Wednesday, February 20, 2008

i broke my foot

actually, i broke my fibula. i wish i could say that i did it while snowboarding, but i don’t know how to snowboard, don’t wanna know how to snowboard, and it’s cold up in the snow. but apparently, the ligament is stronger than the bone, because when i rolled my ankle, the ligament pulled on the bone and the tip of the fibula popped off, or so the doctor tells me. the doctor also told me i couldn’t drive, so i am left to question whether doctors know anything anymore. i didn’t even wanna go to the doctor anyway, but several stern voices and the possibility of a painkiller prescription compelled me to do just that. and sorry about the picture following this post - i know its in bad taste to put a foot picture up on my blog.

so i will back up: i broke my right fibula (the smaller of the two bones in the leg; not the tibia, or the weight bearing bone, but the skinny, stabilizing bone) while attempting to cross the street right outside my office in chinatown. i didn’t get hit by a car, a car wasn’t even about to hit me, and it wasn’t even raining. i just happened to be wearing shoes a little too loose at the time, and when i started jogging across the street, my heel slipped off the sole of the shoe, my ankle rolled, and i parachuted out into broken-fibula oblivion. i am surprised at the amount of pain one little snapping bone can cause: i was forced to sit on the stoop of some sketchy-looking building, while a flush of nausea and dizziness came over me. i noticed an older man looking at me from across the street, and then i closed my eyes to think about the pain. when i looked up again, he was bending over me, peering down into my face.

“are you okay?”
“yeah,” i answered. “i hurt my ankle.”
“yes, i can see. do you need any help?”

i declined his offer for assistance, thanked him, and he went on his way. then, when the pain and dizziness abated, i was hit with a migraine. the doctor also said this is common, but since i don’t really know if he knows what he is talking about, don’t quote me or him on it. but understand that a migraine ain’t your typical headache. some of yall be using the word too casually, but if you ever had a real migraine, you would know that it is a word to be said with reverence and caution, that its mere mention can send those unfortunate victims of its wrath searching for a bed in a dark quiet room with the shades drawn and the dripping water faucet turned tight.

well, i struggled through the next couple of hours, rubbing the side of my migraine at unspecified intervals, and keeping my ankle elevated at the advice of my former supervisor, (i was heading off to meet him for lunch when the incident occurred.) my ankle really did feel like it was a mere sprain. but after an appointment with one of my clients, i retired to my cubicle to finish some case notes, and i left my foot unattended on the floor under my desk. the ankle swelled at this point, and the pain when i walked increased significantly.

driving home was nearly impossible – when i tried to press the brake my ankle wouldn’t let me – i felt like it wasn’t even my foot anymore, and i had to downshift to get the car to slow down. and the accelerator pedal wouldn’t press beyond 50 mph on the freeway, and some big ol’ SUV was riding my tail all the way across the ship canal bridge, forcing me to go faster. (i think this is why the doctor said i can’t drive. however, my compromise solution, that i borrow someone’s automatic and drive with my left foot, seemed reasonable. the doctor got irritated at me at that point: “i cannot give you permission to drive! if you need to slam on the brake, you’re foot is not going to let you - and then you could come back and sue me!”)

then the doctor proceeded to give me a walking boot, a pair of crutches, and a prescription for vicodin. interestingly enough, the nurse that fitted me with the boot went on to contradict everything the doctor had just told me. “you can take ibuprofen! i guess tylenol is the drug of the month around here.” and: “just drive with your left foot! trade cars with somebody who’s gotta automatic, and drive with your left foot – but not while you’re taking the vicodin!”

i’ve been interested in the effects of taking a narcotic for pain. i grew up in the 1980s, “just saying no” like nancy reagan told me to (although nobody really ever offered, so i actually never had anything to say no to,) so narcotics are new to me. well, i took the vicodin the first night (my pain was pretty bad,) and iced my foot like i was told to. however, i fell asleep so quick, i'm not sure if i should call vicodin a painkiller or a sleeping pill.

so i am not driving anywhere, and i am relying on the good will of those around me to ferry me from place to place. i had to bus myself to work on friday, which seemed easy enough: take the 15 to downtown, walk two blocks to 3rd ave, catch the 42 and hop off right at acrs. but going home i waited out in the cold for 45 minutes for the 42 to come, and it never showed. my foot started hurting me pretty bad, so i went and got a #11 at the phnom penh noodle house (the best noodle soup on the menu! if you wanna go try some, come pick me up, and we'll go - but you have to drive.) then i caught the #7 instead at jackson and maynard st. by this time i was kinda desperate with foot pain so i gulped down a vicadin.

i changed to the 15 down by pine street, and unfortunately i had no place to sit - so i stood in the middle of the aisle waiting for somebody to exit the bus. well, this kid sitting down in the seat to the right of me was eating fritos, and he was trying to stuff 3 or 4 in his mouth at the same time. but one of the fritos got a little squirrelly; it missed his mouth, tumbled down his sweatshirt, bounced once on the edge of his seat and landed on my walking boot. he looked down at the frito, and then up at me as i flicked the frito off under the seat.

"sorry," he said.
"it's okay," i answered, kinda laughing.

he looked at my boot once more, and proceeded to stuff the rest of his fritos in his backpack, and then he got up to offer me his seat. i usually would've turned down the offer, but my foot was hurting, and he had already gotten up. so i said thanks, and plopped myself down onto the plastic seat.

i was feeling pretty good at this point; i appreciate opportunities to help out others, and sometimes it's good to let others help me out as well. so as the bus bumbled on towards ballard, i sat there on the seat, thinking about stuff, contemplating humanity and feeling really good. i felt a humming sensation in my arms and legs, and this warmth in my chest. and then i started to wonder, "is this me feeling good about the world and about humankind? ...or is the vicodin finally kicking in?"