They shoot horses don't they?

I’m a klutz, I’m an idiot. I’ve lived in Alaska for 33 years (half of my childhood and all of my adult years so far), and never so much as stubbed my toe from slipping or sliding on the ice (yeah, I’ve landed on the butt and hurt the dignity quite a few times, but we are supposed to be able to “learn how to fall” on the snow and ice, we northern folk).

Well, until now anyway…

And as a person who teaches aerobics and dance, I’m always super duper careful how I walk on ice and snow.

Then, Wednesday night (my birthday) I slipped. Not unusual (as I said it does happen), but then disaster, I hit a gravelly patch, forward momentum continued, but my foot and ankle stayed put…

And rolled…sideways.

In ways an ankle is not meant to turn, not even a fairly flexible one like mine. I heard two audible snaps and felt a disgusting loose “floppiness” in the foot and ankle before I found myself on the ground in exquisite agony.

I work out in the afternoon, but the bf does his workouts at around 5am, so he was already asleep. Yelling would have done no good.

So, for the next 15 minutes I crawled up the driveway (in so much pain I didn’t even feel the ice and snow under me, and I’m a card carrying, snow-hating, true-blue chilli willie), then crawled up the iced over wooden steps to the front door, then, up from the living room up to the second level master bedroom.

Turns out I shattered the fibula, and mangled quite few other bones too. (Ladies? if you aren’t already doing so, start TAKING A CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT…NOW!, what they say in those public service ads is true).

They (the doctors) have to wait til Tuesday next for the swelling to subside so that they can operate, so for now I have a temporary splint and lots of meds. I will need screws and a plate and bolts (OH MY!) and about 3-4 months to heal. Not to mention a huge surgical expense that will really kill my budget.

On the lighter side…

I’ve learned that I can’t drive either a wheelchair, or those little motorized “handicapped” carts at the supermarket very well. Nor am I very graceful with crutches (and my left cheek is going to be MUCH more buff and defined than my right when this is all over and done with).

I’ve learned that underwear, when tossed at the large end of a splinted foot takes at least 5 tries to get over the toe end of the splint and then another 5 minutes to work down the splint and into the appropriate “underwear position”.

I’ve learned that one can easily plastic wrap and duct tape a splint to take a bath, but that getting OUT of the bath is another thing altogether.

I spent the first day and a half too sick from pain to eat. But once I could eat, I couldn’t get the food from the oven to the couch!! I finally had to place the plate carefully flat on the bottom of a shopping bag, and carry it over the handle of the crutches!! (lol).

I’m furious at myself for not being more careful. But I’m also grateful that this is “temporary” and that I have a renewed sense of respect for those for whom it is not so temporary.

It’s put a hell of a lot of things into perspective.

A few days ago, I was one of those busy Type A people rushing in and out of the aisles, too caught up in my own schedule to do more than be annoyed at “slowpokes” and people like I was, poking along in the “slowcart”. (shameful as my boyfriend’s father was a paraplegic and much beloved by all who knew him before he died 2 years ago).

But then, a man stopped to help me when I couldn’t maneuver the cart so as to get a carton of milk. Another lady offered to help me, without even knowing what I needed as I wheeled up to the pharmacy…“if you need anything at all…help out to your car, whatever just let me know okay”?


This was half a rant against my own clumsiness, and half a “geez folks take a moment and thank the Lord (or your being of choice) for what you have”.

Be grateful for your health. And be CAREFUL on that @Q#$@Q# Ice!!! :smiley:

I feel your pain. Literally. I’ve done that before, with similar results.

In grade 6 I was chasing after a basketball during lunch break and my ankle gave out on me. I mean, that sucker folded like a k-mart lawn chair. Of course, I thought that I had just sprained it, so I hobbled to the main office, or tried to al least. I made it about half way before I has some one help me. It only dawned on me after the doctor told me that it was broken as to what that funny grinding sound/feeling was when I was attempting to walk on it.

