Apparently you can break your leg and walk forever for three days, and even on occasion run just a little bit.
I know this, having done so myself.
It started out this past Monday night, when I was paying more attention to my iPhone than I was getting on the bus. Consequently, I missed a step and ended up banging my leg quite hard on the steps of the bus.
“Whatever” I thought. I was pretty sure I bruised it, having hit it so hard, but else was new? I had gotten on the bus with the intention of checking out a large park in Toronto, called High Park. Once a year the cherry blossoms show up on a whole bunch of trees there, for only a few days and, never having seen them, I wanted to check them out.
I sat down on the bus, and noticed that my leg seemed…..tight. It felt weird. Not painful though. More like someone was stretching the skin around my leg. I figured I must have banged it good and so I lifted my pant leg, fully expecting to see lots of gore. But there was none. Just this football on the lower part of my leg.
I shrugged and got off of the bus at the subway station. Suddenly I was an 80-year-old man with lower extremity arthritis. Couldn’t walk normally, even if Madonna were to come traipsing out of the subway, shouting (as only Madonna can do) “what’s the matter motherfucker? Catch your balls in your zipper again?”
Puzzled, I abandoned my quest for the park and got right back on the bus again, this time to go see a doctor at a walk-in clinic.
Oh. Well, you see, here in Canada, we have these places, much like McDonald’s or Arby’s, where you can make an impromptu visit to see a doctor. On a moment’s notice. You don’t even need an appointment. You just walk in, show them your provincial citizenship by way of a Health Card and within an hour or two, Bob’s yer uncle, and you’ve seen a doctor. I suppose the only difference between these and McDonald’s is that, well, they don’t serve hamburgers and you don’t have to pay. Seems a fair trade-off.
I’d love for these walk-in clinic doctors to change it up a bit though. Come in, see one of them, and have them finish the appointment by handing you a prescription with one hand, and with the other, hand you a hamburger. It would be worth the $1.50.
Anyway, the doctor checked me out, and scratching her head, she said “well it looks *awfully* puffy for just banging it on a set of steps. I’d better send you for an ultra-sound, just to be on the safe side.”
There are more details – boring really – so I won’t go into it. Just to make a long story short: I saw my regular doc the next day, who in turn brought in a colleague doctor and both stood there looking at my bare leg, puzzled. The colleague looked at me and said “wow. That’s pretty awesome.”
I grinned. “Yeah, it is isn’t it?”
He laughed. “I think it’s just one huge bruise, really. Get an ultrasound. And maybe get an x-ray too, just to be sure.”
My doc smiled at him. “That’s what I was thinking” she said. Then she looked at me. “I’d stay off of it for a few days. Get some ice on it, and elevate it.”
I nodded. I always listen to my doctor. She’s awesome herself, you see. She knows what she’s talking about, and takes medicine and her patients quite seriously.
So. I got both routines done, and went on my merry way.
The next day, I emailed my boss and told him I wouldn’t be in. Then I went to the park.
Such a lovely place. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom and it was quite sunny out, bordering on warm. I mean I walked *everywhere* too. Took my camera out and shot a whole bunch of pics, trying to capture it all. The leg bothered me a bit but I ignored it and just had a great time.
The next day I decided I would take it easy. I didn’t walk nearly as much, though I do recall running to catch the bus at one point. I forget why.
The doc called me up in the afternoon, just before she was leaving for the day. “Uh, I hate to tell you this but you’ve got a broken leg.”
I was stunned. “Really?”
She said “really. You need to go the fracture clinic at the hospital. Though you really shouldn’t be on it.”
“I’ve got a cane. I can use that to carry most of the weight.”
“No, you need crutches.”
“Well, I’ve been on it for almost three days now. I’ll take a cab to the hospital.”
“Ok. Call me back and let me know what happens OK?”
This morning I went to my appointment at the fracture clinic. I found out something. There are apparently two major bones in the lower part of your leg. I only broke one of them. The fibula.
It’s a good thing I didn’t break the tibia. The tibia is the mean motherfucker junkyard dog of a bone. The one that carries 5/6 of your body weight. It’s the bone that rolls up its sleeves and beats the holy living hell out of the sidewalk when you walk.
The fibula is the little yappy sidekick dog of a bone. It carries the big dog’s wallet and keys while it’s getting ready to scrap with the world. It looks at the tibia with adoring admiration. And it says “COOL!” a lot.
Anyway, that’s the one I broke. No cast required for the fibula. It didn’t warrant it. “Just put partial weight on it” said the doc. “It’ll heal up in six weeks”
As I hobbled on to the bus with my crutches, I found out something else too.
Apparently half of the world views an otherwise healthy guy on crutches in a matronly manner. For those who are having trouble keeping up, that would be the female half of the species. Young or old, it doesn’t matter. They all get this look in their eyes, that kind of says “oh – YOU”.
I saw myself morphing from a wolf to a pup on its back, requiring a belly rub. It was pleasing and disconcerting at the same time.
The other half of the species – the guy half – either ignored me or thought my injury was cool. A fellow inmate at the hospital – a guy from the U.K. who had injured one of his wings – compared notes with me. He said “you walked around for three days with a broken leg? You’re hard-core, man!” He grinned.
I laughed. “And yet, when we get a cold, we get all wimpy, don’t we?”
He laughed. “Too right we do.”
At least it’s the beginning of spring. At the end of the first week in June, I should be good to go again. So there’s that.
In the meantime, I’ll milk this thing for all its worth. I’ll say to all of my single gorgeous friends “hey, I’m letting all of the good-looking chicks that I know that I’m looking for their sympathy.” Then I’ll add “so. Do you feel sorry for me?”
Guys take note: when you’re injured or sick this technique works like a charm. Every time.