So, a little math lesson. Runner + broken ankle = meltdown. Several in fact. Over the next few days, my brain came up with the most hideous scenarios imaginable. I was certain that my running days were over because let’s face it – getting into shape the first time was hard enough; having to do it a second time was just unthinkable. And there was no way my ankle would ever be stable enough again to withstand the rigors of running, let alone doing 26.2 miles of it. As far as I was concerned, my life was over. Isn’t it amazing what we put ourselves through when faced with the unexpected?
During one of my feeling sorry for myself conversations with another runner friend, she said something that explained what I was feeling and why I was feeling it. She said, “Runners characterize themselves by their running. Take that away, and you take away their identity. And once you realize that this is only temporary, and that you are, in fact, more than `just a runner,’ you’ll be on your way to recovery.’’ She had hit the nail right on the head – I absolutely didn’t know who I was without running, even though I’d only been a runner for a couple of years.
Waiting to see the orthopedic surgeon was the longest four days of my life. I still hadn’t seen the x-ray so I had no visual of how good or bad the break really was, and I was terrified of being in a cast for six weeks. I drove a standard; so did Joe. A cast meant that I would be housebound for the duration, and that was too much for my already fragile mental state to handle. I am a graduate student working in a marine science lab, so a cast would mean no work either. Strike two. And considering that I’d had a broken wrist last year (also a running accident, by the way) I knew that a cast meant a serious loss of my range of motion. Strike three. Mind = blown; enter yet another meltdown.
The trip to the orthopedic surgeon wound up being the turning point in this whole icky scenario. Joe took me to see his specialist, a former team doctor who is very progressive and likes to see his patients up and moving. Finally getting a look at the x-ray provided some peace of mind, as the non-weight bearing bone was broken below the joint and was pretty much still sitting right where it belonged. The doctor was very positive and felt that I was a good candidate for a boot. Wait – no cast? Bullet dodged?? And I can take it off when I’m not walking around??? Color me about the most relieved person you’ve ever seen!! Maybe all is not lost yet…..