Turn out I ripped off both of the growth plate on the end of my shin bones. Had to have pins put in. Included a couple of days in the hospital away from school, plus two months of crutches, a cast and the sheer, unadulterated joy that is physio. The worst part was walking again after I had the cast off. It just felt so weird, like my ankle was made out of rubber or something. Yurk.

The funny thing is, I have always heard how much it hurts to break a bone, but in my case, it wasn’t all that bad. I think it had a lot to do with the state of denial that I was in at first. After I had been at the hospital for a while, and my ankle was the size of a melon, then it started to ache like a mother, but until that point, I was cool.

How long ago did you have your op Penguin? Also thanks for the input. Any “war stories” people have regarding this will be greatly appreciated.

My attitude is pretty okay, but knowing what other people have experienced will help the “fear” factor.

I’m too overconfident, luckily I don’t get too badly hurt. Sprained 1 ankle 3 times in a week, the other ankle sprained twice in that same week.

Geez, lemme think… It was about 10 years ago.


Time really flies. I didn’t realize that it was quite so long ago. Huh.

Anyways, It wasn’t bad at all. Stayed in the hospital for a couple of days, which was actually fun. Learning how to use crutches was a PITA though.

IIRC, I was in the hospital for about a week. They put the pins in for about five days, then removed them. I think they were just in enough to position the bones, and make sure that they started to heal in the right spot. I don’t think that they could have left them in due to the fact that they were in the part of the bone that was actually growing, so it would have lead to problems. I don’t think you will have that problem though. Of course that is just a WAG, and IANAD etc.

The worst part was when I was in the hospital I didn’t have a cast on until after the second surgery, so getting up and moving around scared the crap out of me, because I was afraid that I would fall on my ankle again and re-break it , or twist it, and rip out the screws.*

I’ve got a wicked cool scar though. I always say that I got it in a drunken monkey knife fight. I zigged when I should of zagged.

For the first bit, I had to take Tylenol three’s after they sent me home, but the pain was never excruciating, just uncomfortable enough to be annoying. After a week or two it was all good though. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If given the choice, I would rather have the surgery than go to the dentist. Getting my wisdom teeth removed was much worse, especially because that was three hours of white knuckle fun.

  • I think that is how my operation went. It’s all kinda hazy, and I have no recollection of the second surgery, and but for the fact that I have two metal screws sitting ion a baggie at my parents place, I would just assume that they were still in there. Though if they were in the growth plate during a growing phase, I can see it causing problems, Hopefully a doc will be by soon to see if what I’ve described make sense. I’ve wondered about it for some time now. I really don’t remember the second operation or how they got them out.

Wow! What a healthy attitude you have! You are a survivor.

I’m glad that you are discovering the joys of Type B personality.

I haven’t had a broken ankle (so far, so good, fingers crossed!) but I’ve had knee surgery and been on crutches. I was always grateful for strangers’ kindnesses too.

My mom broke her ankle one Thanksgiving about 15 years ago. She had surgery, and screws and plates put in. She was probably in her late 40’s/early 50’s at the time, and she got through it ok.

Good luck, and best wishes for rapid healing! Be extra-careful on the crutches!

Like the rest of the posters,I can sort of relate.When I was about 12 years old, we were on a road trip and eating lunch in a highway rest area when I tripped in a gopher hole,spraining my ankle pretty badly… My parents didn’t think it was too bad and had me wrap it tightly in an Ace bandage and take aspirin for the pain.
Ever since then,my left ankle has had a tendency to fold under me at wierd times.I’ve fallen down stairs more times than I can count because I stepped DOWN onto a stair and my ankle folded and I fell over. If I’m not careful how I step down on ladders,my ankle will fold and I’ll fall off.I can’t ice or roller skate and have long since given up on dancing because my ankle can’t handle it. I wear an anklebrace probably half the time because my ankle is so weak it can’t support me too well.
I hope things get better for you,esp since you’re a dance/aerobics instructor.


