About 2 ½ weeks ago, I was carrying a 40 lb bag of water system salt to my softener tank. It had been raining on and off for several days, which is typical for a South Florida July. I stepped on a wooden deck, not realizing how slippery it was when my right foot slipped out from under me and I started falling over. On my way down I heard a pop, thought, “Uh oh, this is NOT good,” and then I hit the ground, thankfully on grass.
I knew it was bad, and my second thought was, “This is really going to screw up my running.” After rolling around moaning for a bit, I was finally able to think straight. I live on a dirt road with the houses spaced apart on just over an acre each, and there isn’t a lot of traffic on my road. Although it was just before 5:00 p.m., I didn’t think anyone would be coming by any time soon. I needed to get in the house and call my boyfriend to take me to a hospital.
There was no way that I could stand up, and I couldn’t even crawl, so I half dragged, half scootched myself though the open garage and into the house. Thankfully, my cell phone was within reach. I laid on the cold, hard tile floor and called Ben, but just got his voice mail. I left a message knowing he always calls back within a few minutes. I wanted to get off the floor but could not seem to get positioned to pull myself up. While I was waiting I decided to call my next door neighbor who is a retired nurse to see if she could come over and help me to the couch. Although she is always home, I got her voice mail, too. I didn’t bother to leave a message, and tried Ben again, but it went to voice mail again. I managed to reposition myself and got over to the couch. I texted Ben hoping that if he looked at his phone he would notice the text before noticing the missed calls. Finally a few minutes later he called and said he was on his way.
Ben arrived in about 30 minutes and we went to an urgent care. After some x-rays it was confirmed that I broke my ankle. The break occurred just above that little bone that sticks out on the outside of the ankle. They splinted me and told me to see an ortho ASAP.
That night I found an ortho that is covered under my insurance and I called the next morning and made an appointment for Thursday afternoon, two days later. It turned out that I could not see the ortho without a referral from my primary, but the primary would not give me one without seeing me, even though they received the medical report from the urgent care. I went to the primary the night before the ortho appointment, and then I spent all morning on Thursday calling the primary to confirm they sent the referral, the insurance company to make sure they received the referral and that they approved the appointment, and then the ortho to make sure they received the approval. Everything was completed by 11:00 a.m., and my appointment was for 2:30. Talk about cutting it close!
I went to the ortho and they looked at the x-rays I provided them from the urgent care. The doctor confirmed it was broken and said I would need to be in a cast for about 8 weeks. I was just glad I was finally getting a cast because the splint wasn’t holding things together very well, and every time I moved it was pretty painful. The cast was better, although I was kind of surprised that the doctor didn’t take another x-ray to confirm that the bone was healing correctly, even though the doctor told me that healing had already started. I asked about when I might be able to get in a boot, and I think he said maybe after 4-6 weeks. He further said that he wasn’t sure my insurance would cover a boot, and if I wanted to pay for one myself it would be about $300.00.
I have another appointment with the ortho tomorrow to check the progress of healing. Two of my friends have been in boots, and they each loaned me one. I am taking them both to the ortho tomorrow to find out which boot would be better and when I can finally get into one. The cast gets really uncomfortable at times, especially when my ankle and foot swell. On top of that the weight of the cast is constantly pulling on my knee, hip and lower back making all of that hurt. I still have to keep it elevated, and anything longer than an hour not elevated makes it swell.
As the swelling goes down, I am also starting to feel the ancillary injuries in terms of either pulled tendon or muscle on the inside of the leg. I have had to put my foot down a couple of times when I have lost my balance on the crutches (I got a wheel chair but crutches are easier for some things), and the pain is not as bad as it was 2 weeks ago, so that is good.
I keep thinking about Scott Jurek when he broke his ankle about 40 miles into a 100 mile trail race (Western States I think?). He decided to keep going because he knew all the swelling would stabilize the joint. Honestly, that man is made of steel, because I would never in a million years be able to put weight on a broken ankle. I had respect for him before, but I found a whole new level of respect for him now!
I had just returned to Florida from Michigan a couple of days before this happened. I was in Michigan for a couple of weeks taking care of my Mom who is very ill. I went up there to give my brother and sister a break. Until I am back to walking around again, I won’t be able to help her, so they will have to able to handle things for at least a couple of months. I know they can do it, but they both have families of their own and it’s hard for them. I also have been unemployed since February, and I have not been able to put 100% of my attention to job hunting since I have been traveling back and forth to Michigan every few weeks. My plan was when I got home to find a job, as well as finish my home office renovation project that I started a couple of months ago. While the renovation project is somewhat stymied, I can pick out the crown moulding and window trim, and install the window trim, even in my current condition.
On a positive note, I had some inflammation in my right toes from marathon training last fall. I continued to race through the winter, as I missed last year’s race season due to some minor health issues, and that injury never healed. I now have 8 weeks for that injury to heal as well. I am also able to spend more time focusing on the job hunt, and I am confident I will find something very soon. I will just need a chauffer to drive me to interviews and work until I get out of this cast, since I broke the right ankle and can’t drive.
So I call this my 8 week marathon because I am finding that the mental challenge of being stuck in the house, unable to drive, and dependent on others (I am a very independent person so this is killing me!), is akin to the mental challenge of running 26.2 miles.