Last week I did something silly. I got distracted walking down a flight of stairs, stuck my right leg out 2 steps too far, realized I could not in fact walk on air and felt the full force of gravity and my now 5-month pregnant body as my right foot went down onto the landing. I have had plenty of trips, slips and falls going down stairs. None have ever resulted in more than an ouch and a bruise.
But this wasn’t like the times before. The initial shock and pain was different. Within seconds of going down, my right ankle swelled to 3 times its size and it couldn’t bear my weight. Some might say I was optimistic, others would argue I was in denial but I honestly thought a little bit of ice and the whole thing will be just fine. (Nevermind the fact that I had only 3 hours to go until I was scheduled to facilitate an event downtown.) I was very calm as I tried to brainstorm how I could make it all work out as planned.
After a series of calls, texts and photos of my foot, it was decided that I should see a doctor – just to be sure. (So much for my plans!) The ER was full and considerably less glamorous than what you see on TV. Not having spent a lot of time in hospitals, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After seeing the ER doctor, I agreed to have my right foot x-rayed but with added precaution because I’m pregnant. My spirits were buoyed when the radiologist (who covered my torso in lead aprons – the weight equivalent to a small child) said that my initial scans seemed to indicate no fracture. I felt so relieved. The ER doctor had a different diagnosis – a chipped bone – that would require a temporary cast and a follow-up visit to the fracture clinic the next day. Did this mean a real cast? Crutches? If so, for how long?
I was confused and overwhelmed. My mind immediately went to challenges that would lie before me – not as much as a person but as a pregnant person recovering from a chipped bone. If I couldn’t walk, then I couldn’t exercise. If I couldn’t exercise, then I couldn’t build up my strength for the rest of this pregnancy and especially labour. Then I might not be as healthy for myself and my baby. And I wouldn’t benefit from those amazingly addictive endorphins and happy feelings that I get from being active. I would be forced to ride this crazy hormonal roller coaster without any relief. I could become depressed and stressed creating a huge impact on my little one’s development. All of these thoughts went through my mind. I was filled with feelings of regret, failure and self-pity. For all of 15 minutes.
Then I realized that all I needed was a plan and some time to figure it out. My body might be fractured but my spirit is unbreakable. The following morning I did get a cast (on for 2 weeks) and crutches. But I also got a bit of good news – no break, no fracture, no chipped bone. It could have been the other woman who was in the ER with the exact same right foot injury who had the chipped bone. It could have been something to do with the fact that the specialist told me I have a tiny “extra” bone in my right foot that perhaps was misinterpreted as something else. (Apparently my brother has the same “extra” bone in his foot. We are mutants!) I don’t know exactly why there was a discrepancy in diagnosis. And I really don’t care. All I know is that it was the small bit of good news and perspective I needed.
I am still doing most of the things I did before. I just do it all slower, with a hobble and within a 10ft radius of my house. I am even doing some modified pilates at home until I can get back into classes. Being pregnant on crutches is a challenge. But for now, I’m still unbreakable.