Ah, but it could have been worse, I had a friend that broke her ankle (it escapes me how) so she was on crutches trying to go down some stairs and she slipped…broke her other leg and an arm! I am sure it was traumatic, so why do I get the giggles when I think of it? I am sick! I hope you feel better soon, now watch out for stairs…or ice or icy stairs…Margo

The good: You’re strong, healthy and, even in Alaska, spring is on it’s way. Oh and DARVOCET is your friend.

The bad: ow ow ow ow ow!

And while you’re in a cast or splint, get a hand wand for the tub and sit on a plastic chair for bathing. It really will make it easier getting in and out.

(I had a severely broken foot with pins and screws. 9 months in a cast)

Good Luck!

My mother broke her ankle out in the middle of the bush while dog walking some 2 miles from her car. She dragged herself through the scrub getting very badly bitten by all sorts of nasty critters and thoroughly scratched up. Finally she got to her car and all she could do was lean on the horn and hope that someone was near enough to hear. Nobody was but eventually my step father realised she had been gone far too long for a dog walk so went looking for her. He got her back home (no mobile phone coverage out there) and called the ambulance. An hour later the ambulance arrived to take her to the nearest air strip to meet the air ambulance needed to fly her to the nearest major city which was 254 km away. While on the plane her air splint sprung a leak so she spent most of the journey with an ambo constantly blowing it up with his mouth. It was not comfortable.

When it was all over you could see the screws under her skin and she set off metal detectors whenever she flew for years afterwards.

This may well be why I am a city girl. Here I could have yelled, someone would have heard, called an ambulance and I would be in hospital in about 10 minutes enjoying narcotic pain relief.

:eek: :eek: :eek:

Yup, that’s one of the principal reasons I’m a city mouse, too.

Ankle shmankle.

I broke my wrist two and a half years ago. My right wrist. I am right handed.

Had to learn how to wipe my ass with my left hand.

That was a trial.

It was also when I found the Straight Dope Message board and began posting, as I was home for 7 weeks.

So it wasn’t all bad.
[sub](Really, I am just kidding. I would HATE to be in a leg cast of any kind. You have my heartfelt sympathies!) [/sub]

LOL Will!!! Thanks for the laugh, and thanks for the support everyone!

It sounds as if I’m “lucky” really. After all, I’m an adult, with a lifetime of fairly healthy behaviour behind me.

As opposed to a child who is still growing and having to go through the whole “bone growth” thing that is (IANAD either, so forgive the ignorance in medspeak).

It sounds as if medicine has come quite a ways from the experiences some of you had during your surgeries. I’ll only be in surgery for a few hours, and then home once I wake up enough for my bf to get me home.

And Margo you’re right, I am finding that my inability to use crutches well is more a factor of being afraid of falling again than of actual lack of grace.

Luckily I have a wheelchair also (my bf’s late father’s). So for the rest of the semester I’ll be able to wheel my way through classes!! :smiley:

On the bright side, I feel like a human being again for the first time in several months, for those that remember my whining about acute insomnia? Well, thanks to the drugs, that’s a thing of the past.

All in all, I’m a lucky girl. I have good friends, a good company (despite the lack of insurance), and a good family.

Thanks again everyone for the advice and good wishes!!!

(PS, I know one thing for sure, preaching calcium supplements for women past their teen years is going to become part of my teaching curriculum!!!)

One thing about the cast. It’s gonna itch. It’s gonna itch like no itch you’ve ever had. It’s gonna be all Mo-Fo itching. DO NOT SCRATCH IT. Do NOT take a coat hanger and fashion a scratcher out of it. Do not take the plastic pull thing out of some toy and use that as a scratcher. (tho that really worked well for me). Do not scratch!

Oh, and it’s gonna be stinky too.

Back in January, I tried ice-skating, for the first time in years. I was quite good at it when I did it regularly, but this time, I ended up doing the classic beginner-thing: got my toe pick caught on a rough patch, fell backwards, and hit my head so hard my glasses flew off. Mr. Rilch said my head looked like it was giving birth to a golf ball. How humiliating. Especially since that called off skating for the day, and at this point, the season.

