Thursday, November 24, 2011

Foot Hold

One year ago today, I broke my foot. Weary-brain-convinced that I was on the first rise, I turned around on my staircase and stepped down. In fact, I was on the fourth of 13 stairs, 19th-century steep. I landed in a seated position on my foyer floor. My left foot was twisted under the right side of my derriere. My body was entirely unprepared. I had no time to use my hands to break the fall (probably just as well, might have broken an arm.) It was sickeningly painful.

I freaked out. I was afraid to move or be touched. As I screamed at Scott to stay away (he was trying to help) while my kid chimed in to "leave Mummy alone. Don't touch her!", the common wall neighbours were obviously perplexed. (I learned this a couple of days later when I met them on the porch...)

The next day my (very kind) manager came to take me to the hospital. Stupidly, I'd waited out the whole night at home as Scott had convinced me I was over-reacting. By the time the doctors saw my foot, it - and my ankle - had swollen to 3 times its normal size. They took xrays and ultrasound and told me I had a particularly bad sprain. They gave me crutches and a prescription for a boot cast. When things were practically as ugly a week later, my family doctor had a look and freaked out. She was convinced it was broken and sent me to a clinic to be retested. Those tests revealed a minor break, in addition to the torn ligaments and tendons the hospital doctor had already diagnosed.

I spent 3 weeks at home thinking constantly about, and documenting, ways to ameliorate the healing process. I did 90 minutes of non-weight bearing yoga per day. I lay with my legs elevated (often right up the wall) for hours. I took supplements to diminish inflammation, used analgesic creams, had physiotherapy three times a week for 3 months. I had a lot of time to think.

Before I broke my foot, I imagined I'd go crazy if I couldn't walk, as per usual, an hour plus per day. I did not imagine how hard it would be to get up and down the stairs on my ass or the complexity involved in making food on one limb. I did not imagine the near impossibility of taking a shower. I couldn't imagine that I'd have ongoing foot pain for 8 months (though totally bearable, rather unpleasant) or that my brain would be really fuzzy for a good 6 weeks.

But I'm here to say that I did not go crazy (at least not over relative immobility). I did become a proficient online shopper. (If only I'd known how to knit!)

The great thing about Thanksgiving is that you don't have to cebrate the holiday in order to celebrate the concept.

So, here's a list of the things (in no particular order) I continue to be grateful for, when I remember this time last year:
  • That my workplace was incredibly accommodating and facilitated my ability to work at home.
  • That my manager took me to the emergency room.
  • That I didn't break something more serious.
  • That I managed to find zen, in my own small way, in being unable to walk normally for a few weeks.
  • That I had a great house in which to convalesce.
  • That I healed incredibly quickly, in the scheme of things (according to doctors and my physiotherapist)
  • That it didn't happen in January, which would have required me to negotiate everything in snow and ice.
  • That my husband and kid were supportive (and very helpful with the logistics).
  • That I had Xmas to look forward to.
  • That I live in a place with universal health care.
  • That I have good benefits.
  • That I could afford the deductibles and supplemental care without stress.
  • That I know how to use yoga therapeutically.
  • That I was also able to use it to maintain my sanity and to give me activity and pain relief.
  • That I have many friends, including those in my online community, who provided ongoing support.
  • That the injury gave me perspective in a fairly benign way.


  1. It's hard to believe it's been a year since this happened. I remember it being an ordeal and being impressed by your coping skills. I'm glad you're okay.

    I am late visiting blogs as we've been busy preparing and celebrating Thanksgiving. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. Today we put up our tree and the house smells like pine needles. Divine.

  2. This is a good anniversary to celebrate, with a big fist pump that you recovered. We're so lucky in our health & physical fitness, yet it can disappear in one mishap. That was the biggest legacy for me when I broke my leg 20+ years ago, the recognition that mortality was right there & that everything I depended on & enjoyed was so contingent on my good health.
    Glad you've worked your way so quickly back to your own wellness -- congrats on doing so as quickly and thoroughly as you did.

  3. What a horrible experience. So glad you are recovered.

    I always think about how it just takes one false step....


  4. You have valuable and inspiring perspective. I'm glad this is behind you now, though.

  5. Susan: As you can see, I'm even later at responding! I hope we both have very sure footed 2012s.

    F: I don't think I knew that you broke your leg, did I? If you mentioned it when I broke my foot, I may have forgotten. That time was not the smartest for me :-) You really know the pain I experienced - x20

    Wendy: It does. I still have PTSD when I walk down my stairs. It's whack.

    E: Thank you. And me too! :-)