When I turned forty I went through a midlife crisis of sorts.
At the time, tattoos on women were not a fashion statement, especially not in the business world. Body art today has undergone a dramatic redefinition and has shifted from a form of deviance to an acceptable form of expression. However, back in the late eighties I felt I wanted to make a statement and a tatt was how I chose to do it.
One night with my eldest son in tow I got my tattoo. It is on the outside of my left ankle, a little blue bird carrying a long stem red rose in its beak and a heart in it’s claws. Although it hurt getting it, I was delighted. To me, it reflected just how strong I had become and how much I had grown as a woman. This was to be my celebration, for all the world to see.
At the time, I was the Regional Communications Coordinator for an Ontario government Crown Corporation. About a week after I got my tattoo I was at a meeting in our Boardroom on the 11th Floor at the corner of Bloor and Younge in downtown Toronto.
Half way through the meeting, I got up to get some coffee. From the table behind me I heard the Director of Finance say loudly, so that everyone would be sure to hear, “Leslie, I didn’t know you had a tattoo?”
Without missing a beat I replied, “Lorne, I didn’t know that you looked at my legs.”….
The room remained silent until our Chairman grinned and laughed. Lorne was well known for not being comfortable with women in management positions, but he never tried to embarrass me again …
A Tale of Two Ankles
Ankle #1 (Left one, July. 2011)
In the Summer of 2011 we rented a huge cottage, with sleeping for up to 15 people, a stone fireplace and a wrap-around porch right on the point of a beautiful lake. Fifteen minutes after our arrival I ventured out onto the stone stairway leading out to a deck by the water with my seven year old grandson Gibson and Sadie our dog.
It had been a long four hour journey and both were delighted for the freedom from the constraints of the car and ran off in two directions.
I watched them then started to follow, missed my footing, slid down one step onto my left ankle before flying down over the side of the five foot set of stone steps. Immediately I knew I had severely damaged my left ankle. I got up quickly using the adrenalin surge and with Gibson’s help I hopped over to the deck to examine my leg. Cuts and abraded flesh was apparent on my left arm, leg and foot.
But it was my ankle that made me gasp and hide it immediately. I told Gibson to go get my daughter Siobhan but not tell her what happened just that Grandma wanted her outside.
She took one look at the huge swollen area above my ankle and the black and blue tinges all around my foot and declared I’d need to go to an ER to be seen.
I refused saying it was getting dark and I could do all that they would if someone would carry me back into the cottage. I had Tylenol 3’s for my back pain, ice for my poor foot and vodka to wash it all down. “I will be fine until the morning,” said I….So they pushed me around on a chair and I spent the evening trying to concentrate on playing cards and forget about the pain.
It eventually took months to heal and more before I could actually walk minus a cane and my elastic bandage. But it wasn’t broken this time… They took many x-rays and the orthopedic doctor was astounded it wasn’t broken.
He did tell me that my left ankle had been broken at least twice. I said, “No, it hasn’t.”
He countered, “Oh yes it has…”
Amazing. In the past whenever I hurt it I just bandaged it and got on with life.
Unlike other ankle sprains however, this injury is sustained to the tissue (ligaments) that connect the tibia and the fibula. These are the bones that make up the lower leg (the inner bone being the tibia or shin and the outer being the fibula).
With common ankle sprains “low ankle sprains” the ligaments that are most often injured are the ones on the outside of the ankle. These help to connect the fibula to the foot. These ligaments are injured when someone “rolls” their ankle over. Generally, recovery occurs over a period of 4 to 6 weeks.
Most of us have sprained our ankle in this manner and as the swelling goes away, so does the pain. This isn’t to say that these ankle sprains aren’t serious, but in the majority of instances they resolve uneventfully – or at least we feel that they have.
In the high ankle sprain, there are several structures potentially damaged. These include ligaments that connect the tibia to the fibula known as the tibfib ligaments, as well as a tissue called the interosseous membrane.
The severity of this injury often depends on how many of these structures are damaged. The recovery time frame varies from 8 weeks to 6 months and this is why the high ankle sprain is so dreaded.
This particular injury took more than 6 months to resolve. And still aches and swells up to this day.
Ankle #2 (Right – Oct. 2015)
Note to self:
You can multi-task as much as you want as long as you are sitting to do so.
You are too old to do it while mobile, or – you become immobile immediately – and for the foreseeable future
Late afternoon, Saturday, October 24th:
We took Aidan, our youngest grandson (on this side of the ocean…lol)… who just turned 8, bowling for his birthday party Saturday, him and his friends and cousins to the alleys in Port Dalhousie.
The party was great, the rates reasonable and the kids love the fact that it is all done up in a black light decor.
Anyway after we finished and were packing up, the kids were playing around on the floor doing dance moves, break dancing etc., in front of the lanes because it was slippery and they could slide around in the colourful disco-ball lighting.
One of the staff told them to move out of the area and they did but Aidan who wasn’t there didn’t hear that and so went right back to the same spot and started his own little dance, floor cleaning moves.
I tried calling out to him to get his attention and tell him to get off the floor but the music was too loud for him to hear me so – without thinking – I walked over to tell him.
Should have watched the floor and not the kid.
There is a short step and I having socks on instead of shoes or bare feet lost my footing and slipped, then fell on my good ankle, immediately resulting in (IMHO, as a former nurse) a sprain or separated ankle bone injury….
Because it is my right foot I will not be able to drive for a while, or walk, get shoe on etc., …lol… for that matter.
Lucky for me, not so much for them…lol… my sons Kieran and Brendan were there to carry me to the car and into the house when we got home…
Sunday, October 25th:
Didn’t sleep very well. By the time I got up I didn’t have 6 hours together where I could go hang around the Niagara Health System facility in order to get a second opinion on my diagnosis –
Oh, right and an x-ray … LOL So I compromised. I continued to use ice and heat, keep my foot elevated, wear a tensor bandage and use a cane when walking.
I promised that I would go and get an x-ray and a second opinion on Monday for sure. Pain medication and a little bit of vodka got me through night two.
Monday, October 26th:
Foot is really swollen, purple and painful. Spent almost 5 hours at the ER.
Two x-rays and a stale egg salad and wilted lettuce sandwich later I was told it was a severe soft tissue injury (a sprain) and sent home to apply ice and heat, rest and keep it elevated.
Tuesday, October 27th:
Decided to go out to my meeting, since it was only a sprain and keeping mobile aids in circulation and healing – right?
Was only back home less than an hour when the hospital phoned and told me that there had been a “discrepancy” in my x-rays and because of which I needed to come back in and spend another glorious afternoon at Chez NHS’s Urgent Care department (a true oxymoron).
Turns out the ‘discrepancy’ is an avulsion fracture (a portion of cortical bone ripped from the rest of the bone by the attached ankle tendon).
Note: If you ever need crutches I suggest you learn how to use them when you are healthy and not injured?
Today I got a choice of a cast and crutches or a ‘boot’ and cane. Wanting to survive this injury I chose the boot and cane.
Tomorrow we get to spend another few hours waiting to see an orthopedic specialist…
Cannot express how much I am looking forward to another hospital visit…
I am wondering if we have already spent enough money parking this week to own a spot?