Last night, in my haste to make it up the stairs and into my apartment before Elementary started, I apparently mistimed one of the steps. And totally f*** my life, I felt an incredible pain. It hurt so bad that I was literally brought down to my knees for a minute. I eventually hopped on one foot to my apartment, where I tried to shake it off. The pain wouldn’t go away though so I did what they taught me in the Air Force: RICE…as in rest, ice, compression, and elevation. That relieved some of the pain…enough for me to go to sleep without major incident. But I just woke up 45 minutes ago and not only is my right ankle—the same one that was broken 1 ½ years ago when some kid crashed into it at a Walmart in Atlanta—but I can’t put weight on it without being uncomfortable. I’m gonna try to tough this out and go about my Friday in the office but I’m reasonably certain I’m gonna have to make a trip to the VA Hospital to get this checked out by my primary care manager. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be on crutches again…it feels that bad. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the first experience with crutches.
How I first came across this moment? It was back in November 1989. After getting my foot ran over at the corner of 11th Avenue South and 11th Place South on Birmingham’s Southside, I ended up at Children’s Hospital. Luckily, there wasn’t any severe ligament or nerve damage to my foot but they casted me up and gave me a pair of crutches. I was dumbfounded at the occasion: I didn’t know what they were or how to use them. The ER doctor showed me how to use them and my great-grandmother gave me some encouragement.
What it meant to me then? It meant I was a 5-year-old kid on crutches. Do you understand what that means to a kid? As much as I can remember, I had mixed feelings about it. On one end, I couldn’t f’n walk right. Having those crutches made me extremely slow getting around and I couldn’t go run and play like the other kids at school. On the other end, the special attention I got was unmatched. People really feel sorry for you when you’re a kid on crutches. They give you all kinds of stuff…like ice cream and sodas and all kinds of other goodies. All of the other kids are all helpful and stuff.
What it means to me now? Today, the experience of being on crutches absolutely sucks to me. I’ve had a number of ankle injuries and an Achilles injury over my lifetime but I’ve only been relegated to crutches 3 times in my life…that one time as a kid, the 3 months I sported them after tearing my Achilles, and for a 6-week stretch when I broke my ankle in December 2013. I absolutely loathe crutches. They make me feel weak and helpless…not to mention they place me in a vulnerable situation in terms of being able to use my wheels to get out of danger. Hopefully, they won’t be necessary for a 4th time in life.