So – I took a social media break for August because my social life was more virtual than physical. Also because August is, according to Brother, when I go crazy. I thought going social media free would be a step in the right direction to living a better, more creative life.
And, for the most part, it was. I remembered that my free time used to be spent reading books and not down the time suck of someone else’s awesome or not so awesome life. And yes, I realize that reading is a time suck of a different kind but it felt a healthier choice for my soul.
Of course - because whoever is running things has a wicked sense of humor - it got interesting on day one of my self-imposed break; the allergist thought that my massive hives attack in July was likely due to alpha-gal, otherwise known as a meat allergy due to a bite from the Lone Star Tick.
Seriously. That is a thing, a meat allergy to anything with a hoof.
Sooooo, I go on a social media break and I can’t talk about being possibly allergic to meat. And that, if I were to test positive for alpha-gal, I would need to carry an EpiPen in case of an allergic attack because of accidental meat contact.
Seriously! An EpiPen in case the knife that cuts my turkey meat first cut roast beef and the roast beef meat juice cooties got on my turkey meat and I swelled up like an itchy balloon...
Welp, turned out I am not allergic to meat. (PHEW!!!) Or Penicillin. (DOUBLE PHEW!!!) My hives were due to an autoimmune issue. (WHAT???) But the allergist only covers allergies so, not his department. What’s wrong with me is still a mystery…
Unless you ask Brother, because he’s sure it is because it’s August.
And that was week one of August; ticks, meat allergies and an unknown autoimmune issue.
Of course, the rest of the month was just as random – I had a fascinating conversation with transgender country songwriter in short shorts, with a bad wig, an NFL ex-husband and major delusions. A mom I know was killed by logging truck, while jogging and now her 5yr old has to navigate life without her. I was cast in my forth ‘of color’ role ever. My Father-in-law is visiting. Again. A kitten decided the under carriage of Husband’s SUV was a perfect place to live. It took him two days to get it out from under the SUV, two days to get it out from under his sports car, one to get it adopted before we got our cat pee smelling garage back - just in time for yesterday’s tornado warnings, flash floods and my near drowning on my way home in the Smart Car because the roads were mostly rivers...
Turns out a social media free August was as random as my life often can be, just not as creative as I’d hoped. September, you must do better. Life is too short for anything less.
I love gross pictures of wounds and surgery scars and cysts being popped. I peak at them through my fingers, watching the videos while cringing and nauseous and squealing. Heck, I have a picture of my womb in a special file on my phone to share with those like gross minds. But the mess that was my right leg yesterday was almost too much to take.
I am usually on the Internet seconds after something has happened to me or a family member or friend or someone on the news, checking out the good the bad and the ugly. Tell me you have an Anal Fissure and I'm looking that sucker up. Sebaceous Cyst? I'm all over the videos of that. But for some very smart reason, I didn’t look up anything having to do with Broken Ankle.
First, it was because I was drugged to the eyeteeth and couldn’t even operate the Internet. But then it was because I didn’t want to know. I needed to focus on the immediate future – how I was going to get from the bed to the bathroom and back. That was such a process and was so dang exhausting that I couldn’t fill my mind with anything else especially pictures of what Broken Ankle might look like under the splint. Then, after few days, when the depression set in, I couldn’t look up gross broken ankles because I was never getting out of this tiny world I was now living in. A world where grumpy Husband, now known to all as Nurse Shrek, had to do every little thing for me. Asking for help is hard. You can imagine if I were having a hard time asking Nurse Shrek for help, asking friends would be even worse. And I had months of this helpless drama ahead of me. So I just didn’t look.
Which would be why, when the splint came off four weeks ago, I was more than a bit traumatized at the mess that was my right leg. If that sucker hadn’t been attached to me, I would have denied it was mine. In what world could my pretty right leg be this hairy fuzzy yellow muscle-less bloody mess?
At first, I couldn’t even feel much except the lack of weight from the splint. But when the stiches came out, I felt those, every tiny snip. And when the cast dude bent my foot into place, I felt that. Nurse Shrek was in the corner trying to ignore the whole removal process, turning green every time I squealed. Why Husband went into nursing, we’ll never know. Oh yeah, that’s right. Because he was forced to when the dumbasses slammed into me and snapped three bones. Poor guy. Nursing is totally not his calling.
