Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Memory Lane Wednesday: How to (Embarrassingly) Break Your Foot

In the summer of 2001, I finished my first year at Chico State. I mean, actually taking classes. I had been working for a vet clinic there, that since February of that year, had been making my life miserable. Okay, I take that back. It wasn't the clinic itself, it was the office manager.

In March I nearly walked out but got talked down  by my Dad who happened to be in town on business and brought me dinner when I called and begged for food, having locked myself in the towel room and was crying. For the next few months I kept trying to figure out how to leave without anyone knowing I was looking for a new job. That office manager must have had ears like a freaking fox because she caught wind of it pretty damn early.

However, on Memorial Day weekend of that year, I accidentally found a way to leave my job without having to immediately find another job. I broke my foot.

I had gone to my parents house to house-sit for them for the weekend while they got to go camping in style (i.e. in a trailer). I didn't really mind, though. It's not like house-sitting for them is super hard. Considering I lived there prior to moving out. I had to turn water on and off, feed the pets, possibly water plants and not burn the place down.

Also, during this time, my boyfriend at the time, was in another state, working on an internship. I think he had already gotten out of school by the holiday weekend. One night, we were talking on the phone, and he said his cell phone was dying or he was running out of minutes on his calling card. Enough time has passed, I really can't remember. But for whatever reason, we had to hang up, and he promised to call me back the next day. I assumed the next night.

I assumed wrong.

At 7am the next morning, the phone rings. I was dead asleep. So naturally, the phone scared the Holy Living Shit right out of me. Literally. My body literally jumped off the bed all at once (like a damn cartoon or something), and when I landed it wasn't on the bed. I landed on the floor, semi-on my feet.

And I heard a very loud crack!

FYI, cracks are not good. Pops are livable. Cracks are not. Just in case you didn't know that.

Somehow in my momentary flight to the ceiling, I had grabbed the phone, turned it on, and by the time I was sort of on my feet, hanging on to my dresser in order to not crumple into a pile on the floor, I was saying "Hello?" in my most awake and upbeat voice. I couldn't fool boyfriend, who was like, "What the hell was all that?" Thinking fast, I mumbled something about how I'd twisted my ankle in the corral or something. I hopped back over to my bed, which was like two feet from my dresser, and laid down. My left foot throbbed like it was nobody's business.

We talked for awhile, and as I stared at my left foot, I saw a goose egg form on the outside of my left foot. After getting off the phone, I tried standing on it. Big mistake.  I couldn't even set it on the floor. Obviously something was very wrong. I managed to dress myself without saying too many cuss words, and hopped on my right foot through the house to feed the animals. I was thanking God we didn't have the horses anymore as I'm not sure I really could have carried hay and hopped all at the same time. It's not as easy as walking and chewing gum.

I eventually hopped out to my car and drove myself to a walk-in clinic. I waited in the waiting room for what seemed like eternity. And suddenly the fact that I really hadn't eaten anything was catching up to me. Plus I think a delayed reaction to what happened to my foot. I basically blacked out in the waiting room. And in case you were wondering, puking and blacking out in the waiting room will get their attention and take you in before all the others who were actually before you. Plus they will get you cookies and water.

I had x-rays done and it was proved that I had in fact, broken the outside bone on my left foot. No one however, believed me when I told them how this had happened. I jumped out of bed to answer the phone. Yeah. I'd look at me funny, too. They gave me my x-rays so I could take them to my orthopedist of choice and sent me home with a set of crutches. And suggested I didn't drive, considering my episode in the waiting room. I immediately went to get food and felt like a million dollars.

Now I just had to tell my boss and my parents. Right.

A kennel tech was supposed to be in around 3pm to start work on weekends. I called for 5 hours and no one answered the phone. Until my manager happened to pick up. I told her how long I'd been trying, and then told her what happened. She was less than pleased since I was supposed to be at work the next day, and now she found out I would be out for at least two months. Then I called one of my mom's co-workers to get the number for the RV park my parents were in as I couldn't find it anywhere. And no, that part of the wilderness does not get cell phone reception. It didn't then and it doesn't now. I talked to one of the owners and asked them to please get a message to my parents in space whatever to call me at their earliest convenience . . . it's a very minor emergency.

