That One Time I Fell 6 inches, got a Broken Leg and Destroyed Life as I Know It
Last weekend, I fell off of a curb. I know, it sounds hilarious because this is the kind of klutzy antics one might have come to expect if you’ve known me any length of time. I am the girl who is constantly and consistently rolling her ankle because of uneven sidewalks and misplaced, rogue pebbles. Go ahead, laugh. It really is like a cartoon but what happened last Saturday resulted in a severely broken leg and was anything but laughable or funny. I know many of you have been following along on social media because obviously, when I’m sedated on painkillers and bedridden, I like to post pictures and updates. Here’s what really happened, in case you were wondering.
Saturday, September 12th, my little sister (my best friend) was getting married. I was the maid of honor. We were looking forward to this moment for a year. She was so happy and I was ecstatic to see her glowing and really, ridiculously and honestly happy. The morning was spent running around picking her dress up and gathering last minute things. I woke her up and serenaded her with a crackly voiced giggling version of Going to the Chapel of Love that only a big sister can sing to a little sister. Then it was the usual excitement and clamor that would fill a house full of women getting ready for a wedding. Above all else, I wanted her to be happy and stress free.
Hair and make up showed up. I busied myself making sure that all the last minute finishing touches didn’t overwhelm her. I painted her toenails and lotioned her legs. I happily got her some breakfast and something to drink. I didn’t want her to fret over any of it. I just wanted her to enjoy this huge moment of her life. We talked and laughed as she had her hair done. I sat across from her doing my daughters’ hair as her make-up was done and when the time came, I helped to dress my baby sister for the biggest moment of her life. It almost felt religious.
As all the chaos and drama began to descend upon us as the house filled more and more with loved ones (as it tends to do), I helped to dress her as the photographer clicked away, capturing every single tear of joy and sigh of relief.
As I stood there taping her into her drop sleeves, I saw the face of my little sister just as she was when she was 6 and I was helping to dress her for her first Communion; still that little girl looking for reassurance and guidance from her big sister, me still wanting to make everything perfect for her. Eventually we made it to the venue and I cried at how absolutely stunning she looked as she walked down the aisle. Then she became his wife and it was time to celebrate this amazing moment of true happiness in her life. But before the reception, we had a pit stop at a local park to take wedding pictures; this is where it all went wrong.
It was a breezy, gorgeous Saturday in September but we were all hungry and ready to celebrate. We took family photos and then it was time to take wedding party photos. We were losing daylight and the reception was getting ready to start as we hurried through the photo process. Finally, we were all headed back to our cars and to the reception. I was lagging behind, holding my sister’s bouquet and veil, as the photographer was taking more couple shots throughout the park.
I remember looking back and thinking how beautiful she looked. Then, I decided to head to our where the Big Guy and our girls were already waiting. I looked at the Hummer that was decorated for the wedding that my sister was riding in and then I turned for one last glance at my sister smiling before I took a step down from the sidewalk to the parking lot. My last thought was, God, she really looks happy, and then my foot never landed on the parking lot.
In that terrible moment, my right ankle rolled. As it rolled, my left foot came up and tried to catch my balance, however due to the combo of the wedged flip flops and a too long dress, it got caught up and instead crashed down. In that moment, I heard the bones break and I felt the ankle dislocate. I was down on my right knee and my left leg was useless. I knew when I felt it that I would not be standing up. The pain was instant and unmistakable. I didn’t even have the strength to sit. I had to push myself over and sort of fall into the wheel (side of the car) of the car to my right.
I looked down and saw my ankle. My left leg was straight but my left foot was facing directly left and the bone was dislocated in such a drastic way that it looked like something you might see in a horror movie. As I scanned up, with all the bridal party and my entire family running to my side as I tried not to pass out from the pain, I saw that I was facing the beautifully decorated wedding vehicle and all I could think was, “Oh God, Please don’t let my daughters see me this way and please don’t let me ruin my sister’s wedding day!”
My sister was still back in the park a ways getting her photos so she didn’t immediately see what was going on and luckily, my 18-year-old niece ran to the car to sit with my daughters so they never saw my ankle or me crying like a baby because I did. I was in such pain, there was nothing I could do but howl and cry like a baby until the ambulance got there. It felt like forever.
There is nothing quite like maiming yourself in front of literally all of the people that you love; all of my brothers, sisters, parents, nieces, nephews and husband. Everyone was in shock. The sight of impact was horrifying and I’m sure me wailing in pain was nothing short of pathetic and heartbreaking. I remember everyone trying to keep me calm and reassure me that everything was going to be ok but the pain, it was searing and took my breath away.
I remember my brother and his wife, who have been through broken bones with their athletic children many times, one rubbing my back while my husband told me to look at it. My brother was telling me that, “It’s not that bad, Deb.” He was looking at my right ankle, the scratched and bleeding one that was only severely sprained. My other brother-in-law had covered my ankles in some effort to avert my eyes from fixating on the mangled mess that sat at the bottom of my left leg. To which I responded, “It’s the other one, Mother F*cker (or so he tells me, I don’t quite remember what I said, I was trying to stave off shock which I went into right about the time they had to splint me for the ambulance ride to the hospital).” He almost passed out when he saw the left ankle. It was truly horrifying and just the thought of it right now makes my leg hurt.
Anyways, eventually the ambulance came and took me away and eventually my sister saw what was happening and ran over through a blockade of people who were trying to stop her. She wanted to come with me to the hospital but I wanted her to have the best wedding ever so I sent her to the wedding along with my children and the rest of my family, except for the Big Guy, I needed him. He is my rock. That man has been a saint since this all happened. I don’t know what I did to get so lucky but he is the most amazing man I have ever met in my entire life.
And all though breaking my fibula, shattering my tibia, dislocating my left ankle and having to have extensive surgery because the trauma was like that of a car accident and not a trip and even though my cartilage exploded into dust and my right leg is acutely sprained, it’s reminded me of how lucky I am to have the people I love in my life. My husband, my children, my in laws, my friends, my neighbors, my sister and brothers and parents are all in. They have rallied around me to pick up the slack and encourage me and pray for me. And you, all of you, your prayers and thoughts have meant so much to me.
I hate that this happened. It has put me on time out of my life for 3 months. My leg has to be elevated and non-weight bearing for 3 months. I’ve had to find rides and for my girls and people to help but it’s really shown me that I have a lot of people who care about me and, in honesty, I needed the break. I was doing too much. I would have never slowed down if it weren’t forced on me.