Going home for Christmas with just one boot on


Fractured fibula

I headed out last night in the freezing rain to meet Shannon and a friend, and decided to turn left from a four-lane road in the turning lane instead of crossing with the through traffic, waiting for the light, then crossing again. This, despite the fact that for once I had foolishly left my dorky safety vest and collection of blinking lights at home. And so, I can really only blame myself for getting rear-ended by a car that noticed me too late and wasn’t able to stop in time on the ice. The rear wheel of my bike slid out to the right, and I landed on my left shoulder, bounced my head off the pavement, and was struck in the right shin by my bike pedal. I was wearing my helmet, though, so my head didn’t sustain any injuries.

I didn’t feel badly hurt at first, but when the ambulance came I let them take me to a local hospital to be checked out just in case. A friendly doctor stitched up the cut in my leg, and a few x-rays later, told me that I had broken my fibula, but only sustained soft tissue damage to my shoulder, despite the fact that it hurts more. She put on a temporary cast and wrote a prescription for a permanent one, to be installed next week after the swelling has gone down, and after an orthopedic surgeon has had a chance to check if I need surgery first (for example, if there was damage to blood vessels or nerves), although apparently this is atypical. The doctor told me she guessed I’d be in a cast for about a month.

The part that worries me, though, is my shoulder. Apparently it’s impossible to diagnose what kind of soft tissue injuries I may have during the first week or two. So, for now I wait, and hope I didn’t tear a muscle or a tendon. A more immediate problem is that not being able to bear weight or move my arm at the shoulder makes it impossible to use a crutch with my left hand. It’s also quite painful to put on or take off shirts that don’t open in front, so I guess that’s what I’ll be wearing for a while. I could handle either of these injuries alone but I really wish I was broken in just one place at a time.

At this point Shannon and I are still planning to travel to Ontario for the holidays, where family will doubtless take good care of me, but I definitely wouldn’t be able to do it without her. I’m so grateful to be living with someone who loves me so much. It’s not clear to me at all how I’d manage these next few weeks were I alone.

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