Please ignore the ugly toes, but yes that’s my foot in the soft cast. All I did was twist my ankle. I was going down a short set of stairs—five or six in total—and I thought I was on the last step but there was one more, and my foot twisted as I misjudged the landing. I think that happened on Wednesday of last week; if not it was Thursday. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Other than that initial twinge it didn’t really bother me. I can’t even recall the exact moment it happened, just the location, down the side steps into my mother’s garden. And then Friday night it started aching and swelling, especially on top of the ankle. I hobbled into bed and it hurt all through the night. By morning the pain was excruciating and I could not put any weight on it. I told my wife I had to go to the emergency room.
She took her time about it. She got Matthew breakfast, had her breakfast, and took care of a few things while I bellyached about the pain. After all she had banged her foot a few days before; it had swelled and turned black and blue, and she had hobbled, and other than asking about it I had not made much of it. So she was in no mood to pamper me on my foot.
We decided to go to a local Urgent Care facility that had recently opened in the neighborhood. I guess these things are popping up around the country to ease the burden off emergency rooms. We thought it might be faster and whatever was wrong with my foot wasn’t of dire consequence. I was pretty sure it wasn’t broken. I scooted on my tush down the stairs from our upstairs, wrapped an ace bandage around the ankle, put on my wife’s slippers since I couldn’t fit into my sneakers, and we were off. Matthew was saying, “I hope they don’t use the bone-a-tron.” If you don’t remember what that is, read here. Hmm, did he predict this? Is he psychic? That was just a week or so before. “I hope not,” I said.
We went to the Urgent Care, they took x-rays, and I guess the process took a whole two and a half hours, which I guess might be a little faster than a hospital ER. I have to say I wasn’t incredibly impressed with the doctor and nurses, who all seemed young. I wondered at how many short years they all were from high school. If it weren’t for the x-rays the office visit might have been faster. They actually had to send the digitals out to India for a radiologist to read, and they said it could take two seconds or two hours. I can’t believe we’re actually outsourcing reading x-rays, but I guess the cost of medicine has come to that.
What they found was a chip fracture on top of the ankle bone. That’s not the right anatomical term but I don’t remember what the term was. It looked like a piece of bone had been chipped off. I said, how could that be since I didn’t bang my foot or have some other physical trauma? The doctor said the tendon probably pulled the piece of bone off. So they put a soft cast on, a medical shoe to go with that, and gave me crutches, of which I had no ability to coordinate. They were kind; they tried to teach me; I was spastic. I was told I needed to follow up with an orthopedist.
When I got home I dumped the crutches. The cast had hardened and its structure took the load off the ankle. By the end of the day it felt decent, and the next day, Sunday, I was even able to drive to church, in my loosely tied sneakers of course. On Monday I didn’t even put the cast on at all, and the ankle felt very good, though by evening it was beginning to feel sore. Rest seems to help. I’m debated with myself whether I need to follow up with the orthopedist. If I hadn’t seen the chip in the x-ray, I would just call it a sprained ankle and moved on with it, feeling lucky that they didn’t have a bone-a tron to take the bone out. But I made an appointment.
Today was the orthopedist visit. The ankle had been slowly getting better with each day. I had the digital x-rays from the urgent care on a disk and he looked at it. Then he felt around my ankle, tested the range of motion (it was full range), and asked me where it hurt, pinching down on the sore spots. “I don’t know what they’re talking about. You’re foot seems fine.” I told him about the chip and we pulled up the x-rays and I pointed to the spot that was identified to me. “That’s nothing. Who knows how long that’s been there. It’s not a fracture. It’s just a sprain.”
So that was it. I asked if I could get back to the gym, and he said absolutely. “If it doesn’t hurt, get back.” So much for the new Urgent Care. So much for outsourcing radiology to India.