your beautiful garden will help in lots of ways. I did laugh at the thought of having to go up stairs on your bottom but it is good to work out ways of getting around, but be careful on the wheelchair – dont go speeding!!! Love your attitude & strength (with the help of your good friends.) Hope time flies for you and look forward to seeing how you enjoy your beautiful garden.

    • I am very lucky to have such wonderful friends to help me. I will sit quietly and do nothing to upset my ankle and hope it heals well.
      Thank you for your thoughts.

  23. Wishing you all the best, Debbie

    • Thank you. I am in a good place here.

  24. Wishing you a speedy recovery. “Know that your injuries are healing by the hour and that the current day is always better than the day before.” This is what I kept saying to myself every day when I had my left wrist in a cast 12 years ago. 🙂

    • Yes, I am taking it one day at a time. There isn’t much else I can do. It looks as though all of Italy will be red or orange for all of April so I would be at home anyway.

  25. Hi Debra, so sorry to read of your plight but wonderful to read now of the super treatment and care in hospital and at home. All best wishes from your Granaiola/Melbourne friends for an excellent recovery!

    • Thank you. I am slowly on the mend. The next few weeks will be very quiet with lots of garden watching.

  26. Oh dear! So glad you got the care you needed and are on the mend now. At least you have a wonderful place to recuperate and have someone to help you out. Take care and wishing you a speedy recovery!

    • Thank you. This wasn’t part of any plan, but it will slowly get better and I will be on the move soon.

  27. Oh Debra I’m so sorry to hear about your fall! That is no good. I’m glad that the hospital staff were good and that you’re on the road to recovery with a friend handy too! xxx

    • These things happen. I don’t like having my wings clipped, but I just have to sit this out.

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