No, this is not a video of me demonstrating my klutziness...but it is a story about it.
September 14, 2009. It was a gorgeous day and I was walking across campus on my way to work. I still remember what I was wearing. My hair was in a bun holder, I was wearing a pair of topaz earrings, my favorite jeans, a white t-shirt with a brown pattern, and a pair of plain leather Keds.
Alright, this is kind of a secret but I'll tell- you might as well know anyway. I'm a very...intuitive person. I often guess things I shouldn't know, I've made contact with a few dead relatives, and if we spend enough time together I can sense where my brother is and we have, more than once, sent each other messages mentally. Once one of my teachers was pregnant and she had just had an obstetrician appointment the day before where the ultrasound looked like she was having a boy. It was her first baby and she was super excited, and when she told my class I told her she was having a girl. She looked at me like I was crazy, and I don't blame her, but lo and behold a few months later we find out I was right because she'd had a girl. Haha, the boy sitting behind me slapped my back and shook my shoulders because he remembered what I'd said, "You were right! You were right!"
So sometimes I know things before they happen. While I was walking to work that day, just minutes before I broke my leg I was planning the rest of my day: I had class later, when and what I would eat, I was going to go to the gym, etc. But when I had the thought that I would go to the gym my next thought was "No, I can't, my leg's broken." I actually stopped dead in my tracks for a second because it caught me by surprise that some random, untrue thought like that would just pop in for no reason. I shook it off and continued walking.
My school's campus was essentially one big hill. The building I had to get to, though, was off the main hill, so I had to go down one of the sides of said hill to get down there. There were two ways to do this without cutting through a building (which I ended up doing for the rest of my college career because I'm now afraid of walking down hills, haha); one was to go down the main, paved path that swung out wide and was at a sharp, awkward angle. The other was to cut down the hill over a grassed area with a large willow tree in the center. Very few people going to the building I was going to would take the paved path because it just took too stupid long and the grassy way wasn't at that stupid angle you have to have your knees bent to walk. So I stepped over the row of stones that lined the paved path with my left foot and then--
I don't actually remember this part. There's about 2 seconds there that are a complete blank except for the sensation of falling and hearing my fibula crack. Later inspection of my shoe shows I somehow ended up putting the inside of my left foot on the ground and slid on it, causing my ankle to bend sharply and put pressure against the bottom of my fibula, causing it to bend outward and crack just above my ankle.
But God, I'll never forget the sound. I crack my knuckles compulsively (and neck and back and wrists and toes...) and the sound of my bone breaking was similar, but deeper in a way. Instead of a sharp crack it was a deep thunk.
So I sat there on the ground for a minute. Now, I fall all the time-- 10 times since I started college, in fact. Full-out falling. Like, on the ground, skinned knees, torn jeans, people laughing-type falling. And I sprain my ankles. It's another family thing, we sprain our ankles constantly. Our house has more crutches and ace bandages than a hospital. So while I sat on the ground I thought, "That's never happened before."
Then the first wave of pain hit and I felt nauseous. "That's never happened before, either." A couple seconds later the second wave of pain hit and my eyes burned with tears. "Okay, well, that's another thing that never happened before..." And then there was a third wave of pain, then nothing. So I just sat there on the ground. Luckily it was a nice day. So I waited. The pain pretty much left, so I thought maybe it was like a fluke thing...I twisted it badly or something and I'd sprained it but good. So I decided to move.
Then came the most blindingly white-hot brain-stops-functioning eyes shut and mouth open involuntarily holy shit I think my mother just felt that and I hope I didn't pee myself Lamaze-breathing type pain. So clearly moving was a bad idea. So what do I do? Okay, well...I just need to get down the hill. Maybe I could roll down the hill, make it to the theater and they'd figure something out? Of course, if I moved during that rolling down the hill there'd be a problem. Okay. So...do I call 911? Could I even do that? "Hello, 911? I'm on my college campus and broke my leg, come get me?" That sounded like a weird idea. Wrong, somehow. I figured I should notify public safety first, maybe they have some kind of protocol thing, I don't know. Stupidly, I didn't have any campus phone numbers in my cell, a situation I rectified sometime after coming out of my Vicodin coma, but anyway, I was stuck.
