21 July 2009

New starts or: My Adventures in Broken Bones

For the last 7 years, I have journaled at LiveJournal. And, frankly, as much as I have enjoyed it, it seems like there might be a reason to start something new, to have something associate with me at 29, not me at 22.

Plus, I just googled "what to expect" and "broken ankle" as keywords and brought up no personal experiences.

So, why not start with a story?

I live with my partner, 3 dogs, a cat, and the snake (it wasn't the snake's fault). The other night, Sunday to be precise, I was going to bed late, denying that the weekend was over. I had turned off the light and went to go up our long flight of very steep stairs to our bedroom and the guest room. And ... my foot snagged.

On our 85 pound dog. (See, I told you it wasn't the snake's fault. Snake-haters).

I've probably tripped on Callie a few dozen times - I'm clumsy and she's big, so it happens.

This time, however, I heard a very distinct "snap" as I fell onto the ground. Looking down at my ankle, I remembered another time I had fallen (I've mentioned clumsy, right?) and how I thought I might have broken my ankle, but it was just a bad sprain.

Here's something I found out late Sunday night and I want to share it with you all: With this kind of break, there is no "maybe" about it. Through the haze of pain, I could actually see that the bone piece where it shouldn't have been.

Which was both gross and cool.

So my partner, Willow, drove me to the emergency room while I tried to curse QUIETLY, so as to not offend passersby. And, potentially, people 30 miles away.

I have no idea how long it takes normally to get an ankle looked at, x-rayed, set in a split , and discharged. In my case, it took just shy of 4 hours. The longest wait was between the x-ray (when the tech asked me "can you turn your foot that way?" and I hissed "no" as I tried not to pass out) and finding out what was going on, which kind of worried me.

Well, as worried as I could get while wondering why I hadn't had any painkillers yet.

They came back and, shockingly, it was broken. Apparently, the wait was surrounding not the break, but whether there was ligament damage. After putting on the splint, they decided not to operate that night, but to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon this week, so I was (FINALLY) allowed to drink water. Apparently, pain and shock make your mouth cotton-dry.

They gave me a 'script for Percocet and one for anti-nausea meds, both of which I am trying to avoid taking - vomiting and dizziness are pretty much my two least favorite things EVER.

And now, I'm discovering all of the things that I used to take for granted that, at least for the duration of this ankle thing, I no longer can;

1) Bathing: Oh yes. Before I moved to England to go to graduate school in the fall of 2004, I was a twice-a-day bather. And, although the stereotypes about Europeans being stinky is patently untrue, I will say that I ... relaxed over there. However, I still wash my hair every other day, bathe every day. That is, of course, I did these things until NOW.

How, exactly, is one supposed to bathe with a huge splint on a foot that they can't rest on the ground? I know, theoretically, the garbage bag thing should work, but do you have any idea how LONG that would take? So far, I'm subsisting on sponge baths and hoping to bribe my long-suffering girlfriend into washing my hair in the next day or so.

2) Having hair longer than 1": Speaking of the previous issue, I will be getting all of my hair cut off on Friday, after getting paid. It's just not POSSIBLE to do even the little bit of beauty work I do in the morning (wash, brush my hair; wash my face; lotion - yeah, I'm high-maintenance), so short hair it is.

3) Going to the bathroom: I am now carefully balancing staying hydrated (very important when taking any pain meds, even Advil) and how long it takes me to go to the bathroom. Seriously, the 50 foot trek from the living room futon (which is quickly becoming my home) to the bathroom has become a obstacle course. In that time, I have to dodge 3 interested dogs who want to know what's up with my foot and what those things under my arms are (crutches are AWESOME), chairs that have fallen, a cup that fell on the ground that I can't get, a pair of running shoes, and some piles of debris from my dogs destroying things. It's easier to just hold it.

4) Stairs The FEW blogs or articles I've managed to find about broken ankles say something along the lines of "stairs will be your greatest challenge!" And yes, they have that damn exclamation point and, yes, they are always obviously former athletes or masochists or something. Because stairs? Stairs suck. Going down them is easier, but still precarious, what with the whole potential for re-injury. Going up them? You're going to feel like you're pitching forth into nothingness every time and it's going to hurt muscles in your arms you didn't even know you HAD.

5) Eating: Oh man, food used to taste so good. But in the not-quite 48 hours since breaking my ankle, nothing sounds good and nothing tastes good. I'm basically eating as an excuse to take half a Percocet so I don't chop off my own leg.

So. This is probably going to be something I talk about for a while, being that it looks like I'll be swinging around on crutches and discovering entirely new muscles in my arms for the next 6 weeks, at least.

But you can be here with me!

I know, who could give up an invitation like THAT?


  1. it is cute to me that you describe yourself as high maintainence. you are, like, one of the lowest maintainence people i know! <3<3<3

  2. Hee. Well, it was mostly sarcasm. I am very low-maintenance, which is part of the reason it's amazing to me that I can't even maintain THIS. <3<3