Anyway, three weeks of splint, four weeks of cast and I got complacent about what the leg looked like. I babied Broken Ankle and its massive cast. I made sure not to bump it or tap it or jostle it in any way. And every time I thought about what it might look like, I pushed that image to the back of my mind because I could do nothing about it…
Then yesterday, I went in to the doc’s office to get the cast removed and the big tall dude with a sense of humor drier than my skin came at it with a saw. And every time I flinched, he laughed and said, “It won’t get you. I promise.” But his definition of ‘get’ was different than mine. His definition of “It won’t get you.” was “I won’t cut a bloody trail in your leg” and my definition was “don’t put pressure on my skin in any way at all because I will scream little high pitched screams and make faces and die.” And believe you me, his saw pushed on the cast and the cast pushed on my skin and the skin hurt and flinched and BOY did I not enjoy it.
Finally the stupid green cast was off and my hairy stinky mutilated leg was free. And it was good.
For about two minutes, and then the reality set in. My leg was even worse, even more dead than the last time I saw it four weeks ago. And yes, I mean ‘more dead.’ Sure, I expected hairy and stinky. Of course it would be hairy and stinky. It’s not been bathed for seven weeks. But purple and mutilated? Yeah, I hadn’t counted on that. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Yeah I do, I was focusing on getting the cast off not on what happens next. I knew putting weight on it was going to be a challenge but I didn’t think about the scars and the pain and the pain and the scars.
And then the lovely lady who fit me for my boot told me to take each step like I was stepping on a jelly donut and to not step to hard and squish out the jelly. Worst. Imagery. EVER to give someone who already thinks that a step is going to cause the bones to break and stick out the sides of Broken Ankle. I mean I was already worried that my little hops from the couch to the crutches might break Left Ankle and now I’m imagining stepping on Broken Ankle and jelly squirting out the sides of the incisions. Horrifying.
But what's worse than my possible jelly donut squirting ankle? That would be the layers and layers skin that came off Broken Ankle once it was free.
Did you know that your body gets rid of 30,000 to 40,000 old skin cells every day? Every freaking day! And that the top 18 to 23 layers of your skin, well those are made of dead cells. I'm not one for math but thousands of skin cells shedding layers of dead skin cells each day is gross. Seven weeks of a million plus skin cells gathering in a dry warm cast and dying off but not having anywhere to go until that stupid green cast came off and I rubbed my hand gently over the leg and it came off in sheets. SHEETS. OF. SKIN. PEOPLE. Well, that's the grossest thing ever!
There was so much skin that when I took a bath yesterday to try and warm (trick) my ankle into bending more than half an inch, I shed enough skin from that one leg that I could have made a whole person!!!
I know I tend exaggerate but I’m not kidding here. I could have made whole freaking person out of the millions of dead skin cells sloughing off my foot alone. Sitting and stewing in a bath of hot floating skin is the grossest thing ever. Grosser than that picture of my fibroid tumor filled womb. Grosser than having to pull the sandal strap from my shoe out of Joe Boxer’s ass. Grosser than the mess that is my scabby scars and mutilated bruises and misshapen calf. SO DANG GROSS!
And that’s been my last two days – pain and skin. And more skin. And just when I think I've got it all, even more skin. I don’t have pictures of the bath skin person – you’re welcome - but if you’d like to see some gross hairy leg, purple mutilated Broken Ankle pictures, they are below. I'm off to attempt to 'flex' my ankle and pretend this isn't happening to me.
I’ve been trying to write this for the past month but the words, or rather the images have been hard to pin down. I’m sure it’s my brain protecting me from the trauma, however late it might be. All I know is it’s been one month and I really need to deal with the reality of my life now in order to move on. Sort of getting back on the horse – if the horse was a 60lb Boxer and 70lb Lab running at me at 30mph… So here goes, what I think happened June 9th at approximately 3pm.