Heal well!

Will–I thought that’s what the talcum powder was for?When I was 15 and about to start my freshman year in HS,my sister yes my SISTER…grrmanaged to help me break my wrist which was put in a cast for 6 weeks.It ITCHED like crazy and probably stank to high heaven till my mom told me I could reduce the odeur by dumping talcum powder into the cast and shaking it about to distribute it evenly.It helped a little.
But he’s right.It WILL itch like crazy.


Luckily,I haven’t done too much to myself to cause a significant disability. I’ve broken more toes than I can count in Tae Kwon Do, but those usually caused me to limp a bit. The worst of those had me in a moon shoe and using a cane, and I’ve had to wear wide shoes ever since.

My real story was about the time I hurt myself, and was stranded. My son and I went to the YMCA one hot summer day, and we were goofing around in the pool. The lifeguards blew the whistle for the break, which meant that only the adults could be in the pool. I decided that I would try the diving board. Went out, jumped up, and when I came down for the bounce, there was this incredibly searing pain in the back side of my lower left leg. I headed for the water in about the most graceless dive I’ve ever performed.

I came to the surface and got to the side as fast as I could. My left foot was useless, so I couldn’t use a ladder. I couldn’t call for help, either, because during breaks only one lifeguard was on duty, and I couldn’t see where s/he was because I’m nearsighted and didn’t have my contacts in. I decided that my best bet was to get to the shallow end where I could roll out over the wall. That’s what I did, but then I couldn’t stand up… Finally, someone noticed I was hurt, and I was helped to the guard shack for first aid.

The final diagnosis was that I had a pretty severe muscle tear, and it took about 6 months for my foot to function properly. I had a pretty cool hole under my skin that was obvious whenever I sat cross-legged, too.

Owchie owchie owch! I feel your pain, Canvasshoes! I’ve broken more bones in my body than I care to remember, being quite the opposite of the lovely graceful dancer that you are.

One thing I’ve learned in all my adventures as a gimp is that you never fully realize just how many muscles and physical actions you take for granted until you can’t do them anymore. So far my worst injury to date is when I broke my collarbone (yeah, I know. Not exactly a crazy bone-crushing injury, but nonetheless my worst).

I was in phys. ed. and we were jogging. I don’t remember if I tripped or if I was tripped by someone else, but either way I ended up tumbling head-over-ass and did about 3 or 4 sommersaults on the way. I jumped back up onto my feet thinking “gee, that was kind of a neat little stunt” before I realized I hadn’t gotten away without injury. A friend came up to me kind of aghast and stammered “Your arm … it’s … um … funny.” That’s when I realized my arm was hanging off the side of my body at a strange angle.

To make a long story short, the bone almost tore through the skin and Army doctors being what they are weren’t really that concerned with non-life threatening injuries. I had to have it re-broken several times over the coming year and am left seven years later with long thoracic nerve damage and a winging scapula.

During the time I was incapacitated though, it was incredibly difficult to do just about anything anymore. I couldn’t use that arm, but I also didn’t realize how difficult it would be to sit up or lie down, and my whole balance was thrown out of whack. I almost preferred the time I’d broken that wrist, as it was much easier to function around a cast.

I’ve injured both legs before and crutches are definitely no fun. I’ve come to an understanding with God that should I ever be in some horrible accident, I’ll willingly sacrifice an arm over a leg, as walking and being ambulatory is much more important than I’d previously realized. I only hope I don’t have to make good on that anytime soon.

I pray for your quick healing, and hope that your patience holds out as well. I too have a hard-learned sense of respect for those who face these kinds of challenges on a daily basis. I pray you never have to learn to live that way yourself.

OH!! :smiley: XJETGIRLThanks for the compliment, but I’m only graceful ON the dance floor (obviously). I’m always bumping and bruising myself. And yes, as you and others here have noted…wow am I EVER starting to take notice of things I took entirely for granted before.

Luckily the pain level seems to be tolerable right now, even with just ibuprofen (the darn vicoden [sp?] just made me sick).