ouch and ouch

Because I had a minor mishap (falling off a stool and landing on a body part not actually designed to be landed on) that resulted in some rather large consequences (a left ankle broken in three places, and absolutely NO weight-bearing for six weeks). The good news is I can still go to the gym and do upper body work.

The process from Saturday morning to now has been interesting.  It’s still not clear how I fell from a three-foot stool, but at about 9:15 a.m. fall I did. After that first excruciating minute — when the heat around my head boiled my brain and thoughts evaporated to the moment — I looked at my ankle, I knew it wasn’t going to be good. There are some angles that are just not natural for a human ankle.

But there were things to do: brunch plans to be canceled, dog walking and caretaking to be organized, ambulance to be called. Parker was very worried, fussing around me. I reassured him that everything was going to be ok.  I practiced breathing evenly to  make space for the pain.


The paramedics were very kind and as it turned out, I knew one of them..well, we know each other’s dogs and his is memorable for his dog: the only swimming bulldog in Toronto.

After some preliminary triage and splinting me right there on the stairs… um yes:  I moved from my office on my bum..and  went down the first group of stairs on my bum…I told the paramedics what I wanted them to do so that I could get to the stretcher because they were doing it all wrong for the space. Never mind that they do this every day. There was no way I was going to be piggybacked. I was gentle though and they said they liked being told what to do.

They were humouring me. Maybe shock was likely setting in. I could not stop shivering. Curiously, my blood pressure was its normal ice queen cool normal. 102/60. How does that happen?  When I was really frightened for a moment at the hospital — when they told me it was surgery or bust — it shot up to 124/72.

At the hospital, the paramedic with the bulldog showed me his tattoos. We chatted a bit more and then off they went for their next call. But not before he offered to walk Parker if that was needed. The community of dog owners in Toronto is  just amazing.

The hospital stay was kind of boring except for a few cases of human error that meant 48 hours without food or drink but lots of IV fluids and therefore a number of rather arduous trips to the bathroom; being given a drug that tends to make people belligerent. This drug also steals memory: it knocks you out quickly so that you — the patient — will not remember the brutal things done to you, and so the crew attending to me at the hospital shoo’ed people away saying it wasn’t a pretty sight, this rather brutal manoeuver to put the ankle back in place. I didn’t want the drug and I did not want to be there, and I don’t remember a darn thing of that 10 minutes. But I swore in public. Me! At other people!  And it took four people to hold me back to stop me from leaving, and yes I am bragging a bit cuz it’s kinda cool to be strong. I still cringe when I think of cursing people who were trying to help me.

Nurse Ben thought I discovered his secret name when I said a few words in rather short order as he was moving me and my leg went the opposite direction than where the rest of me was going.

And because human error crops up in the silliest of places, the orthopaedic resident thought it a good idea to write on my left leg with the cast that contained the broken ankle that had to have surgery. His letter formation was pretty good — and more like an architect’s letter rendering than a doctor’s — so I have yet to wash it off. As I was being wheeled into the surgery, I heard Christmas carols.

I don’t remember anything after the Christmas music but when I woke up a number of hours later in my room, began my campaign to remove the IV…and go home…now.  Since I proved I could pee easily one of the cute nurses took the IV out of my arm after about six hours of asking, but left the one in my hand. Campaign for removal continued.

Sunday passed into Monday, and before it was daylight, someone came into the room with a big pink neon sign with NPO on it and was going to stick it over my bed.  I asked why. “Well you can’t eat or drink before surgery,” said the guy in the scrubs.

I furrowed my brow. Where was my brain when I needed it??

“Surgery?”  I asked somewhat confused.

“Yep,” he said. “You’re scheduled for surgery.”

I furrowed some more.  “But…but …   I had surgery already,”  I said.  “I’m allowed to eat.”

“Your surgery is today.” he said. He must have gotten a thought in his head, because he asked me my name.  I told him, giving him my FULL name.

“Oh,” he said.  And walked with his pink sign to the woman in the next bed in my room.

As for discharge, well, I was not going to be discharged until the physiotherapy people came to teach me the fine art of working with crutches. In the meantime…a tray of food:  cornflakes, toast and tea.

Then some beautiful sporty looking people with beautiful smiles walked in the room right up to my bed. I asked somewhat warily, “Are you from Physio?”  They both said yes.

I gave myself a talking to, mostly to gather my strength and not be shaky and so…off to the races it was…after a trip to bathroom. Then it was walking down the hallway to the stairwell, practicing on the stairwell and walking back along the long hallway back to my bed.  I passed with honours and got my get out of jail card right then and there.

Nurse Michelle — who looked too much like Barbie for me to take her seriously — discharged me with orders about keeping off of my  foot for six weeks, and what to make sure I paid attention to over the coming days.  I was the epitome of the appearance of compliance!

I am at home now, adjusting. And practising my growls.


About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween.
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6 Responses to A BIG OUCH!

  1. lynn says:

    Just checked in to see what mischief you’re up to these days and lo and behold, you fell off of a stool! What gives? Kidding aside, I’m sorry to hear about this and happy to hear you are repaired and well.

    On a related note, when I came out of surgury at The Jewish General in Montreal, the first thing I heard in the recovery room was a man singing Hava Nagila. I thought I’d died and gone to the Jewish heaven. Funny that you hear Christmas carols!
    See you soon and for god’s sake, stay healthy! Lynn

    • fs says:

      Lynn — Oh my gosh that’s funny: do you think it augurs for a diverse, yet communal recovery room in the sky? And I’ll have you know I AM healthy. Just a bit more cyborg than I was two weeks ago. See you when you get here…

  2. Tina says:

    Oh my God! I had no idea! You couldn’t have been hung-over as you only had one glass of wine the night before!

    I can honestly say I know what you’re going through! Been there, done that! Even fell off a one-foot Rubbermaid stool! The good news is that you can still drive — at least, I did! Just remember to keep Parker away from swimming pools!

    Also, it’s much easier and faster to go down stairs on your bum. If you have a chair on casters, they’re great for wheeling around too.

    If you run out of pain meds, wine works wonders too!

    Take care,


    • fs says:

      T: I have a list of things to do this weekend, and calling you to let you know of my…mishap..was top of my list..specially after teasing you about reaching up to swat a spider! It wasn’t wine at all: it was something I shall never know the name of unless STUPIDITY covers everything. See you soon….and dinner was….as always, lovely.

  3. Terrisita says:

    So sorry to hear about your situation….you aren’t going to need the gym, the crutches provide a pretty complete workout, from my memory. Hope you are pain free, and glad to see that you weathered it with your sense of humour intact…or is that humerus …(oh wait, wrong bone), as well as your clever turn of phrase. Get well soon, and STAY OFF THE ANKLE!!!

  4. Linda says:

    Great blog post…. now only if were fiction!!!! Hope you’re doing ok- just think- you can be dancing by new year’s eve!!!! Whoopie!!!!

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