You never know what you’ve got until it’s out of commission. I found this out the hard way last January as I was walking a load of laundry out to my garage. It was a quiet Sunday. The birds were chirping. The sky was a deep blue. I was walking…and then I was on the ground, in some serious pain.
I untangled my legs and took a look at my already swelling ankle. As I sat there on the ground, I considered my plan of action. First, I needed to get the laundry going. Next, take care of my ankle. Easy.
I struggled to my feet. While I could hobble around, it soon became clear that I really should not do that. After starting the laundry, I made my way back into the house, grabbed a cold gel pack from the freezer, a bottle of water, Advil, my kindle (girl’s gotta have her priorities), and a towel on my way to bed.
Luckily, I’ve had a lot of first aid classes. The standard training for an ankle injury is Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate (R.I.C.E. for short). Rest was easy because my delayed response to injury was kicking in. As I sat there shaking on the bed for a few minutes, I wrapped the towel around the gel pack and arranged some pillows to elevate the ankle, which at this point was swollen to twice its normal size. Once I got situated, Buttercup was very concerned and lay quietly near me with her little paw on my arm.
After snapping a few pictures with my phone (as anyone would do, right? it was huge!), I wrapped it tightly with the cold pack and lay back to take the Advil, shedding a few quiet tears of pain. And panic. I was due to leave for a three week tour of Europe in less than three months. That’s a lot of walking. I had been planning the trip for months.
The next morning, as I hobbled to work, it became clear a visit to urgent care was in order. After spending a long time in the waiting room, I was x-rayed and told it wasn’t broken, just very badly sprained. Strangely, that was bad news. A sprain takes longer to heal than a break, sometimes up to a year.
They sent me away with…nothing. No crutches, no boot, no cane, and no advice about it one way or the other. I decided to purchase a knee cart from amazon.com. This thing is not a toy. It’s top heavy and the brakes aren’t incredibly responsive. Still, I would take it over crutches any day of the week. I had to protect it from people at work who wanted to use it was for hallway racing. It may look like a race vehicle, but it’s not a good idea…trust me.
I didn’t cancel my trip. Did all that walking around in Europe hurt? According to my journal, that would be a resounding YES! But as time goes by, my memory of the pain is fuzzy.
Bottom line? Ankles are pretty amazing, and you never really notice until they stop working properly. And now, when I walk my laundry out to the garage on a beautiful morning, I mind my steps a little more closely than I did a year ago.