Broken Ankles and Life Lessons

Friends, you may have noticed on social media some chatter about the fact that I’ve broken my ankle. I was bouldering indoors (rock climbing, without ropes, on walls that are <12 ft) with a friend when I was on my way down from a climb. My arms were a little tired, and my hand slipped off a grip, and I fell back. Usually, the mats below break your fall, but unfortunately for me, I fell pretty straight down, landing squarely on one leg–so despite the big mats, my ankle turned beneath me and broke. I heard a big pop, and when I looked down, let’s just say that my foot was no longer facing a direction that a foot should.

Luckily for me, modern medicine is quite miraculous, and over the last three weeks, I’ve gone through lots of doctor’s visits, procedures, and surgeries–and I’m confident things will be ship-shape (and that I’ll be climbing again) in a few months. It’s the first time I’ve ever broken anything (I did have a minor sprain in the same leg in my teens), so it’s been an eye-opening experience.

I’ve learned…

  • that you shouldn’t take basic things like carrying things from room to room (can’t do it with crutches in both hands!) or even showering for granted–trust me, sponge bathing just doesn’t cut it.
  • that crutches are pretty darn exhausting–even for someone with at least some upper body strength training to their credit.
  • sometimes there’s no better outlet for exhaustion than to cry for a few minutes.
  • hospital food isn’t always as bad as people say it is…but sometimes it is.
  • that someone has to invent a better alternative to bedpans.
  • that people interpret crying as a sign of emotional distress even when it’s an outlet for physical distress.

It’s been one that’s made me particularly grateful for (a) my family’s support (my parents visited me in the ER that first night and have been with me for both surgeries and lots of visits), (b) my incredible network of friends (lots of people have spent hours of their time doing chores around my house, helping me with food, transporting me to and from doctor’s visits, sitting with me late at night when things have gotten hard), and (c) access to affordable healthcare through the Affordable Care Act.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about things over the next few weeks, but I just wanted to say for now: I’m doing better every day. I’m grateful. I’m growing.