Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Broken Ankle

Warning: My X-ray pictures are in here.  If you don't like looking at stuff like that, maybe you should skip this one.

So here's how it all went down.

On the afternoon of December 4, I was in the mother's room at work on the fourth floor, doing the pumping thing that I do three times a day.  Of course I was totally multitasking - getting some work done, going over my to-do lists, making a couple phone calls - distracted, I guess.  I grabbed my milk and my laptop and headed back to my desk on the third floor, like I always do, taking the back stairs, like I always do.  

About eight steps before I reached the third floor, my foot slipped off the front of the stair.  I was wearing these cute ballet flats I had just picked up, and my left foot just slipped.  I came down on my left toe on the next step and sort of wobbled there, trying to catch myself, deciding whether to sacrifice the laptop.  I rocked what turned out to be the wrong way and my leg bone kind of came down independently of my ankle.  

I looked at it and instantly knew it was dislocated.  I mean, you could tell - it was just not right.  I screamed, mostly at the guy who had just passed me in the stairs, "My ankle is OUT!  It's OUT!  Call a doctor!"  A couple people came to be with me in the stairs, and a few more came in because they heard me yelling (and of course the stairwell has perfect acoustics).  The security guards, who have basic medical training, came to sit with me while we waited for the paramedics to arrive.  A couple friends called Travis, gathered my things, and notified my boss.  

The paramedics came and gave me and IV with Fentanyl for the pain (sweet relief!), and then I got my first ambulance ride.  There were a lot of firsts that day: first broken bone, first surgery, first general anesthesia, first, hospital stay...

They rolled me into the ER.  The PA there took one look at my mangled ankle and said "Have you ever had surgery?  You're going to have surgery today."  They took some x-rays.  In order for the ankle to dislocate, the leg bones have to break in about three places.  It's called a trimalleolar fracture.  Even to the untrained eye, it was clearly not right at all.

The orthopedic surgeon came down to reset my ankle.  They knocked me out to do this.  Apparently they put me under and I looked over at the nurse and said, "Heeeeeeey, buddy!"  like I was talking to Andrew.  And then while they were setting my bones, I kept telling them to stop Andrew from jumping on my leg.  I introduced myself to the ortho doc three times.  Fun stuff.

After they reset my ankle, I felt much better.  As in, pretty much no pain at all!  In fact, I said they could just leave it like that and I'd be fine!  Unfortunately, it had to be reinforced for daily life and weight-bearing, so I would still need surgery.  But it looked pretty nice right then.

I went up to pre-op around 8:30p - less than six hours after I even broke the thing.  When I woke up, I had a plate and ten screws in my leg.  Technically the surgical procedure was an open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF), which I guess is pretty standard for this (fairly common) injury.

I stayed overnight in the hospital, and enjoyed the help of the nurses.  I was discharged around 2pm the next day, about 24 hours post-injury.  

The first few days at home were tough, painful, and awkward.  After that, it started to get better, first slowly, then more quickly.  Travis has been an absolute champ, almost completely taking over care of the kiddos, preparation of meals, and management of the house.  Our sitter, Maggie, has helped a ton, including staying overnight with the kids on the night I had surgery.  Some dear friends made us some meals.  My mom came into town for a long weekend.  

I've been in really good spirits for the most part, which has surprised me.  I've only had one really bad mood day (and one day with a migraine, which, whoa).  I think that I credit my kids with keeping my chin up.  It's hard to get down when you've got a baby who smiles at you like you are her entire world while she's nursing, and a rambunctious toddler who loves you so much that he's perfectly happy to sit and read books all day just so he can sit next to you.  

It's hard.  Maybe the hardest thing we've done so far.  But we're making it, day by day.

The prognosis is still a little fuzzy.  I'm going in for my two week check up on Thursday.  They will take x-rays, and I think they will have a much better idea of when I'll be able to start weight bearing and then the long road of rehab.  

My postpartum goal of climbing at least one 14er next summer still stands!

And now some pure cuteness:


  1. Yikes! I had a tib-fib fracture last winter that was nowhere near as involved as yours and it was no joke. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

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