Category Archives: Broken Ankle

Broken Ankle: Learning From My Immobility

opalcrutchesI began walking because it is healthy, because one needs to keep fit when one gets to a certain age – well any age, because I have had stubborn middle-age excess weight that I have been trying to lose.

I have grown to like walking in the morning before the sun is too high and hot. I enjoy the clearing of my head that walking provides. I have come to enjoy walking by myself, to move at my own pace, to pause when I see a flower or an insect or a view, anything, even a dead frog or iguana that has been run over by a vehicle, to really see and not just look and walk by, but to marvel at life and death and the every day, simple extraordinary sights.

So the morning, when I was feeling lazy and pondering “where am I going in life?” and thinking I should skip the walk, but decide to go anyway, my head like a wasp nest, I took the same path, and not far from the house I slipped and cursed the gravel. Then the pain flew to my head and I saw the blood seeping from my ankle from the gash from the stone. I cursed the stone. I laid there on my back thinking I would just stay for a while then get up.

I looked at the sky as blue and beautiful as every other day and wondered why am I on my back on the road, gravel on my back, my ankle bleeding and hurting.  My left foot and ankle were still twisted. I tried to stand and raw pain was like a snake coursing through my body. Right then and there I decided that I needed help, I wanted someone to pick me up, I was too hurt to pick up myself. I felt the strap of my little pouch in which I had my cell phone, tight around my neck, partially under my back. I tugged, retrieved it and dialed Brian and he was right there.

After an hour at home, ankle swelling more despite ice pack, blood still seeping despite generous dosage of peroxide, I decided it was more than a sprain and I needed to go to the emergency room.

Juan Louis Hospital in St Croix, a wheel chair that could not be adjusted, nurses and doctors from everywhere but St Croix or the greater Caribbean, x-ray, 4 stitches, confirm ankle broken upper and lower fibula, 4 hours later, scheduled to see the orthopaedic surgeon in two days.

Feet according to Louise Hay, represents our understanding of ourselves, of our life, of others. A Broken joint suggests fear of the future and of not stepping forward in life or it could also mean rebelling against authority.

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I called my mother because I remember that she broke her ankle my first year in college, and since she was the sole breadwinner, and I was a spoilt brat, only working 10 hours a week for pocket money, I was worried about how the mortgage would be paid, who would cook dinner as she still did daily even though she worked, and what it would mean for my life. I was terrified. My mother was doing what she did everyday, coming down the stairs in our home when she slipped, broke her ankle in several places, and had to have pins implanted; she was off work for 3 months.

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I got crutches, which initially were not adjusted properly, but thanks to YouTube videos they are now properly fitted and I almost feel as if I could run in them like I remembering see a youth in a movie do. But I won’t. I understand metaphysics, and the way the universe gives us messages, gently or harshly – okay I get it, I was juggling too much and needed to pull back and slow it way down. I am prone.

 

The first commercially produced crutch was patented in 1917 by Emile Schlick, but his design was more like a walking stick with upper arm support. Later, A.R. Lofstrand, Jr. developed the first height-adjustable crutches. Thomas Fetterman is credited with inventing the first forearm crutches after his experiences with polio in the 1950s. Modern crutches are designed with the help of orthopedic specialists and have padding for shock absorption and terrain grip.

 

Since I have broken my ankle, the stories I have been told about broken limbs have been endless:

  1. Jumping out of bed because the cat sprang on the bed with a mouse, and she landed too heavily in her bedroom, broken foot.
  2. Watering the garden in her backyard, tripped on the hose.
  3. Coming down from a step ladder in her kitchen, trying to secure china from breaking, slipped, right foot broken. Etcetera…No need to go on.

 

I have pulled back. Days and moments go by and my gaze into the horizon flits away hours. Projects and timelines have been abandoned. I am doing what the universe has instructed. I am laying low.