I’m not by nature a bone breaker, in fact I haven’t broken a single bone in my body. That is until last Sunday. And while I did toy with the idea of inventing a heroic story of me saving a runaway busload of school kids from certain doom with a single, well-placed ankle, sadly the truth would eventually come out that I had simply mistackled in a friendly game of soccer. Quite the anticlimax and for me ironic – I mean we play sport to stay active and keep healthy?
Anyway it happened at about 4.15pm, Avon Park and when my ankle rolled over the ball there was a sickening ‘crack’. That told me all I didn’t want to know, this was going to be more than a brief ‘ouchie’ where I could give it a quick rub and carry on. It’s the same feeling you get when you hear the crunch of metal – you can’t just drive away and forget it ever happened; there are consequences. And for me I knew my game was over, and possibly next week and the week after. The pain wasn’t really that intense. It was sore but I knew I hadn’t really broken a bone in the full sense of the word, otherwise I probably would’ve blacked out. Instead I just curled up on the ground and waiting for it to subside with some concerned players hovering above. I’m not a big one for attention so fortunately the game quickly carried on, and Marsh shouldered me to the sideline. And there I stayed for what felt like about 20 minutes. Phil got a bottle of ice water (which I found out was actually Eden’s) and kept pouring it over the ankle, hoping the pain would ease. I actually felt quite nauseous but I wasn’t sure if that was due to the heat of direct sun, a lack of fitness or pain from the injury. I then decided I’d make for my bag, which was down the other end of the field, and txt Crystal to let her know. I managed to make it most of the way unaided, but opted to stop and rest at a midway point. While there, Roger, who is both older and wiser, deemed my ankle worthy of A&E and despite my pathetic protests kindly hauled me off to the 24 hour emergency rooms on Bealey Ave. All up it took them about three hours to see us, assess the ankle, x-ray it and put it in plaster, which I guess isn’t too bad, not that I frequent these places and would know what an acceptable time-frame is. The x-ray showed the break quite clearly, a small chip off the talus, which is technically described as a minor fracture. I think that was meant to make me feel better?
So Roger kindly pays the bill and drops me home and now what? The realization of my situation starts to sink in – this isn’t one of those times you can just take a couple of panadol, go to bed and the next day everything is fine again. I could be stuck with this speed-limiting cast, the king of unproductivity, for weeks! But right then something good happened, and this something I have come to love about having a broken ankle. Crystal, my beautiful dear wife sat me down in front of the TV, and before I knew it a hot meal was in front of me. No effort required. Just sit down and enjoy. And while at first I felt guilty I’m really starting to get used to it. I’m no slob but I’ve come to accept my situation will have limitations; I can’t change that anytime soon.
Of course, it’s not all fun and hot dinners. Having a cast quickly makes you realize how valuable a second leg is. Getting around, especially when you have to get up stairs is slow going and potentially dangerous. I haven’t overbalanced with the crutches yet but I fear it could happen. And forget carrying anything – you pretty much need a backpack with you everywhere you go, making you look like you’re heading off to school anytime soon. The basic functions in life of using the little boys room and showering became Herculean-tasks. Keeping the cast dry is no mean feat – I had the cast hanging over the side of the bath, slid backwards into the tub and grabbed the shower hose in a display that would both impress and embarrass James Bond all at the same time. I can only describe it as a crazy bath/shower hybrid and not likely to catch on as the preferred method of getting onself clean any time soon. It was at this point I realized that life would change for me beyond any recognition, well for the next week or so anyway.
Sleep was a lot easier than anticipated and I nodded off quickly without any painkillers, although at about 5.30am I was woken by what can only be described as an overwhelming desire to tear my cast off. Obviously my ankle had swollen even more overnight and now the cast was so tight it was driving me nuts. There was no way I was getting back to sleep no matter how tired I was. I went downstairs and rang A&E and was told this was normal and just to come in and get a new cast, and some painkillers. I tried plying the split in the cast too but it only gave limited relief. I did my best to do as much work as I could but the distraction of cast tightness was too much and I drove myself to the A&E for a new cast (driving my wife’s auto was fine since it was my left ankle, but filling up was a skill-tester!). The place is famous for its wait times but I had some study material with me, so it didn’t bother me too much. Dr Stan told me it was all perfectly normal and the first few days were the worst. He would prescribe me some good painkillers and try to get me into a fibreglass cast as soon as possible (how about no cast?), probably next Monday. He also told me that sometimes these fractures heal themselves without a cast at all but they don’t take any chances with them in case they don’t. I then got sent down to some friendly nurses to get plastered – well you know what I mean. I hopped (literally) across the road to get my drugs and I was outta there like a bald man. The new cast was still tight but at least not the ‘crazed-inducing’ tightness of the last one. But looking at my ankle when they removed the cast (the sweet relief of it all!) I could clearly see the reason for the tightness.
Once again it was a pleasure getting looked after at home, and all from my little workstation where I can surf the net, eat dinner and watch TV at the same time, it’s a type of multi-tasking. Sleep came easy, possibly aided by the new drugs. Not being a big user these things usually knock me out.
This time I woke at a far more reasonable time, had a ‘quick’ shower, having perfected the art of falling in to the bath and a bit of guitar practice. I got a super pleasant surprise when I got downstairs – Crystal had prepared a fresh brew of coffee, and it was sitting there with my painkillers, bottled water and even a mug with milk in it – how good is she?! It was beautiful sunny day and I got started on my work for the day. I know for a lot of people when they get a break like this, they end up on ACC and not working but I actually prefer being able to work and from home is even better.The painkillers can make me a little spaced out but maybe that improves my writing?
Even though I know they recommend keeping the ankle elevated, I just find in that position my foot quickly goes numb. Then I need to go for a walk around to get the blood moving again. I find the most comfortable position seems to be hanging the leg down, but I tend to vary it just in case it’s not good for it.
As for what’s ahead of me in this brand new adventure of mine, I have no idea since it’s only day two but there’s bound to be a few things to write about, and hopefully a happy ending!