I Took An Unwanted Break When I Broke My Ankle

I took a helluva break in 2009. It wasn’t exactly planned. I took a 3 1/2 month break because I broke my ankle in 2 places…just walking down the sidewalk. It was October, 2009 and it was a wet day. My son had just been unsuspended from school after being suspended the previous day. So, we were told to bring him back to school the morning that I broke my ankle. His school was way south at Washington St. and Ashland Ave. and I was working in Evanston. I blame the principal for what happened to me that day but that’s a different story.

By the time we took him to school and got him settled, I had to rush up to Evanston for my first client of the day at 11am. I had had nothing to eat and so, before my 2pm client, I was rushing to Wholefoods to grab something to eat. I was really distracted. It was drizzling at the time. There is a series of grates embedded in the sidewalk. Right in the middle of the sidewalk. In order to avoid them, one would have to walk very close to the curb. One minute I was walking and the next minute I was on the ground, writhing in pain. I had a pretty good suspicion that my ankle was broken. I had slipped on the wet $%^&# grate. My left foot slipped upward and my body came down, full force on top of it. I heard a horrible snapping noise. Several very kind people came to my aid as I laid on the ground. Two men helped me up and tried to help me walk, but I couldn’t put any weight on my left foot. Two other good Samaritans asked if they should call 911. I agreed. As I was waiting for the ambulance, I called my client to tell her what had happened. She turned up and talked to the police officers on my behalf as I was being hoisted onto the gurney and placed in the ambulance.


It was an unpleasant ride to the hospital. Xrays. Yes. It was broken. Temporary cast. Go see an orthopedist. Waiting for my friend to pick me up. Call from a client to make a massage appointment. “Sorry, no can do. I just broke my ankle.” I tried crutches. That was a disaster. They sent me home with a walker. I was 55 years old at the time. It takes a very long time for 55 year old bones to heal. I crawled up my front steps, into my apartment and sat down in disbelief.

Ten days later, I was supposed to be on my way to my first orthopedist appointment via my friend. When she didn’t turn up and I realized she had forgotten about me, I was able to get a cab and get there on time. I was not a happy camper on so many levels. The xrays showed a break in the tibia (the bigger of the 2 lower leg bones) and I wouldn’t need surgery. Woo hoo. In retrospect, the doc should have taken new xrays at my first appointment but he didn’t. If he had, he would have seen another break in the fibula which would require surgery. When I returned for my next appointment 10 days later, new xrays were taken and I was given the news about surgery. By the time I had plates and screws inserted into my lower leg, it was 3 weeks later. My recovery time was starting all over again from zero; 2 1/2 months of no weight bearing and then another month of rehab. This was the mother of all breaks. Did you see what I did there?

Do you sue everybody? The doctor, the city of Evanston who installed grates that became treacherous when wet? I spoke to a number of personal injury attorneys. Slip and falls, especially in Illinois, are very difficult to win. It turned out that the grates belong to ComEd, not the city of Evanston. Then, it turned out that the police officer who wrote the accident report really screwed up my case by noting that “there were no defects in the grates.” Why the hell would he even mention the state of the grates? How did he know there were no defects? What is he, a grate specialist? No defects, no case, no money. I found a lawyer who took my case, on a contingency basis, but after 2 years, ComEd wouldn’t budge and that was the end of that.

For a couple of weeks, getting anywhere with the walker became the “bataan death march”. I was at my internist for an appointment and one of the other patients saw me struggling. She told me that there was a wonderful contraption called a Knee Walker Leg Scooter. You placed your broken leg on the scooter and used your good leg to scoot along on wheels. And you could rent it. They sent it in the mail, you used it and then you mailed it back. Genius. And insurance paid for it. It was fabulous! The only drawback was that it didn’t do well on uneven terrain. My accident happened in October and by November, there was snow on the ground.


Since my dear husband doesn’t drive, I had to get up every morning and take my son to school, negotiating the snow in the gangway to get to our garage. Since it was my left ankle, I was able to drive. I know it wasn’t a good idea, but ya gotta do what you gotta do.

Clearly, I couldn’t be a massage therapist with one leg, so how did I spend my time? I discovered Hulu. Then, after a month of binge watching, I was bored. I joined Twitter, Facebook and about 73 groups on LinkedIn. OK. Not that many. 25 groups. I am inclined to hyperbole. This kept me busy all day. On January 21, 2010, after 3 horrendous weeks of rehab, I was ready to go back to work and back to my old life. I soon realized that I no longer had the time to do all this social media stuff. How do people manage all these sites??? I still haven’t quite figured that out!

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