“It’s broken” she said. “It’ll probably take 6 – 8 weeks” she said. I felt my heart sink. “But…what about skiing?” I asked, with almost a tear in my eye. The ER Doc gave me a shrug and said, “get a bone scan and let’s go from there, but for now, no weight bearing”.
Few hours later, there was me, in an air cast with crutches. Huge bummer. I had only been on crutches at one point in my life – when I crashed on a motorcycle 7 years ago. I’d forgotten how impossible it was to do anything! The pain and frustration started to set in. Even just bringing a glass of water to the table seemed like a great feat. The days began to slow down to the second. I was laid up, no where to go and nothing to do but dwell on not being able to ski or climb. I couldn’t embrace it because I couldn’t believe it! Wasn’t 25 supposed to be a good year of my life? Is it all downhill from here? Why did I go on that stupid hike when I was SO jet-lagged? The thoughts swirled in my head as I drifted through my Netflix selection. I knew I shouldn’t complain, I had gone years without injuries. I knew people who lived with chronic pain and my broken foot wasn’t worth crying over. But this injury was just bumming me right out. I sat on the couch for most of the day – ice, ice and more ice. Calling the clinic repetitively in hopes of a CT scan appointment. All I wanted to do was go for a walk. Put my shoes on by myself. Even just go pee without doing a one leg squat. I was beyond frustrated.
I woke up a few days later and felt a switch go off in my head. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and accept my injury. I was hurt. It happens. It wasn’t going to stop me from training or being pleasant with people. It wasn’t going to change who I am or how I go about my day. I would find, somewhere deep inside, a positive outlook.
And I did.
I hobbled around the house, finding creative ways to get around (except using the collapsable chair…that was a bad idea) and I did everything I could to ease the pain in my foot. Salt water soaks, resting, stretching and rolling out all the above muscle groups. Somehow, I found my joy again. I started painting again and found pleasure in tea and music. I couldn’t climb, ski or even walk – but I was happy.
“We can get you in Monday!” the nurse at the clinic said over the phone.
Monday rolled around and it was time to get the official results. As I laid down, preparing for my scan, I looked down at my fat, black and blue foot. Please please please…don’t be broken. I knew that sprains were just as bad and often take longer to heal, but with a break I couldn’t ski. The impact would damage the injury further. At least with a sprain I could nurse it and keep it stable in a boot. I stared up at the white ceiling above me. I will get through this and I’ll start taking greater care of my body I thought to myself. I’ve been neglecting you for awhile, I said peering down at my body as the machine completed it’s scan cycle. The result would be in to my family doctor in a day or two. I grabbed my crutches and hobbled out. I felt a sense of relief just knowing that I would understand my injury at greater length in a few days.
“Ok Doc, what’s the damage?” I asked as I leaned back into the stiff exam room chair. My doctor stared at the monitor screen, reading over the scan results, before any response. She looked up and pushed the screen towards me – “turns out, it’s not broken!” she said with a smile. “A bit of soft tissue swelling, a bad sprain – but you can take the boot off”. I felt everything in my body relax, suddenly the frustration and pain of my foot was lifted off like a heavy backpack from my body. ITS NOT BROKEN!!!!!!!!!!!!
I walked out of the office and down the the street where my boyfriend was waiting to pick me up. He saw the relief on my face and the bounce in my step. It’s not broken.
Now, I still have a ways to go with this foot. It’s going to take some rehab and TLC before I’m hiking or jumping on it again. But, I won’t need surgery or a cast. And I can weight bare again. Today, I climbed at the gym on it. Everything is returning back to it’s normal state – no swelling, bruising is subsiding and I’m getting a full range of motion again.
There are 3 things I have learned from my “Tale of the Almost Bummer”:
- I have to take better care of my body. I need to make time to stretch and roll every day. I have to listen to it when it’s telling me to slow down or rest. I have to be in tune with it to prevent injuries.
- Life doesn’t end when I can’t do sports. It just changes. There are dozens of things I can enjoy and one of those things is sitting and having a heartfelt conversation with people I care about (Thanks Kyla 🙂 ). Talking deeply about life and actually taking time to think about those topics on a different level is so important.
- Empathy: I have so much empathy for those people who go through surgery, who are laid up for weeks and take months to rehab. I can’t even begin to image being stationary for longer than I was. Empathy is so important. I watched my boyfriend bend over backward for me. He put himself in my shoes. He rubbed my head when I complained about now being able to ski, he hung out with me and binge watched movies and was there to help me back up if I fell. Empathy can change your life.
I put my foot into my new ski boots yesterday. It felt secure and solid. I smiled and then grabbed my foam roller. It’s time to slow the heck down and start caring about more than just what I’m doing when I walk out my front door.