photo taken last Friday, in Cape CodI broke my ankle.
I went to church in Cambridge to hear my beautiful friend Chelsea sing a beautiful hymn, and as we walked out, I tripped on a shallow, wide, stone step and my ankle rolled beneath me. I didn't hear it snap but the pain swallowed me immediately, and I knew I had done something terrible.
James went for the car and I held Edie in my lap until he came back. He took her from me and the next thing I remember was James's face floating above me, commanding me to wake up. I had passed out on the stone steps in front of the church building, in my lobster dress.
James carried me to the car and we drove back to Winchester. I couldn't put my foot down on the floor of the car because every bump James went over ricocheted pain up my leg bones, so I held it up, breathing in and out as fully as I could, like I did when I had Edie. It was just as ineffective at controlling the pain this time as it had been the last. There was construction and James had to take a detour, and I just kept telling myself that we would get to the hospital eventually, that the drive would not last forever. This thinking will be important later.
I've been to the E.R. in Winchester before, when Edie burned her hands, and they have valet parking, which I think is genius. They were, like last time, very kind, and got me quickly. They took x-rays, which required me to twist my ankle around. I wanted to be a good patient more than it hurt, so I did as I was told. I also was praying that it was only a bad sprain, and being able to move it felt promising.
But, it was broken after all. I like to think I took the news stoically. I think I did. Until the pain medication started to wear off or kick in or until we got back into the car and I just cried and cried.
We had a small party that night (it was already planned), and I mostly sat in the house while James ran the show, and then everyone left and James brought me dinner and I cried some more.
Then I woke up this morning and cried again.
I saw an orthopedist who told me I have to be on crutches for six weeks. I won't run for three months. I took that stoically, too.
Right now a lot of my energy is dedicated to not feeling constantly furious with myself for not doing the zillions of things that would have prevented this from happening. This list includes but is not limited to 1. changing Edie's diaper, 2. not wearing high heels, 3. looking down, 4. walking nearer a railing, 5. never walking into target 6. leaving the house earlier, 7. leaving church earlier, 8. not dancing with the Contemporary Repertory company in college, and so on. All meaningless, all useless.
There is also some thought devoted to feeling really grateful. Not for this experience necissarily, but really grateful for a healthy body to mourn. For the feeling of absolute capability that stands out so sharply right now. And the knowledge that, though this is achingly frustrating, it is also temporary.
I also feel so grateful for my sweet James, who is basically just doing everything for me.
I feel angry and frustrated and sad and grateful and so, so guilty and loved and worried, and that is all a lot of feel. But I think of the car ride and remember that though six weeks or three months feels interminable, it will end. It has to.