It was hot. Not humid hot but oven hot and the dogs needed some time outside. Husband had a client downstairs so I took the three Dumbasses out the front door and played ball for a bit with Pepper the Wannabe Cat while Joe Boxer and Tigger the Dog wrestled. I had grand plans for fixing my sludgy water pond over the weekend and decided to walk down to the patio and have another look at the mess that looked nothing like the Pintrest project I’d followed. As I walked down the driveway, Pepper the Wannabe Cat ran in front of me chasing the Frisbee. I heard Tigger the Dog and Joe Boxer coming up behind me and moved myself closer to the wall leaving the majority of the driveway to them. But they chose the foot between wall and me as a throughway.
Near as I can figure, Tigger the Dog hit me full speed in the back of my left knee and Joe Boxer hit me with his big ass head directly on the back of the right ankle. I heard and felt a loud “SNAP” and cried out as my foot continued it’s way down to the ground. As stepped, the inside of my ankle went over, bending in an unnatural angle, scraping my anklebone on the driveway and "CRACK!" A second break. Screaming now, I stood, stumbled, and with my brain and body not in sync yet, stepped down with the twice broken ankle and "CRACK!" This time, the pain and momentum took me down and I fell down scream cussing. Loudly.
When the reality of the situation sunk in, I switched from cussing and started yelling for Husband. Like sore throat screaming his name. But Husband was inside with the client and so couldn't hear me shouting. And we live on 1.5 acres in a neighborhood where everyone has about 1.5 acres so my cussing and yelling and crying was heard by no one. Except the dogs, who gathered around me, trying to figure out what kind of game I was playing. Tigger the Dog even brought me a Frisbee, which was not in the least helpful.
My screaming having resulted in zero response, I hoisted my right leg up on my left knee and I butt scooted myself slowly down the hill to the garage where I ineffectively threw my sandals at door, still screaming Husband’s name. No use. Husband built his studio to be completely sound proof and Husband does good work. Husband couldn't hear me. The neighbors couldn’t hear me. The dogs could hear me but were useless. More scream cussing ensued, peppered with some wailing and moments of bubbling tears. Pepper the Wannabe Cat brought me one of my sandals. Still not helpful. Finally, though a burst of pain, I remembered I had my slipped my phone in my back pocket just before I came outside so I didn’t miss a call from my friend in California. And miraculously, despite I being knocked into by the dogs, falling down and hauling myself down 20 feet down a driveway, my phone was intact. Small wonder. I pulled my phone and called Husband.
Who didn’t answer.
BLUBBER WHIMPER MOAN SCREAM WAVES OF PAIN.
What now? I deep breathed myself into calling his client, hunting through my Facebook messages to find her number, telling myself I’d be okay, crying as the phone rang.
She didn’t answer.
The panic tears started to overwhelm me. The dogs were starting to panic too. Not sure what set them off, my high-pitched wailing or my moments of silence as I tried to fight off the faint. My next option was to either buttscooch myself to the back door, lift myself up and ring the doorbell or head back to the front door and try the same thing. Totally sure I wouldn’t make it to either door before passing out, I tried a text to husband, ‘Help! Broke ankle. Need you.’ Still nothing. I dropped the phone to my belly and gave into the tears.
Then he called.
“I need you. Now!” I blubbered out. I heard him running as he asked me where I was. “Driveway. Near garage. My ankle is broken.” Husband came out. His client came out. I gave up being in charge and became a blubbery mess of feelings and pain. The rest went pretty quickly. Husband put the dogs in the house. His client tried to keep me calm as Husband got the car. I apologized a lot. I threw up. I cried. I moaned. I cussed. And finally, off to the ER we went.
The next few hours were a mess of tears and waves of pain and cussing. Mostly in the ER waiting room where we sat for far too long. When they finally brought me back, my ankle I learned was broken in three places, a Trimalleolar break. Not that the ER doc told me that. No, he just walked in and told me they would have to set it.
“Wait? It is broken?” I asked.
“Oh yeah. Three places.” Then he told me that the surgeon would determine if I would stay over night.
“Wait? I need surgery?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” he said, “It’s a very bad break.” ER doc isn’t getting any points for bedside manners, the numpty.
A night in a large splint, consult with the surgeon the following day, surgery the following week, two weeks in an even larger heavier splint, x-rays, stiches out, a fiberglass cast in green for four more weeks and that brings me today. I’ve got two-ish weeks left in the green monster and then hopefully the x-rays will say I was a good girl, didn’t put any weight on my foot and I get to graduate to a boot. Which really means I get to SHAVE because what is crawling out of the top of the green monster is not pretty. I’m actually contemplating braiding it, putting pretty bows on it and calling it a day.
