Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This Week's Woes: Fractured Ankle

Hrm, seems like my food blog has turned into my public rant space.....

This week has just been pretty bad all around.

On Sunday morning, I took my dog out on a morning run to the dog park. I had woken up with this joyful plan to get so much done: jog with my dog, go grocery shopping, buy cold meds for my BF, finish up a reaction in lab and prepare an experiment, enjoy Sunday...

But that was not to be.

Lately, I felt like I was eating and sitting too much; I was itching for some exercise. I decided to combine Hershey's walk and playtime with my exercise time; thus, I ran with him to the dog park and wanted to run around the dog park with him.

I met these cute little girls at the dog park with their beagle. Their dad was there was well, chilling on the bench around the small pool of water in the center of the small dark park. I had ran a circle around the little pool with Hershey and the beagle trailing. After one round, the 7-year old said

"Wow, you're really fast. I wonder if I can beat you!"

I joked with her a bit, then we took off running, the dogs chasing after and in between us. Suddenly, the beagle decided to dash out of the circle we were running in - right across me.

Reacting in surprise, I jumped over the beagle and then everything went so fast. I think my foot skid across the wet pebbles and I came crashing down on my right side. Pebbles had cut into my left leg. Pebbles indented my right body. I held my lower left leg as shock and pain coursed through me.

I just lay on the floor, somewhat silent, somewhat moaning, left leg bent up and cradling my left ankle. The father crouched down next to me, asking if I was all right.

I could not answer. There was pain and fear that it could be bad, really bad.

Finally, the pain subsided enough that I could push myself halfway up from the ground.

"Can you get up?"

I muttered something along the lines of a maybe. I tried getting up a bit, but I could not get up all the way. The man offered and carried me to the bench nearby. I sat and lay my left foot straight on the bench. The children were still jabbering and clearly did not understand the seriousness of the situation. Some others at the dog park stood at a distance. One woman I met there before stood nearby and spoke with me. Her cute long-haired dachshund, Mojo, sat on the bench quietly with me. Hershey was still running around, playing with the beagle and the other terrier.

"Haha, thanks a lot for the love and care, Hershey!" I jokingly yelled to him.

Suddenly, I began to gasp. Nausea took over, pushing the urge to retch. I did not understand. My ankle was the part of me damaged. Why was my gut responding in this way?

"You should lie down," the woman owning Mojo advised. "Sitting up may feel good at the time, but it actually makes you feel worse." I followed her advice and lay down on the bench. The urge to retch subsided.

The man came back with water. After asking my state, we settled on taking me back to my apartment so I could go to the ER (it was a Sunday). He carried me to his car, loaded the kids and the dogs, and drove me home. I thanked the man and confronted my BF with my situation.

It was off to the ER. St Joseph hospital is so nice compared to all the times I have been to the ER in Oakland. We were admitted to a room pretty quickly, although the wait after the X-ray seemed to be a while and they never came with the water I requested.

The X-ray machine was so cool. They have this portable X-ray machine, kind of like the X-ray machine at the dentist office with the adjustable head, but with a rolling cart as well.

I was diagnosed with a fractured ankle - specifically the lateral malleous. They gave me a walking boot and crutches, as well as a prescription for anti-inflammatory and pain-killer medication. After the ER visit, I asked for my X-rays because I always am fascinated by these cool biomedical devices. You can see my lovely little fracture below, as well as the cool look of cancellous and trabecular bone! Check out the porosity. (I often worry I have low bone density, which would make me more at risk for bone injuries and osteoporosis).

So, since Sunday morning, I've been struggling to go about my usual life without my left leg, hobbling on crutches, avoiding moving my foot in ways that aggravate my ankle. It's been tough, but I've been getting better at it. Luckily (and not so luckily), my BF got sick and couldn't go to work, so he could drive me around and be my caretaker. Truth be told, he has only been a bit of a help. I have been able to do a lot things by myself, but with extreme difficulty. I just wish he would help without me asking a bit more.

I still cook and prepare dinner for both of us on my right leg. I inch my right foot to position me closer to walls and counters, then push and hop myself along the counters to get farther. I do army crawls on the ground now when I take my heavy walking boot off, then stand up on my right leg when I reach a counter or table. I practiced using just one crutch to free my left hand, but I still have not got this yet. Today, I can put my foot down and put bit of pressure on it, but not all my weight yet. It's not too bad a fracture, considering the lack of pain I feel and the ability to place it on the floor already. It looks bad still, much puffier than my right ankle and blue-purple around my ankle.

I went to work (lab) yesterday and today. Such simple tasks have become remarkably difficult now. What I could have done within 1 hour, I do over half the workday. I lay my body over the pushcart and use my right leg to push myself down the hallway, then I struggle with my crutches or the cart to keep doors open and get inside one lab, then struggle to open the door to leave this lab and go back to another lab. Research is so exhausting when you are disabled. Halfway through the day, I am tired and frustrated.

I am kind of a crazy workaholic.

To make matters worse, I think I am catching a bit of my BF's cold. Today, my stomach and bowels were not agreeing with me. I don't know if I ate something bad or what... My right leg is so sore at having to hop around and prop myself up all the time. And I feel like my BF could pay more attention to me than his computer games, offering a bit more help or care. I see he's sick and offer cough drops and meds and easy home remedies (hot tea and honey) to make him feel better. Don't I get a little "Are you feeling okay?" or "Let me make dinner for you or buy dinner tonight" when I clearly show I am having some stomach issues or am tired from this handicap?

Boys. Psh.

Good news is that I bet this will heal pretty fast. I think I should be able to walk on it within a week. I just have to consult my doctor or the orthopedist the hospital suggested to me.

Once I'm healed, I can hopefully get back to running. Mostly, I want to get back to biking to and from work so I do not have to bother others to give me rides. That's a thing about me; I hate asking others for help. I know I should sometimes, but I hate bothering others. They are busy and I can do things myself, granted at a bit more difficulty...

So, yeah. Otherwise, I got back into crocheting thanks to this fractured ankle, and I made quite the scene at work hobbling around and gliding down the hall on a pushcart...

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