After all these years, dear readers, I can safely say I’ve encountered a “first.”
I tore a ligament in my ankle. Sitting still.
Yes, sitting still. Now, I’ve torn, broken, twisted, and battered my knees and ankles many times; I’ve even had the other ankle surgically reconstructed using a tendon from my leg that was strategically drilled into the bone and held in place with pins. But normally, there are reasonable explanations for my injuries: a wrong turn in kickboxing class, a stumble off a sidewalk onto cobble stoned streets while wearing heels, too much wear and tear from figure skating as a child, etc.
Now imagine my sheepishness when I hopped/limped into the ER at 1 am last week and had to answer the inevitable, “So how did this happen?” What else could I do but admit the truth: I am that much of a disaster that even sitting still I somehow manage to injure myself. I mean, I thought I’d reached an all-time low when I broke my finger typing last month (the second time I’ve done it that way), but at least I know I can still surprise myself.
For years, friends and family have half-joked that I need to encase myself in a protective bubble. In fact, even my doctors have said it. Whether it’s a strep infection in my knee, a rare type of bug no one else grows, the time I broke into hives only to be told I’d somehow become allergic to myself (I’m not kidding on that one), or any of the other myriad medical mishaps I’ve encountered, each time the tale borders on the improbable, the response is the same: “You need a bubble.”
Actually, I think I need two.
Allow me to contextualize this most recent escapade. I was sitting on the floor of my parents’ bedroom, legs on the plush rug and back leaning against the bedpost. My dog had her head resting on my left ankle, which was turned outward. After a few minutes, my ankle felt sore but I was reluctant to move it. I remained that way for about an hour and when I finally stood up, I fell over and my eyes smarted with the pain shooting up the side of my ankle, into my heel, and up my leg.
But silly girl, why didn’t you just move your damn foot when it started to hurt?
Ah, but don’t forget, I ordered two bubbles. The other one is for my similarly cursed dog, who was resting her lamp-shaded head on my foot and howling piteously in pain. You see, we’d just gotten back from an emergency animal hospital where she’d had a 4-inch long, 1-inch wide plank of wood removed from her right eye.
Yes, my dog had a plank of wood stuck in her eye. Well, to the side of the eyeball itself, where it sliced through her mucus membranes and sliced all the way back to the bony orbital near her brain, narrowly missing her optic nerve. At one point, we didn’t think she’d even be able to keep the eye, but she did.
It was a hideous sight, opening the back door and finding her sitting there waiting to come in, this huge stick in her eye. It didn’t even look real.
Who was I to move an animal in clear agony? And really, whose feet don’t get uncomfortable in certain positions? Even I couldn’t have guessed I’d actually hurt myself sitting there.
(Side note: she wound up going back to the hospital as an inpatient for four days and is just now starting to make a very slow recovery.) (Side note two: caring for two dogs, one of whom requires constant attention and has more meds than I do, while on crutches and painkillers, is not ideal).
I got a phone call yesterday and the person was surprised to hear me so hoarse.
“Isn’t it your ankle that’s hurt?” she asked.
“Yes, but I’ve been sick with a respiratory infection for five weeks now. I just forgot to mention that with everything else going on,” I said.
I had to laugh a little at the fact that this didn’t surprise her in the least.
So yes, I need two bubbles. One for me since obviously I can’t get out of my own way, and one for my panic-attack prone, anxiety ridden, severe food allergy suffering dog who was doing what she loved best—racing around the fenced-in yard with her best friend—when somehow she practically impaled her own eyeball.
She’s resting her swollen head on a pillow right now, and as I type, I’m elevating my swollen ankle. We definitely deserve each other.