Earlier this week, I scheduled my third surgery in two years. They are not due to illness or disease, but instead my eternal clumsiness and inability to stop breaking bones. I have been checked for bone diseases and weaknesses. I’ve been scanned for tumors, had my bone density measured, and have verified that my clumsiness is not due to a neurological disorder. Despite all of this, since 2005 I have broken nearly every major bone in my body. And, as you will see, it was all my fault.
My reign as Queen Bone Breaker began in 2005 when I slipped on some ice and fractured the fibula in my left leg. I did it while standing still pumping gas. The piece of ice was like the size of a quarter. I was wedged under by car for a few minutes, totally stunned, hoping that no one saw. I walked around for nearly three weeks in terrible pain on a broken bone because I was too embarrassed to go to the ER and admit I slipped on the stupid ice when I wasn’t even walking.
While moving into my new house in 2007, my then boyfriend dropped our washing machine off the back of the moving truck. I tried to catch it. With my 5 foot tall body. This resulted in a crushed left hand and wrist…broken scaphoid, thumb, and metacarpals. The doctor said that it would require surgery, but I fooled him. I found out I was pregnant with my second child when they were doing pre-surgery blood tests. Surprise! You’re not getting your wrist fixed, but you are getting a brand new baby boy!! My wrist still isn’t right and I totally blame Kid #2.
My most famous injury was the 2012 New Year’s Eve head first tumble down some concrete stairs. Later, I would realize that this also caused the 2014 “Stupid Broken Neck”, but I’ll get to that.
I had had a very rough 2011. It included cheating boyfriends, troubles at work, my father falling ill, and various other tragedies. I decided to end the year with a bang and drink my troubles away. At precisely 12:02 AM on January 1, 2012, I shouted “fuck you 2011!!” and promptly fell down a flight of concrete stairs. On my head. My head smacked the ground like a melon, but I somehow managed to get up immediately and not drop the beer or lit cigarette I was holding. I was treated in the ER for a broken eye orbital, broken nose, broken rib, broken patella, a completely skinned forehead, and a terrible concussion. I spent the next three days vomiting every twenty minutes (not fun with broken ribs) and swearing that I would never drink again. (We all know that’s bullshit.)
In the summer of 2012, I did perhaps one of the stupidest things a clumsy, fragile girl like me could ever possibly dream of doing. I joined a women’s flat track roller derby team. I took on the alter ego “Big Girl Panties” and within a month, I was seen in the ER for a broken tailbone after a particularly violent fall on the tush.
Three months later, I fell on my right wrist and fractured it during our first home bout of the season. I was in a “thumbs up” cast for six weeks. At this point, I believe I had fully paid for four years of college for my orthopedist’s children.
After healing from the broken wrist, I came back to derby determined to do something no one in the world (especially me) thought that I could ever do. I skated in several bouts, lost about 20 pounds, and was actually starting to show some improvement. But, at practice in April 2013, I broke myself again with all three of my kids watching. This injury included a bimalleolar fracture of the ankle, spiral fracture of the tibia, and crack of the talus. I remember getting hit, falling, standing back up, seeing my foot was totally on backwards, and being loaded in the ambulance. Everything between backwards foot and ambulance is a bit of a blur.
This break resulted in the first of three surgeries. I had open reduction / internal fixation surgery with lots of hardware to repair the fractures. I spent a month in a wheelchair, six weeks on crutches, and twelve weeks in physical therapy just to get back to walking “somewhat” normal. I refer to this as my “Stupid Broken Ankle”.
I managed to heal after the surgery and return to playing derby in August 2013. I played for another year before my next bizarre medical condition would occur. In August 2014, I started to feel some tightness in my neck for a few weeks. I assumed it was a bit of stress, thought nothing of it, and continued about my normal routines. I hosted my daughter’s 4th birthday party which included inflatables. Of course, I had to jump in them with her. We went home, went to bed, and I woke up in the middle of the night screaming in pain. I went to the ER where I was told I had a muscle spasm in my neck and was sent home with pain meds. I returned two days later in worse pain and was told the same thing. I returned after another two days when my right side went numb and was finally given an MRI which revealed fractured cervical vertebrae and two ruptured disks. Um, excuse me, how did I break my neck exactly? It appears that the 2012 tumble down the stairs fractured my vertebrae, they were never identified, and they never fully healed. My doctor actually said that it was a good thing that I’m always a big stress ball because my neck is so tight it probably kept them from moving out of place sooner and paralyzing me (thanks, kids!). I could have died, you guys. This whole insanity resulted in a cervical fusion surgery and another twelve weeks of physical therapy. I also have a scar that looks like I got in a bar fight and someone tried to shank me with a bottle. And, we now refer to this as “Stupid Broken Neck”.
And that brings us to surgery #3. My Stupid Broken Ankle has caused significant pain since the day the surgery was performed. My foot has felt like it is burning or being shocked constantly. I cannot walk for longer than 20 minutes without my entire leg swelling and throbbing. I can feel the pins and plates poking at my skin. I have returned to my original surgeon multiple times begging to have the hardware removed and I’ve been told it is unnecessary. I have complained of pain and have been given Tramadol or Vicodin which I cannot take and function. Over the past few months, the pain has increased to the point that I’m not sleeping, not eating, not enjoying my life. I am certain that my friends and family and co-workers and anyone else who will listen are sick to death of hearing about my Stupid Broken Ankle. I finally sought out a surgeon who is a foot and ankle specialist and he is going to finally (hopefully!!) fix my Stupid Broken Ankle after two years of misery.
June 8th just can’t come fast enough.