So that’s the story of how right ankle became Broken Ankle, as best as I can remember it. Or rather, exactly as it replays in my head each night as I’m falling asleep, bone breaking sound effects and all.
I’m hoping the memory of each snap fades. I’m hoping I get to a place where I don’t flinch when I hear the dogs coming, bracing for the impact. I’m hoping one day I’ll dance. Heck I'm hoping one day I'll be able to walk outside by myself instead of looking at life pass by as my face is pressed up against the window.... But for now, I’m hoping my toes don’t explode when I keep my foot down too long.
Little goals are easier to achieve.
So. As I said in a post early this year regarding the tattoo enhancement I got in January:
I do not regret my tattoo. It is not the perfect tattoo I imagined but I do have a reminder of all my doubt, my second-guessing, and my failure to speak my soul. Which, ironically, was the F-ing point of the tat in the first place. I do not regret it. In this, my year of positivity, I am choosing to see it as my beautiful mistake. A bright image of my insecurities and doubt, a forever reminder on etched upon my skin.
But I lied. LIED!
I don’t mean I regretted getting it. I don’t. Just that I was unable to see it as just a beautiful mistake. I was embarrassed by how bad it was and I didn’t want it to represent who I was, who I am because it didn’t. I’d like to think that while colorful, I am not badly designed and without depth.
Sure, I liked some elements of it. The way the right side looked like a rhino was funny cool. The bright garish colors were so different and pretty –when I held my arm out fully extended, took off my glasses and squinted my eyes. But I started hunting for bracelets to cover it up. I kept my sleeves down. I was self-conscious if someone noticed it. I’d have to explain the story, pull out the pictures of what it should look like.
I protested so much. Waaaaaay too much. Husband was sick of how much I talked about it, looked at it, cried about it. “Quit staring at it. It hasn’t changed. It’s going to be there forever.”
So last month, I quit whingeing and did something about it. I found this studio here in Nashville with an artist that has worked on covering up/amending tattoos. I met with her and liked her and what she said and how she said it and so I arranged to have her amend my beautiful mistake. AND I LOVE WHAT SHE DID!
She actually listened to me and she actually asked me exactly what I meant when I wasn’t quite clear - which I can be sometimes. She showed me how it would look before she came at me with her tiny needles of pain. AND she kept my inhalexhale whaleshark and the weird rhino bit at the left.
I love that this tat has a beginning and middle and ending and that every piece of it – including the story of how I got it and the second bit and the third bit - is a part of who I am. A sort of evolution of my sense of self. It, in itself, is a messy story like the mess that is I.
Or as I said earlier this year: … that every little thing you do is etched on your skin, on your self. We are all covered in scars. Some little, some big, some more visible than others. And regardless of the result, take these lessons, these beautiful mistakes and learn from them. Embrace them and grow forward, not back.
I waffled on sharing pictures because I do think that some times words take away from pictures but vague-booking is not what I’m intending to do so here we go -
But what it actually looked like.
Not. Even. Close.
To quote my mother, "Interesting. A little gaudy, but you won't see another one like it anywhere."
The reason these two stinkers were quarantined in the crappy "master" bathroom - one of them other stepped in poop, stank up the house and I was forced to bathe them both or die from a tick bite and the horrid poop smell. Guess which one. I'll give you a hint, it ain't the smart chipmunk killer.
You can tell they used their confined drying time well. Pretty sure that small pile of toilet paper Pepper is innocently sitting on was a whole role of toilet paper when I left them in there. The rest of it will show up in the yard later today, thanks to the not-so-smart-or-innocent looking Joseph.
And speaking of chipmunks - I'm pretty sure that Wet Broken Chippy and friends crawled up the wall of the garage and managed to key in the code to open the garage door under our bedroom at 3:30am. Yep.
What followed was a sleepless night worrying about home invasions and the like - which I'm sure was his plan.
We're preparing ourselves for subsequent attacks and a possible siege. Readying the burning oil and flaming arrows...
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me