I broke my ankle on a Thursday afternoon while walking the dog up to the bus stop on a gorgeous early summer day. We live in a neighborhood off of a rural, two-lane state highway. The bus stop is at the entrance to our neighborhood. I was early, so I crossed the highway to walk the dog around the development immediately across the way.
The pothole that got me was about 2 ft. across and maybe 4-5 inches deep. I was hurrying myself and the dog across (cars and trucks tend to go blasting through there), and she was trying to sniff at something in the road. I looked towards her to pull her away, stepped right in the pothole without seeing it, and the next thing I knew I was tumbling ass over teakettle in the middle of the highway. There was a horrible loud wet popping noise from my right ankle, and an immediate sensation of deep throbbing WRONG. I looked down and could see the edge of a bone protruding under the skin just above the inside of my right ankle, and my foot was hanging at an odd angle.
Everyone keeps asking me if I was in excruciating pain right away–I was, and I wasn’t. It was more like a thumping numbness–like the pain was there, and I was aware of it, yet somehow I was blocking the worst of it at the same time. Even before I had rolled to a stop, the adrenalin had kicked in. I was all, “AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH FUUUCCCKKK I BROKE MY ANKLE AHHHHHHHHH!”
The leash had gone flying out of my hand when I fell, so my immediate concern was a) get out of the road, and b) get the dog. Zoey had continued on across the road, but came straight back when I called her, no doubt intrigued by this interesting new game I was playing, where I was crab-scuttling backwards towards the curb as fast as I could, using my left foot and my hands to lift up off the ground enough to raise the bad leg and scootch towards safety as fast as I could, accompanied by a non-stop litany of AHHHHH FUCK FUCK FUCK BROKEN OH IT’S BROKEN FUCCCKKKK. With each scootch, I was aware of edges grating in my ankle where edges should not be, and the nauseating throbbing was intensifying. By the time I made it to the curb and up onto the grass at the edge of the road, I was shaking and gasping and sweating. I couldn’t lift the leg enough to get it over the curb, so my calf rested on the curb and the broken ankle hung off over the shoulder of the road.
As I reached the curb, a white van came driving down the opposite side of the road. The man driving slowed down and called to me out of his window to see if I needed help. “I just fell down and broke my ankle; I need an ambulance!” I shouted back. He did a u-turn, pulled into the street beside me, and came out to help. He called 911 on his phone, then grabbed an orange traffic vest out of his front seat and stood in the road waving cars to slow down and go wide around me.
Meanwhile, I had fished my own phone out of my back pocket and was attempting to call my husband, who works about 25 minutes away. Except I was trembling and lightheaded and couldn’t think straight, so I kept putting the call through and then hanging up on him.
Imagine Brian, minding his own business at work, when he received this series of calls:
- B. “Hello?”
Me (Edge of hysteria in my voice): *Gasp!* BRIAN, I NEED YOU TO COME HOME RIGHT NOW *Gasp* I’VE”… (Click.)
B. (Sounding Shaken): “Mel?”
Me: “PLEASE COME HOME RIGHT NOW I’VE FALLEN AND I *Gasp* “… (Click.)
B. “OH MY GOD WHAT IS GOING ON?”
Me: “I WAS WALKING ZOEY AND I’VE BROKEN MY ANKLE AND THE AMBULANCE IS COMING AND I CAN’T TAKE THE DOG AND I NEED YOU TO COME HOME RIGHT NOW!”
B. “Okay, okay…I’m leaving right now. Where are you???”
Me: “I’M ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE BUS STOP COME HOME RIGHT NOW”… (Click.)
At this point I was starting to see spots. I dropped the phone in the grass, said to my Good Samaritan, “I’m going to lie down now or else I’m going to pass out,” and laid back in the grass, still shaking and trying desperately not to hurl.
The rest gets a little fuzzy: the bus from the high school pulled up, and my Good Samaritan flagged down the kids: “Who’s mom is this over here?” He ushered my horrified looking daughter over to where I was lying; she took one look at my ankle propped on the curb, put one hand to her mouth, and turned green. (I remember sitting up and trying to play it casual: I’d had a fall, the ambulance was on the way so I could get x-rays, no biggie but could she please take the dog home. Like the fact that my foot was sticking out at a 90 degree angle to my leg wasn’t all THAT bad).
The paramedics arrived and got a pad under my ankle so that it wasn’t hanging from the curb, then got my leg into some sort of splint. They tried to be as gentle as possible, but when they started working on me I had to lay back in the grass again while the world swam and the pain decided it was not kidding around. Then the ambulance showed up with more paramedics. One of them helped me up onto my good leg and hobbled me onto a gurney. They loaded me in, and we were off to the hospital.
The guy who stopped and helped me left as they were loading me into the ambulance. I never got his name. Whoever you are, dude…thank you SO MUCH.