So yesterday Pippi joined me for lunch, which was a rather rushed affair because an employee had called at 11:58 with a fairly urgent matter requiring several follow-up e-mails, etc. before I could leave the office. We had been hoping to take a little walk to look at the vegetable garden tucked into the landscaping by Administration, but in the end there wasn’t time. So we decided to at least take a detour outside on the way back just so we could feel the sun on our faces. We were going to cut across the small patio by the cafeteria, and then go in one of the side doors just past it. Only as we were crossing the patio, I must have caught my foot on something, or stumbled or I don’t know what. All I know is that my bad ankle buckled beneath me, I couldn’t recover my balance, and I went down. Pippi said it was one of the most graceful, ballerina-like falls she’d ever seen – I sorta twirled as I tried to get my balance, and then I was on the ground. If I hadn’t said a bad word in a loud, clear voice once I was down, she said she wouldn’t have been sure that it wasn’t intentional.
And, you know, it wasn’t intentional. My ankle hurt like hell, I had scraped up the opposite knee, my lunch salad was spilling out of its to-go container (I think it was the to-go container that saved my hand from being skinned up too, heroically sacrificing its life for the sake of my epidermis, my ice water was dribbling away across the concrete, and I absolutely did not have time for this today.
So there I am, sitting on the ground, trying to assess the damages. Mostly I was trying to figure out if I could get back to my office under my own steam. Cuz, you know, I had work to do. Plus, when I am hurt my instinctual reaction is to go hide somewhere private so I can lick my wounds in peace (No, I don’t mean that literally. Gross!) without having to handle other people’s reactions as well as my own. But, of course, that wasn’t going to happen. I could tell pretty quickly that, from the amount of pain my ankle was throwing off, I wasn’t going to be able to walk without crutches or a cane of some kind. I was going through the light-headed, stomach-upset, cold sweat stage of post-injury pain, so I wasn’t able to think as clearly as I really wanted to.
Right about then our radiology manager (kindof an awesome guy) and one of his x-ray techs came out. They had been sitting in the cafeteria, and saw me go down. They asked me if I needed help getting up or if there was anything else they could do. By this point I had realized that even if I had a crutch or a cane, getting back to my office was going to be pretty awful. So I asked if they could go get me a wheelchair, and they promptly went off to do just that. Pippi went off to get me a new to-go box for the rest of my salad that hadn’t perished on the concrete, and for a few moments I was alone, taking deep breaths, and trying to figure out what to do.
About that time, our chaplain, who had also been in the cafeteria, noticed the commotion and came out. She asked me whether I was just sitting on the patio in the sun to sit, or if I had been hurt, and I replied that it appeared that I had sprained my ankle, and that they were getting a wheelchair. She decided to stay with me, taking off her jacket and holding it up behind me to shield me from the sun. And then the radiology manager came back with both the wheelchair and an ice pack, Pippi came back with my newly boxed up lunch, I was able to get into the wheelchair, and suddenly I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to do because they had decided that I was going to the ER whether I liked it or not. Since they were the ones pushing the chair, I wasn’t exactly in a position to tell them no.
And this is how I found myself, yesterday afternoon, a patient in my own ER, being fussed over by the nurses, and teased by the cops. Sarge threatened to do Embarrassing Things with the security cam footage of my fall. I told him that if he even tried, I’d sick his Favorite Volunteer on him every. single. day. I kept trying to get in touch with my HR team, both to let them know what happened and why I wasn’t back from lunch yet, and because there was that time-sensitive urgent thing I’d started working on right before lunch. None of them were answering their phones, so I sent Pippi over to tell them what was going on and retrieve my purse (I wanted the knitting that was inside).
I got x-rays taken, and answered lots and lots of questions, including about what kind of pain killers I would prefer (the kind you can be on while driving, or the kind where you really shouldn’t drive), and filled out the police incident report (Sarge let me use his really good pen), and wished that I hadn’t decided I could go one more day without shaving my legs when they started taking pictures of my injuries for the report, and got lectured on the proper application of ice and elevation of the wounded part. And then the x-rays came back, and they discovered that although I hadn’t broken anything, I had twisted one of the ligaments. So they fitted me with an air cast, and gave me crutches, and had me fill out workmans comp paperwork and let me go. And then my favorite ER nurse, when she saw how much I had to carry (purse, shoes, ruined stockings, paperwork, etc.) decided to have pity on me and personally wheel me back to HR. So we set off, me using my crutches to push the door opening buttons, making stops at the police station (Sarge needed another picture of my swollen ankle) and pharmacy (drop off my prescription for painkillers) on the way. And it was ridiculous and awesome.
After that I spent a couple of hours taking care of a few truly urgent things, and filling out so. many. forms. So many. Injury reports, safety reports, Bureau of Workman’s Comp, I don’t even know how much. I mean, how many times do you have to write “I was walking back to the office after work, tripped and fell, sprained ankle, scraped knee, received treatment in the ER”? One form wanted to know whether or not I’d been properly trained to do the action I was doing when I got hurt. And, well, all evidence to the contrary, I do know how to walk. Pippi came back to pick me up at the end of the day (she’s kinda awesome like that), and the rest of the evening was mostly spent at home in my bed, ankle propped up on an ice bag, playing stupid facebook games. There was some reading, and at some point I ordered Chinese.
When I woke up this morning most of the swelling had gone away, and I was able to get to the bathroom and back without using crutches at all. I’m kinda hoping that this progress will continue, and with careful icing, etc., I might even be able to drive myself home after work. And then tomorrow I’ll be off on family vacation, and I won’t have to worry about things like driving my car, and whether or not my ace bandage will fit inside my shoes!
Man, I’m getting tired of crutches. They say bad things come in threes – this is my third leg injury in as many months. Maybe I can be done now?