Injured in action: Some of us just never learn.Posted by Donna Freedman on Jan 5, 2011 | 17 comments
In mid-May I wrote about carelessness in “Inattention can cost you. Ask me how I know.” I noted that it’s important to focus on what you’re doing, lest you do something like break a toe.
Last night I lost focus, and I hurt myself. On vacation. Dammit.
I was taking the dog out for an early-evening walk and for just a moment let my attention wander to thoughts of packing and printing out a boarding pass. The next thing I knew I was pitching forward. I’d missed the last of several steps down to the sidewalk.
I landed hard on my left wrist and left knee, my right foot twisted under me. The dog howled and tried to run away, but a good dog-sitter never lets go of the leash. As he leapt he dragged me forward, almost onto my face, and I let out a howl of my own. Damn, it hurt. Everything hurt.
Carefully I rolled over onto my back, to take the pressure off my foot. I lay there a while, taking stock of the situation. I didn’t think my ankle was broken, but the idea of standing up on it made me feel sick — especially since the first two toes on my left foot were throbbing, too.
Cars were passing, their lights washing over me, but no one stopped. I wanted to think that was because the drivers couldn’t see me.
“How the heck am I going to get back in the house?” I said out loud. The dog lay down beside me and panted.
A sitcom shuffle
After about five minutes I sat up and scooted over to a tree. Holding the trunk, I pulled myself up and cautiously put my right foot down. Ow.
Previous sprains have taught me that things can get worse very quickly. I really, really wanted to get inside because I carry an elastic bandage in my backpack. (Yes, I overprepare. Sue me.)
Getting up the driveway was like a sitcom. I lurched heavily on my left leg, putting as little weight as possible on my right. However, my friends’ dog is easily spooked. Every time I lurched, he jumped and tried to flee. This pulled me off my Quasimodo-like stride and made me yelp — which in turn, made him skitter some more.
I was very glad that front yards in this neighborhood aren’t very big. Less glad that it’s a sloping driveway.
Inside, I found that the one time I needed an elastic bandage was the time I hadn’t actually packed one.
My ankle was swelling, my knee was scraped and my wrist was puffy. I tied my bandana around the ankle as tightly as I could and hobbled off to the kitchen for ice. The chair I picked was the one closest to the back door: If the dog had to go pee, I could let him out without getting up.
Within half an hour my friends returned. After driving for eight hours, they had to turn around and go back out in search of an Ace bandage. Did I feel like a doofus.
And all I could think was, “How am I going to manage at the airport?” The Burbank airport is fairly small, the Phoenix one much larger. I had been looking forward to spending a week with my daughter and son-in-law, maybe cooking them a meal or two, taking Abby shopping and joining her on her early-morning walks.
No one but myself to blame
My friends were kind, bringing me Aleve and fresh ice and dinner on a tray. I felt uncomfortable being waited on hand and foot, as it were. More to the point, I hated feeling immobilized.
Right now I’m giving my ankle the last ice-pack of the night. Then I’ll wrap it again and shuffle off to bed. I need my rest — after all, I have a plane to catch.
Last May when I broke my toe I referred to it as a painful reminder to focus on what I was doing. “Next time I might not be so lucky.” And I wasn’t.
I know that it could have been worse. The ankle is painful but I can move it, so it’s not broken. I’m just so frustrated at being unable to move around easily. Specifically, I’m frustrated that this was my own fault: I should have been paying attention.
I’m hoping I can get a window seat so that no one accidentally hits my foot.