Saturday, September 10, 2011

How I Broke my Ankle

Because I know people like a good accident/injury story (oh maybe that's just me) I'll share the details of my broken ankle and the recovery process with anyone Googling the keywords "broken ankle", "ankle fracture",  "how to avoid passing out or puking on a busy street at lunchtime" or "how to accessorize a hideous grey air cast".

I was out over the lunch hour a week ago last Wednesday, shopping hard for a few articles of clothing (see my las post for more scintillating shopping details).  I work downtown, right in the middle of everything, and just a few blocks away from the big downtown shopping mall.  I was on my way back to the office, totally proccupied with the purchase I'd made and was wandering mindlessly across the narrow roadway beside the mall and back up onto the sidewalk.

And I just put one foot down on a piece of uneven concrete, rolled my ankle hard, hearing/sensing a sort of popping-snapping sound as I went down - somehow face first- onto the sidewalk.  The pain was very nearly unbearable, but as a good Canadian, I would rather suffer total agony than make a big fuss and spectacle of myself in the downtown shopping and tourist district of my nice Canadian city.  So I accepted a hand up from a kind stranger, joked that clearly I should be headed back to work and not loitering on the street, and began the excruciating  process of attempting to walk.

I took about a dozen steps when I was nearly felled again by a wave of nausea and lightheadedneess, but by that time I was right in the middle of a busy intersection and had no choice but to keep moving forward - just kept telling myself that if I were an injured cavewoman I would have no choice but to get back to the village if I didn't want a cheetah to chase me down and lay me open.

So I did manage to get back to work, where my incredibly kind coworkers brought me ice packs and drinks of water and helped me get ready to go home.

I managed to get the shoe back onto my rapidly swelling foot, and hobbled down to the waiting car (Thanks JTM!).  When I got home, I just fell into bed with a couple of pillows under my foot, and a nice big ice pack, and pretty much passed out for the rest of the day and evening.

The next morning, surprisingly, I found that I was able to walk a bit without too much difficulty, although my foot was very swollen and bruised on the outside.  I decided to go into work for the day - but there was something about the way it looked and felt that made me wonder if it wasn't something more than just a sprain.

My family doctor couldn't see me that afternoon, so I left work early (thanks again for the ride, JTM!) and hit the neighborhood walk-in clinic.  The doc on duty poked and prodded it  little and, when I told him I felt pain under and behind my ankle bone, he sent me for an x-ray.  He said me that docs follow something called the "Ottawa Ankle Rules" to decide who needs an xray to check for a fracture.  Pain behind the ankle bone means "send for x-ray".

So we headed to the radiology place and I got my films done.  The radiologist had already left for the day so I needed to wait till morning for the results.

I went to work again the next morning and JTM called me at about 11 to tell me that both the walk-in and my family doc had called.  My regular doctor actually left a very detailed message explaining that there was a stable fracture, and that I should go to an orthotics place and get an aircast.  I should "weight-bear as tolerated" and use crutches for the first while if I felt I needed them.  Cast on for 3-4 weeks.  And that was it - okay it wasn't really all that detailed.  And his office was closed for the weekend by the time I'd absorbed all the info.

So I found the orthotics place and called them to see if they could get me in (Yes! Phew!), and JTM picked up up and drove me over mid-afternoon.  (You will notice a pattern here, of JTM driving me everywhere.  I don't want to give the plot away, but I'm sure you can see a pattern beginning to emerge...)

It's important to note here, that this is Canada, land of socialized medicine - where we generally get what we need, sometimes even when we need it - so it felt pretty damn weird to get the diagnosis via voicemail and then have to hand over $200 to get a cast for my broken ankle.  I'm sure if I'd gone to the emergency room, they'd have hooked me up no charge, no questions asked.  But live and learn- my extended benefits through work will cover most of it (although the insurance company did recommend that I submit an estimate first, by mail, that they could review and hopefully approve, again by mail - yeah, for a broken bone.  I'll take my chances and file the claim, thanks.)

I didn't do much over the weekend - the labour day long weekend, as it turned out, and the most beautiful weekend of the summer, sigh.  I tried, and then abandoned, crutches, preferring instead to shuffle along; not all that painful actually.  But the cast is beyond ugly and awkward as hell; it's so thick and reinforced on the bottom that it makes my cast leg over an inch longer than my good leg, so I look and feel pretty clumsy hobbling along - and my glutes are KILLING me.  And I can't drive - I have to be chauffeured EVERYWHERE because I can't manage the walk to the bus either (sorry JTM).  And everyone started school last Tuesday, so GAH!  It's been a very frustrating time for the whole family.

No comments:

Post a Comment