The Road to Recovery: Talus Dislocation (Right Foot)
On Friday, I fell off the climbing wall at the gym. I fell like I had done a few dozen times before and like I would likely fall in the future. The difference here is that my foot caught on the edge of the mat. I could feel my foot turned the wrong direction. Holding my leg up, on my hands and knees..all I could do was cry out for the pain and for what I knew had happened…or what I thought I knew… I thought I had snapped my ankle… In an instant, my boyfriend Michi was at my side, a gentle urge to relax and lay on my back and another friend, Brian, at my foot holding it up. I refused for a while, paralyzed by the pain, not wanting to look at my foot and wondering if I would ever kiteboard again… Eventually, I let them turn me on my back and I got my first look at my foot. It didn’t even look like it belonged there…it was turned the wrong direction…how could my foot be facing that way?
I was glad for the ambulance. Moving me downstairs was a painful affair and, once in the ambulance, they were able to give me pain killers to take the edge off. Once at the emergency room, passing doctors and nurses who all had the same..expression when they saw me, I was taken into a trauma room. Thankfully, they gave me something more for the pain..something they would have to do twice more before I left. X-Rays were taken and it was determined that I had no breaks, but it was obviously dislocated. When I asked the doctor if I would be put out for the relocation, he said ‘yes’, when I asked him if I would feel it..he said ‘you won’t remember it’…thankfully I didn’t. That was it…a splint and a prescription and I was sent home…
We stopped at a store to fill the percocet prescription, luckily I stayed in the car while Michi took care of it. The Morphine had made me nauseous and moving was a little too much for me. When we got home, I spent my first sleepless night-a mixture of pain and worry that wouldn’t let me really rest.
That next day was really a drug filled haze. I spent most of the day on the phone with a friend figuring out how much and how often I could take the percocet without hurting myself. We finally decided that the pain was too much, so it was back to the emergency room. My orthopedic surgeon had decided to order a CT scan to determine if the pain was coming from a break that had been missed on the X-rays. There were no breaks, so I was given more Morphine and sent on my way. We had to stop at the store..and good timing because I finally got sick from the Morphine. That night though, I slept and it was wonderful!
Today, I went to see my orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jaakkola. I had spent most of the morning on the phone with Tricare, his office, the Emergency Room and my Primary Care Doctor trying to get my referral approved so I could go into his office. I finally, and unintentionally, started crying on the phone with Tricare. I was so frustrated, why should it be so hard to get this approved? It is something I needed to get better, so why the hassle? I suppose the woman felt bad for me, because she took care of it…something that anyone could have done but everyone chose not to do. Shortly after, the doctor called me to explain what he had seen on the X-rays and CT scan and that I should just come in around 1230 and that his secretary would be calling me for information. Amazing! Now, my friend, David Green arranged all of this for me…I am amazed at how people can be so helpful!
In any case, my appointment went well. I was put into a hard cast (pink) and taken for more X-rays. Both Dr. Jaakkola and his PA Bill Phillipps were incredible. They were thorough, friendly and professional. Dr. Jaakkola told me I would be in a hard cast for 4 weeks, then a different cast for a week, then in the next week I could start to put a little weight on it and then go into a full weight bearing cast. In total, I can expect to be in a cast for 10 weeks and then rehab after that. I have a long road ahead of me, but this is a short time when compared with the rest of my life. I am lucky because it could have been much worse.
In the past few days, I have really seen the friends I have. I have gotten calls, messages, facebook posts and even an “edible arrangement”. I am appreciative of all of the outpouring of support from those around me-and of course immensely grateful to Michi who has the lion’s share of the burden by taking care of everything at home.
Over the next few months, I will share my road to recovery. I can’t promise that I will always be positive about it, but I will try. Any injury is hard for an athlete, but one that takes you out for a long time is even harder. Thanks for reading and I will keep you updated on the progress!