Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Broken Ankle Saga

I finally had my appointment with and Orthopedic Surgeon this afternoon and I am sooooo relieved!!

Three weeks ago, I sprained my ankle. Running. Most of my friends were shocked that I would even attempt such a thing, given my history of falling down but I did it anyway! So I signed up for an 8-week running class called Beginner's Luck, bought some new shoes, and hit the ground running! I was super psyched up and ready to really challenge myself and break out of my rut that I've been in physically since my divorce in 1995.

So there I am in the middle of the pack... there are about 300 runners... we've just turned around at the halfway point for our 20 minute run (30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking) when suddenly I was pitched forward, rolled my ankle, practically took down the poor girl running in front of me, and a guy behind me patted me on the back and said "Sorry. It's really crowded." and kept running as I limped to the grass.

I was pissed!!! My worst nightmare had come true. Here I was super excited and motivated and I sprain my ankle on the very first run and have to limp back the whole way!! I was also completely and utterly defeated. My brain was going a mile a minute thinking first that it was a sign that I'm not supposed to run and then thinking that it's actually a test to see how committed I really am! Then I started to cry and feel sorry for myself as I recognized that it's part of my pattern... I attempt big things and then go down in flames. Then felt a bit panicked since I work two jobs and I stand literally all day long at both of them! It really was a sad state of affairs. Thankfully, one of the volunteers slowed down and walked with me the rest of the way back and gave me a pep talk as my friend Jackie from work ran by and gave me a "thumbs up", not knowing that I'd hurt myself.

When I got back to the school and she saw me limping, she immediately went into Mom mode and found the organizers so we could tell them what happened. She also tracked down someone who could tell me how to care for my injury. All the while, telling me that it does matter and that I'll be fine. Love her!

So, I got home, did RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation)... called in sick to work the next day, and dug out the ankle wrap that I bought after the 3rd time I sprained my ankle years ago... I think this is the 7th time. Um, ya. I went back to the running class the next week to sit in on the informational class that they do before we run and the organizer, Ann, told me that I'd probably be okay running on it as long as I ran on a flat, smooth surface and was very careful. So I ran Friday, Saturday, and Monday on it. By Wednesday, the swelling was starting to go down and it started feeling.. weird.. just a little poking feeling above my ankle. So I decided that I would finally go and have x-rays done before I ran again so I didn't really hurt myself.

The verdict? "You broke it!!"
My reaction? "CRAP!!"
Then the nurse walks in with a Boot...
My reaction? "CRAP!!!!!"

And so I hobbled out with a boot strapped to me, a prescription for crutches, and a referral to an Orthopedic Surgeon. And I was miserable for the next 2 days. My hip hurt and I was completely worn out from lugging the boot around. So I made an Executive Decision to just wear my normal ankle wrap until I could get in to the OS. (which was an adventure in itself...)

So now it's been three weeks since I sprained my ankle and I was finally able to consult with the OS. I called my sister Karen on my way there to have her put out some good vibes for me. "What kind of good vibes?" she asked... "I want him to say that I've been doing an awesome job taking care of it and that I'm doing exactly the right thing and that I should just keep up the good work."

Know what? That's EXACTLY what he said!!

It turns out that my Fibula has a chip broken off the bottom of my ankle bone. So technically speaking, it is broken. However!! It's not a recent break! It's separated enough from the bone and worn down a bit, so he said it was from a previous "sprain" and asked me about the sprain from the time before this. I remember exactly!

Chicago. South Side Irish Parade. St Patty's Day. 2007.

I was walking along with my friend Amy and didn't realize that there was about a 3" drop-off on my right side where the bricks ended and the tree "ring" began. So I stepped half on and half off and rolled my ankle. I'm pretty sure I actually fell to the ground that time. We'd taken the drunk bus down there, so I'd had a few drinks by then. I hobbled around a bit and sat down on a curb for a while and we took the bus back later. I don't remember it hurting more than just a sprain, though.

So!! The good news is that I don't have to wear my boot... use my cousin's crutches... and no surgery!! He shook my hand, told me it was nice to meet me, gave me a list of exercises to strengthen my ankles, and sent me on my way. YAY!!!

So now I'm contemplating my next move! My ankle still has swelling, so I think I'll take it easy for another couple of weeks and then I'll get back onto the exercise wagon. Before this happened, I was actually considering joining a nearby gym that's having a membership special. Now I feel that I'm able to go ahead with the plan! I honestly don't know if I even want to run with the running group again. I think I actually like running on my own better. It's like a moment of Zen and I don't have to think about anything other than my form and my breathing and my stuff. Ya know?

And if I fall down again, I have no one to blame but myself.

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