Age, Health, Observations

A Tale of Two Ankles

Note:  I’ve had the best intentions of finishing the cliffhanger post, but every time I come to the blog, I get sidetracked with the design… as you can see.

So… the right leg healed reasonably well.  I became officially bootless on July 24th or thereabouts—at least toward the end of July.  (Can’t remember the day of the week I went to the doc.)  The ankle was still a bit sore as it turns out the break wasn’t completely healed.  But I was cleared for shoes, albeit with ankle support of some kind, and warned not to go on any day hikes or such.

My car started up fine after 6 weeks of sitting idle.  (Subarus may not be sexy, but they sure are reliable!)  And life got back to normalcy, except for a bit of digestive problems I was having.

On Tuesday, August 6, I went to the 7-11 in the afternoon to pick up some milk (because I was out) and chicken noodle soup (for my digestive distress).  While waiting in line (the guy in front of me was taking forever, what with talking on his phone and trying to get just the right kind of “cigarillo” [or whatever those cigar-colored cigarettes are called]) I became dizzy.

[Sidenote:   I’ve been dealing with dizziness for a few months.  My internist says I’m anemic which isn’t all that unusual for me.  Back in days back when I could give blood, I was rejected more than a couple times because my iron was low.  So, no big deal.  Right?]

I finally got to the cash register and was super dizzy.  I was obviously having problems, but the cashier said cheerfully, “How are you today?”  (Someone I told this story to said he probably thought I was drunk.)  I was attempting to form a coherent answer and the next thing I heard was the cashier saying “Do you need help getting up?”

I opened my eyes and was on the floor.  I’d fainted.  But that wasn’t the bad part.  I looked at my left ankle, and it was not at the proper angle.  I closed my eyes, then looked at the ankle again.  Yep.  It was way out of alignment.  What the FUCK!  I thought.  My right ankle’s not even fully healed yet!

I knew I couldn’t stand so someone called 911.  A whole bevy of paramedics came, including a lieutenant (at least that’s what his tee-shirt said, and he kindly took my car from the 7-11 parking lot and moved it to the hospital.)  By now, the ankle pain was off the charts.  Apparently I winced every time the ambulence bumped or swerved, and the EMT trying to holding my ankle still told me the adrenaline was wearing off.  He also told me I must tolerate pain well.  So that made me feel a little less like a baby.  Or an old lady.

We arrived at the ER at about 6 p.m.  And I stayed there for six fucking hours!  I wasn’t neglected, it just took that long what with x-rays, an MRI scan (of my head, because I’d fainted I guess), consulting with my orthopedic doc, and trying to reset the ankle.  I had a couple fractures and a couple of bones were displaced… both on the inside and the outside of the leg.

By the way, the ER doctor’s attempts to get the ankle aligned failed.  The procedure consisted of pumping me full of pain killer, then trying to pull the ankle in place—you know, like they do in the old Westerns. ( I asked if I got a belt to bite down on; apparently, none were available.)  They tried twice, but the misplaced bones kept slipping back out of alignment.

Around midnight I was admitted to the hospital.  At least I got a private room.  (Actually, I’ve been hospitalized only twice in my life, both times at Alexandria Hospital, and both times I’ve had a private room.)

I ended up having surgery on Thursday, August 8 and was in the hospital for a week.  I wasn’t allowed to put any weight on the left foot and wouldn’t be able to for six weeks.  I was eligible to go into a “specialized nursing facility” (i.e., nursing home) for physical therapy but declined for personal and feline reasons.

Since I already had crutches from my first broken ankle only two months ago,  I left the hospital with a walker, a commode, and three EMTs to help me up the three flights of stairs to my condo.

And thus began one of the worst weeks in my life and my long road to rehabilitation.