My parents call back, my mom totally freaking out. They almost left that afternoon to come home, but I was fine, and told them they could still stay the night and come back as planned the next day. Since I had never broken a thing in my life, they were only slightly concerned that I had a broken foot.
With my parents help, I got in to see our family physician the next day, and was referred to an orthopedist, whom I saw by the end of the week. The doctors' concerns were only that if the crack had continued it would have gone into my ankle joint and it would have required screws and pins and shit. But I technically had a "fracture" as it wasn't a clean break. Whatever folks. I still can't walk.

I got a cast put on with pretty purple tape on the outside. Anyone ever had to wear a cast? Sucks when there's an itch. Oh does it suck. I kept a wire coat hanger next to me at all times. Anyone ever had to wear a cast in summer? Yeah. That sucks majorly. Especially when in Northern California it can easily be triple digits. Often. And shopping on crutches isn't fun. I had to buy new books so I wasn't too bored. The walk to the store never seemed so damn long.

And anytime I went anywhere, people made some sort of assumption as to how I broke my foot. Considering just about anything was less embarrassing than how it really happened, I just let them think whatever. So, over time, I broke my foot by playing soccer, softball, volleyball, falling off a horse, hang gliding. Whatever they said, that's what happened.

By the way, if you ever intend on ending up on crutches, don't live in an upstairs apartment. Because going up and down stairs on crutches is the furthest thing from fun as you can possibly imagine. Scary. Shit.

And strangely enough, I found three other people that broke the same bone on the same foot that summer. What are the odds?

My manager had told me that she couldn't hold my position for me for two months. I told her I understood and did a happy dance in my chair. As soon as I could walk, I was out looking for another job. And I found me one at Petco. Strangely enough, when I went back to my manager to ask for a letter of reference she was shocked to hear I was quitting. Um. WTF? You tell me you can't hold my position for two months, yet you did unbeknownst to me, and you're shocked when I find another job? Tell me when any of this makes sense to you. You idiot.

My broken foot had been my way out of that horrible job. Actually the job wasn't the bad part. It was the office manager. I started work at Petco the day after I got my cast off.

Oh, by the way, if you've never worn a cast, your leg looks might fugly when you get it off. Shriveled and hairy. I couldn't get a razor to it fast enough.


  1. Talk about a rude awakening! Holy crap! I have had to wear a cast before, and I am with ya about the itching and the fugly leg thing. Although I didn't use a hanger since the physician's assistant who put my cast on told me horror stories about how you can get infections doing that. He had me scared enough!

    Glad it got you out of a horrible situation though.

  2. Why the Hell was your boyfriend phoning you so early?!

    At least you got out of the job, though it sucks that you had to break a limb to do it!

    Hazel xxx

  3. I hope you don't wake up like that any more! I broke my foot when I was 15. I was running away from police because my friends and I were swimming in the school swimming pool at midnight. I climbed a fence and landed wrong.

    I lived in California then too, and it was July. I hated wearing the cast and sawed it off early after soaking it with a hose. Wasn't I a fun teenager? My parents were proud!

  4. I have broken both of my legs (at different times). The first time was in 5th grade and I totally shattered every bone below my knee, ankle and foot included, sliding on black ice and landing on a boulder. 6 months in a full leg cast (up my thigh) and 3 additional in the below the knee cast....yeah! NOT OKAY!!!!

  5. Krissy - Yeah, they warned me, too about the wire hanger but the itching would have killed me. lol

    Hazel - I asked him the same question!! lol

    Belle - Well, at least it's a more fun story than saying you broke you it by answering the phone. lol

    Jewels - Oh dear, a full leg cast?! Wow, I had it easy!

  6. I totally feel your pain. I've broken several bones. Torn ligaments, tendons, dislocations etc. None of it is fun. I did have a cast for my ankle, during the spring into summer. It was blue (it was back when colored casts first came out back in the 80s) they had run out of pink!

    When I wrecked my ankle in college everyone thought my excuse was I fell down the stairs because I was drunk! The real reason, I fell down the stairs because snow built up under my boot, and I slipped on carpeted stairs heading into my apt!



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