Without going into detail into why this happened, as I descended my stairs yesterday morning, I jumped down the last seven. I stuck the landing and congratulated myself on completing this momentous feat at age 43, even as I felt a distinct ache spread through the middle of my foot, eventually radiating outwards.
By mid-morning I was applying ice. By late morning I realized that trying to walk felt slightly like standing on broken glass. By the afternoon, I was using crutches, my prosthetic side bearing all my body weight.
This wouldn’t be a big deal if I wasn’t supposed to run 10 miles on Sunday.
I have decided – because it’s the only thing that makes me feel like I’m remotely in control of this situation – that I simply bruised the bottom of my foot and in another 24-48 hours, everything will be all right. However, having never broken a bone in my body aside from the night of my accident almost 16 years ago, I’m not exactly an expert in this area. And while normal humans might compare a damaged appendage to its mate on the other side of their body to assess whether it looks swollen, I no longer have a reference point.
In the interest of not being a whiner, I managed to keep my condition under wraps until early afternoon. However, my ever-observant wife noticed that suddenly I needed the support of a wall to walk and I had to come clean. This led to a healthy debate about whether I should notify a doctor, if so when, or whether a visit to the emergency room was necessary.
Fortunately, being the trained medical professional that I am – I did take a winter first aid course 20 years ago, and I remember at least 5-8% of what I learned then – I successfully deflected this discussion by announcing that it’s a bone bruise. My fallback position, when my wife correctly pointed out that normal people actually treat medical conditions, was that if it was something more than a bone bruise, then going to the doctor/ER today versus tomorrow wasn’t going to make any difference. The race is Sunday: if I’ve fractured or broken anything, it’s safe to say I’m screwed. I’d rather live another 24-48 hours in denial before having my hopes dashed.
I did have a moment of weakness during which I allowed my wife to reach out to a friend who works in a local orthopedic clinic to see if I could get an appointment to x-ray my foot. But I learned that they don’t take my health insurance, which I interpreted to be a sign from the Almighty Himself that I shouldn’t be going to a doctor. God also thinks it’s a bone bruise. I can interpret His meanings, even though He and I never speak.
So, I sit on my bed typing this trying to convince myself that everything will be just fine. My foot will feel as good as new tomorrow morning, despite the fact that there’s little evidence to support that conclusion. (See every other post I’ve ever written, most of them addressing “delusion”, directly or indirectly.) I keep my spirits up by reminding myself that I can stand on the foot. Applying weight to it isn’t painful.
I try to ignore the fact that anything more than what I just described leads to a rather sharp intake of breath followed by a series of expletives.
I suppose there are other week-before-the-race activities that are dumber than jumping 8 vertical feet down a set of stairs onto the only good leg/foot you have. Attempting to juggle axes without any prior experience comes to mind; so does alligator wrestling and swimming with sharks in a trail of chum.
I’m already contemplating workarounds. If worst comes to worst, do I destroy my hands and shoulders and take on the course with crutches? Perhaps I could strap a rocket to my back and lie on my stomach on a skateboard and street luge the course. Maybe applying leeches to my foot will remove the bad humors from my blood and restore me to a healthy and hale state post-haste. These are interesting intellectual exercises that distract me for all of about 25 seconds from the reality that Sunday is now in jeopardy.
I had planned to write a post today about an event I’m attending in New York City tomorrow afternoon. The plan was to share with all of you some interesting thoughts about how modern prosthetic technology has changed both how we function and how we perceive ourselves in fundamental ways. I was going to compare prosthetics to planes, cars, and electric bikes. I was going to discuss how our decision to use each of those items says something about who we are, yet why a prosthetic leg was so much more self-defining than any of those other modes of transportation.
Now, I’m just trying to figure out how I’m going to make it from the parking garage to the building where the event is hosted. I’m also trying to block out the fact that it’s not exactly ideal to speak to an audience about the wonderful mobility afforded by prosthetics when you can’t walk yourself.
I don’t know what I’m going to feel like by tomorrow night when I reach New York City. I don’t know, as I write this now, how or if I’ll be able to navigate the course in San Diego this weekend. But for some reason, I have this abiding faith that everything will be fine. I truly believe that despite this injury, I’ll be running on Sunday. I guess this will be a real-world test of whether I’m truly delusional or not. I could poll all of you on that question, but I’m afraid to see the answer.
(For those of you interested, I’ll provide (hopefully humorous) status reports on my condition throughout the rest of this week on Twitter: @limblogger. I think the appropriate hashtag for this will be #idiotwrecksfoot?)