So I decided to flag down the next adult I saw. Actual adult, I mean, not a student. Another stupid mistake as the next adult I saw was wearing a suit so I should have realized he wasn't any sort of employee of my college. So I waved to him, and he waved back.
"I'm sorry, sir, I'm not just being friendly-- I actually fell a little while ago and I think I broke my leg, so I could use some help. Do you have the number for public safety?" This is when I found out he was just visiting the campus (duh, Jo) and didn't have any phone numbers or any idea where the nearest public safety call box was. Luckily two girls were walking by as I was saying I needed help and asked if there was anything they could do, so I sent them to the nearest call box while my buddy, Mr. Suit, waited with me until the P.S. officer came up.
Mr. Suit was the first person that day to tell me I wouldn't be skiing for a while.
The P.S. officer asked me if I could move myself, and I said no, and he called in to the P.S. dispatch to call for an ambulance, so we waited for the ambulance while I tried tried to call my mother. I got the answering machine and said, "Hiiii, Mom...uh...I'm currently waiting for an ambulance to come pick me up because...I, uh, broke my leg." The P.S. officer started laughing at that, "So if you could call me back..."
So P.S. and I were hanging out, waiting for the ambulance when my roommate walked by. "Hey, Mere! I broke my leg!" We talked for a minute before she had to go to class. After she left, I didn't know she did this until like, 2 years later, but she called one of our other roomies to go with me to the hospital, which was really sweet of her.
They ended up not letting my roomie into the ambulance with me, but I could get her in touch with my mother, at least, which was nice. And, actually, both roomies ended up meeting at the hospital because I had awesome roomies :)
So when the ambulance finally came and I explained how I'm a total spaz the paramedics had to stabilize my leg for the trip, which involved sliding a temporary splint under my leg from my foot to my knee and then wrapping it with an ace bandage. The part about this process that I wasn't expecting, though, was that while the 2 paramedics were working on my leg, they also had two public safety officers (and one of the paramedics helped them while assisting the other paramedic) hold me down. Hard. And I was like, "Guys, this is really unnecessary." And the paramedics said that it was procedure, because if they jostled my leg and it hurt and I might try to hit or kick them.
What I discovered during the wait for the ambulance and the stabilizing was that my leg didn't actually hurt. I knew it hurt, in a corner of my brain I was screaming, but unless I moved anything from my knee to my heel on that leg it didn't actually hurt. Like I couldn't pinpoint where the pain was coming from unless I moved, I just knew I was in pain. Herbert's really the only one I know that ever experienced this, only his was with a migraine while he was trying a new migraine medication.
Then an interesting thing happened. As they were loading me into the ambulance on a stretcher I happened to look to my left, where there were two police officers and a K-9 dog. I remember thinking "What the hell?" I found out later from left-behind roomie that the cops were pissed because the way that P.S. dispatch worded that I needed an ambulance and couldn't move myself meant that, according to protocol, a K-9 unit needed to be sent to the scene when we didn't actually need one.
When I was securely in the ambulance (strapped down with my stretcher locked in place) my buddy Joe the Paramedic said the magic words, "Do you want pain medication?" Yes. Yes, I did. That began the 8 days I spent stoned. And Joe most certainly was my buddy, as somehow we got to talking about how he's going to be a father again with his new wife and how nervous he was that he was too old for another baby and various other new-dad insecurities.
So then I get to the hospital and the worst part of the day happened. They cut open my jeans. My favorite jeans! BAM. From the hem to the knee. Luckily they stopped cutting at my knee because I was still cutting at the time, and I cut my thighs. That was almost an awkward conversation.
Interesting thing, though, I didn't get my cast at the hospital. They put me in a more solid splint and I had to go to the orthopedist to get an actual cast.
Oh, and my insurance paid for me to have a bitchin' motor scooter that I powered all over campus and its surrounding areas. I loved that thing.
The moral of the story is be careful how you walk because one stupid little mistake can ruin your life (See My Story and Show Me Your Teeth).