THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

A supporting cast surrounded more than her broken ankle

November 28, 2010

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Two and half weeks before we were to leave for the rain forests of Peru, my wife, Marcia, fell off a fence and broke her ankle. It instantly ballooned and stayed that way for days, stubbornly resisting ice and ibuprofen. Finally, a day before we were to leave, the doctor agreed the ankle was ready for its cast.

The technician creating the cast asked if Marcia wanted a Procel cast liner. He explained that the liner, made by Gore, creates a waterproof cast, so showering and swimming are possible. Considering we were off to the jungle and extensive riverboat travel, Marcia quickly agreed to the $50 option.

Gate security staff at Logan Airport took great interest in the cast and the liner, wanding, poking, and peering at it for nearly half an hour. But later, because of the cast, we were legitimate early boarders. And customs in Lima was a snap. The attendant assigned to wheel Marcia deftly rolled us through the bureaucracy.

As we left civilization behind at Puerto Maldonado, Marcia was carried down a rickety, steep stairway to the Tambopata River and lifted aboard a riverboat.

Upon arrival at Refugio Amazonas, sure-footed tourists climbed a steep riverbank to the lodge. Our boat driver and guide decided to carry Marcia to the landing where baggage is unloaded. From there she rode with duffles and suitcases in a cable-drawn cart on a steep track before transferring to a human-drawn cart. The staff hauled her about with good humor and much laughing.

At the lodge, where a series of elevated boardwalks joined various buildings, Marcia was able to make her way on crutches. She didn’t get to observe the harpy eagles nesting, but colorful birds, a massage, some fruity drinks, and a visit with a shaman made her glad she had come, broken ankle and all.

The next time we fly we’ll be in line with the rest of you, waiting for our row to be called.

MARK WILSON