When Footpaths Attack

“Hurry up, we are going to be late,” Kid2 yelled at me as we crossed the road. We were walking to the train station on our way to a friend’s birthday party. I started jogging, and as I took the last stride off the road, my left foot landed awkwardly on a rough piece of road. My ankle rolled and I felt the wrench in the ligaments even before I hit the pavement. The roads in inner west Sydney are made of large concrete slabs, and over the past hundred years, they’ve shifted leaving ridges between them. My foot landed along one of these ridges, rolling from the higher slab to the lower one. Thankfully years of horse riding has taught me to fall, and I instinctively rolled shoulder first, preventing any other injuries. Tears of agony poured down my cheeks as I dragged myself up to stand on the side of the road. My ankle immediately swelled up.

“I don’t think we’ll be going to O*’s party. I’m sorry.” I hobbled up the street to the taxi rank and sent Kid2 into the local chip shop to grab some ice. We took the taxi home – paying the cab driver to drive us one kilometre down the road. By now, the pain had ratchetted upwards and my breath was coming short and sharp. Granted, the pain was less than when my appendix burst, or the four times I’ve been through child-birth, but it was still bad enough that I thought I might vomit.

We piled the whole family into the car, interrupting their happy Saturday afternoon plans, and drove to the local ER. After much fluffing around, my ankle was x-rayed, proclaimed to be not-broken, and I was sent home on crutches to rest. For a week, I couldn’t weight-bear on it, and awkwardly the timing lined up with the last week at one of my day jobs*. If you ever want to feel like a freeloading slacker, I recommend getting an injury during your final week in a job and putting in the forms for sick leave rather than attending work. To counter this, I did go into their office three weeks later, on crutches, and hand in some final paperwork (which could have been done via email) just to ease my own guilt. *I work as a freelance data analyst and writer in the horse racing industry.

Back to the injury, two weeks after the accident, the swelling had reduced enough for an ultra-sound. The radiologist confirmed I’d partially torn two ligaments – one either side of the ankle – but not enough to require surgery. I started a program of rehabilitation with a physio (who, btw, is totally romance cover worthy, so it’s no hardship to visit him), and had to alter my exercise program.

Prior to this injury, my exercise program consisted of walking the kids to school each day (1.2km each way, twice a day). The physio recommended doing gentle exercises in the pool to strengthen up the muscles around the ligaments as they healed, as well as stretches, and I’ve used this time to slowly add in some lengths. It’s now ten weeks since I injured myself, and I can swim 800m without stopping (a massive improvement in heart and lung fitness for me), and have almost all the flexibility back in my ankle. The biggest challenge now is to increase the distance I can walk, and to improve my balance on that side. The ligaments around the ankle joint are used for balance, and with the tears, they couldn’t do the micro-movements necessary to stand on one leg.

I discovered #romancefit on Twitter, which is a good way to get motivated to move during the day. In terms of writing, the injury didn’t impact much on writing, although in the first few weeks, I did more reading than writing, as the ankle started to throb if I didn’t keep it elevated. I’m lucky enough to work from home full time, so the impact on my life, and our family, hasn’t been too great (apart from the first couple of weeks when I couldn’t walk or drive). And yes, Kid2 is still mad at me for “being clumsy and ruining his fun forever.” Twelve-year-olds can be so dramatic!

Overall, the injury has made me more aware of how my body is aging, being a tick over forty really slows down the rate of healing. It’s also made me grateful for Australia’s Medicare (public health) system, and the flexibility I have as a full-time writer.

This post was written for Romance Writers New Zealand‘s Heart to Heart newsletter.

Author Bio

Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side-note of dark humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse racing industry doing data analysis. She writes for two racing publications, churning out feature articles, interviews and advertorials. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée wrangles a husband, four children, and volunteers on the local cricket club committee.

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reneedahliawriter/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dekabat
Website: www.reneedahlia.com

Bluestocking Series

Victorian-era historical romances. Each book in this series works as a stand-alone book.

Three remarkable young women, Josephine, Marie and Claire, graduate from Amsterdam University’s Medical program in 1887.

To Charm a Bluestocking (https://books2read.com/u/3yZGRe)

In Pursuit of a Bluestocking (https://books2read.com/u/49PByk)

The Heart of a Bluestocking (COMING: September 2018)

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