I don’t know what happened. At some point between midnight on a Monday and six o’clock in the morning on a Tuesday, one of my ankle tendons decided to let me know that it was the boss of my life, not me. As I hobbled out of bed and yelped in pain, I decided to do what everyone else does that has inadequate health insurance. I limped over to the computer, clicked on Google, and then typed “ankle injury.”
As I scrolled through page after page of symptoms and treatments, I ruled out one diagnosis after another. No, I hadn’t fallen. No, I hadn’t gone for a run on uneven ground. No, I hadn’t jump roped. Apparently, my injury was caused from doing absolutely nothing.
Six weeks later, I was still limping worse than Quasimodo. Reluctantly, I made an appointment with Dr. Orthopaedic. A few days later, I showed up in the office, obediently had my foot x-rayed, shuffled into the exam room, and waited. Before long, Dr. Orthopaedic entered the room, examined the x-ray, and then poked my foot.
“You have tendonitis,” he said. “That’ll be five thousand dollars, please.”
Moments later, I was fitted with a walking boot that resembled absolutely nothing beautiful or stylish whatsoever. I stood up. My left leg now weighed five pounds more than my right leg and I was sporting more Velcro than a baby in diapers or an obsessed crafter. As I clunked across the floor, I suddenly realized that for the next few weeks, I would not be able to sneak up on my children, my husband, or the postal carrier and scare the pants off of them by screaming, “BLLAAAAAAAH!” I glared at the boot that would now unfortunately be alerting anyone within a five-mile radius that I was coming. I might as well have a GPS device surgically inserted into my foot.
I tried to walk gracefully out of the doctor’s office, but quite frankly, now my knee hurt, my hip kept popping out of place, and I had to use my arms to balance myself like a tightrope walker. Worse yet, I hadn’t even had time to develop a good story to go with the boot before I encountered a lady in the parking lot who gasped and asked, “My goodness, what happened?” I really tried to think of something fascinating, but the old mind apparently went on vacation sometime between midnight on a Wednesday and six o’clock in the morning on a Thursday.
I smiled and replied, “Tendonitis.”
I won’t lie. She looked disappointed as she gave me one of those tight smiles that never reached her eyes. As I got into my car and drove away, I suddenly came up with one good story after another. I was skiing in Vermont when I unwittingly encountered a treacherous icy spot on the mountain. Instead of crashing into a group of innocent children, I veered to the left, somersaulted three times, and landed on my ankle.
Or better yet, while driving on an isolated stretch of highway, I came upon a small restaurant. Hungry, tired, and in need of a burst of energy, I walked in, thinking I would just enjoy a cup of coffee and a hot roast beef sandwich. Instead, I was greeted by a stripper pole, three burly construction workers, and a strong desire to prove I could still hang upside down, just as I did as a kid on the monkey bars at school. Turns out, I was wrong.
Decisions, decisions. On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store. As I staggered into the store and headed for the milk aisle, an older gentleman stopped and asked, “Oh my goodness, what did you do?”
I cheerfully answered, “Oh, I was on an African safari when I experienced a frightening encounter with an elephant. You should see the elephant.” I looked off in the distance as if I was remembering and shuddered.
He nodded and looked at me approvingly, “Nice story,” he said. “When I had bunion surgery a few years ago, I just told people that I had an accident with a chain saw, but I like your story a lot better.” He winked and walked away.
I think I might keep this cast on for a bit longer than the doctor ordered because it’s giving me a chance to use my creativity to its full extent, which is quite frankly, way more terrifying than the thought of me hanging upside down on a stripper pole after just ingesting a hot roast beef sandwich and three cups of coffee.