That Time I Broke My Ankle


The room was spinning, but it wasn’t. The anesthesiologist had said the antibiotic shot would make me feel weird, but I didn’t know that meant I’d be high out of my mind. The nurses wheeled me into the operating room and moved me onto the table.

“Take a few deep breaths into this,” the anesthesiologist said, as he placed a breathing apparatus next to my mouth. “It’s just oxygen.” But I’d never know if it was really the anesthesia or if the antibiotic shot was because I immediately fell into a deep sleep.

It all started on June 13, 2019. I had just pulled up to the office for another grueling day of work. I hopped out of the car and reached for my bag. Then I felt resistance. It seemed my bag wanted to go into work about as much as I did because it wrapped its strap around the parking brake handle.

I sighed. This wasn’t the first time this had happened and it wouldn’t be the last. I gave it a tug, expecting the bag to quit playing games and disentangle itself. After all, that’s what usually happened. Not today.

No, today my bag decided to play more games and I lost my balance. My left ankle rolled and my knee popped out of its socket. As I fell backward, I felt my knee pop back into place with excruciating sharpness.

In the aftermath, I sat clutching my knee. Tears stung vaguely in my eyes, but did not attempt to fall. I called out to my co-worker who I’d seen get out of her car, but she did not appear. I assumed she didn’t hear me. I sat on the damp asphalt in the rain pondering what to do next. I knew somehow that I couldn’t stand on my own.

Luckily, a passing jogger happened by and helped me up. My co-worker returned as well. It turned out she had heard me, but thought I was just calling hello. When I didn’t follow, she knew something was wrong.

The two women helped me hobble into the office, where I stayed until my mom picked me up at the end of the day to take me to urgent care. See, I thought the problem was my knee and that it was only temporary. I was set to go to a music festival the following weekend, so I was determined to not miss a second of work until then. Little did I know, it was not to be.

“So, it looks like you have a fracture in your fibula and tibia,” the physician’s assistant at the urgent care told me, post x-ray. I was stunned. My knee, aside from being unbearably painful, was fine. But my ankle? Not so much.

Long story short, I spent the next few days bouncing between the ER, an orthopedic surgeon, and the hospital CT scan room. And the conclusion was… I needed surgery. I went twenty six years without breaking a single bone, and the first time I did I needed surgery. And I didn’t even get a cool story out of it. How unfair!

The day the orthopedic surgeon determined I needed surgery was also the day I got said surgery. Yeah, despite all the preamble, the actual procedure went pretty quickly. I thought I’d be nervous, but I really wasn’t. The idea of surgery had been thrown around since the day that ruined my summer. I’d had time to get used to it. Though it still baffles me to this day how badly I managed to mess up my body doing something so innocuous.

“Ren, wake up!” a voice called from the dark. Soon, a small chorus formed telling me to wake up. I decided to ignore them because I wanted to keep sleeping. If I didn’t open my eyes, they’d go away.

“We’re done!” one of the voices called again. “It’s over!” All at once, I remembered where I was— the operating table. I forced my eyes open, feeling more tired than I have in my entire life. I was wheeled back to the observation room. Everything post-op is still a bit of a blur. The main thing I remember is that I wanted to go back to sleep.

Within the hour, I was home and conked out. I spent the next few weeks recovering, and now I have two new scars. I think I’ll tell people they’re battle wounds. Why not make my life seem more awesome than it is? I think I deserve that much, considering. Still, I’ve decided I’m never breaking a bone again.

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