Archive for Broken Ankles

In memory of a broken ankle: laughing the pain away.

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2012 by urbannight


My break must have been a hairline fracture, although they never said so, because I could never see it as clearly as you can on this picture.

This started out as a reply to a freshly pressed article and I realized it was a blog entry all on its own.

I remember when I broke my ankle a few (5 or 6 really) years back.  I fell half way down the steps.  There were four steps.  I broke my ankle on step three.  It’s all in how you land.  Now, I also severely sprained the other ankle.  I felt like I was going into shock.

I had enough first aid/CPR classes to feel aware of that and to know that shock can be fatal.  I was rushing to work, late, and all the neighbors had already left.  So I was a bit stuck, sitting on the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps, partly blocked from the view of the road by a creeping rose-bush in late June. 

I didn’t have access to a blanket and I had no way to lay down and elevate my feet.  Everything else was totally out of the realm of possibility.  So I did the only thing I could think up.  I sat there for a while doing the meditative breathing that I learned from a cassette tape of Daoist breathing mediations.  It seemed like a strange impulse buy one year but you would not believe how often those breathing exercises came in handy.

It was probably only 15 minutes.  I felt like everything was going back to normal.  I have always paid very close attention to body signals.  So I thought I was in the clear for going shocky.  But then I had to figure out how to get back UP the steps and into the house to call a friend to take me to the hospital.   Once I crawled up the steps on my hands and knees, now totally blocked from the view of any passers-by, and sat with my back against the door, my legs stuck out in front of me.  From that position, the dead bolt was completely out of reach.  Even standing on my knees, I was not able to reach it.  After about 10 minutes of gathering what strength I had, I pulled myself up onto my badly damaged feet and unlocked the door. 

This was not the end things.  You see, I didn’t keep a phone in the living room.  I had one in my bedroom and one in the kitchen and one in the basement.  I had yet to invest in a cell phone.  The nearest was the bedroom and I had to drag myself back there and make a call, then drag myself back to the livingroom couch (was next to the door) to wait.  And off the emergency I went.

Once there, I couldn’t  stop laughing.  I got a lot of strange looks.  They thought the right was sprained the left broken.  It was the other way around when the x-rays came back.  Some people thought I broke both of them.  And still I laughed.  Finally someone asked me why I was laughing.

I had two options.  Laugh or cry.  I was SO much pain.  Later, I would discover that the family of pain killers they wanted to give me didn’t work for me and I spent weeks in more pain than I should have.  But I broke my ankle falling two steps down.  Two steps.  I nearly broke both of them.  A little more pressure on the sprained one might have done it.  The sprained one turned twice as black as the broken one and must have swollen up twice as much too.  It was truly amazing to look at! 

There was too much to laugh about and why cry when you can laugh?