injury update

Do you guys want the horrifying update on my broken foot?  This is not for the weak of stomach, so be warned.

I saw the orthopedist today. Minimum of three months until I can put weight on the foot, two months before I can drive. Likely surgery. And I have to inject myself in the stomach daily for the next few weeks. Yeah.

I blame this on flip-flops, which I’ve decided are the motorcycle of shoes, in that there’s zero protection if you have an accident.

I am not happy about any of this, particularly because I’m self-sufficient to a fault, and this is forcing me to rely on other people. Do not like.

{ 95 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous*

    I hate flip-flops, but I am aware I am in the minority. I think they are ugly and I don’t like making a spanking sound when I walk around. Now I have a third reason to not like them, they are dangerous! thanks!

    1. Kat*

      I’m also in the minority with you. Plus I can’t seem to be able to wear any blackless shoe without shuffling along like I have gravity troubles. This just adds to my list.

      Alison, might I ask what the stomach injection is for? I’m not comprehending the link between the two.

      I also totally understand about not liking being so reliant on others. Suckage :(

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Oh yeah, I should have explained that. It’s a blood-thinner so that I don’t get a blood clot and die. (I’m not sure why this injury puts me at risk for a blot clot though. Maybe something like how you can get them from sitting still too long on an airplane? Does that really happen?)

        However, I’ve no idea why it’s an injection rather than a pill!

        1. coree*

          The injection is actually better than the pill- it keeps your levels more stable. To reduce the pain from the shot, use a glass with frozen water in it and numb the area before the shot. So sorry you got hurt! The shots stink but they are much better than a blood clot.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Ooooh, good idea on numbing it. I just did my first one, and it actually wasn’t as bad as thought it was going to be, although it did hurt afterwards.

            Keep these medical tips coming!

            1. coree*

              Yeah, it’s not terrible but your stomach will get pretty sore and bruised after a few weeks. Heat helps with that. I’m glad my ridiculous medical experience gets to come in handy.

              1. Ms. Enthusiasm*

                When I was in the hospital after having my third (and last) c-section they gave me shots every day in my belly. I think it was hospital policy or something – anyone laying down for long periods of time must get a blood thinner. I had horrible bruises from them.

          2. Wilton Businessman*

            I was thinking a flaming shot of sambuca beforehand would help, but numbing it that way works too.

        2. Samantha*

          I had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lung) after surgery. The reason for the blood thinners is because you aren’t as mobile with the only one good foot so the chance of a blood clot goes up. And yes you can get a blood clot from sitting still too long.

          The reason for the injection is that the pill form of the blood thinner takes longer to get to the proper levels. I spent two weeks in the hospital waiting for the IV and pill meds to get to the right level. Finally they released me with the shots to take myself until the pills ones got to the right level. (And this was after I had been in the hospital for two weeks and then home for a week. It was an ordeal)

            1. Samantha*

              it was pretty bad. Because not only did i have the blood clot I had other complications after the surgery. I was on a blood thinners for a year with blood work daily for a while and then weekly etc.

              And just to be annoying – I live in Canada – ask me how much this all cost me out of pocket. ;)

              1. Laura L*

                “And just to be annoying – I live in Canada – ask me how much this all cost me out of pocket. ;)”

                Now, now, no one likes a gloater… :-)

                Seriously, though, I’m so jealous…

            2. Wilton Businessman*

              Didn’t a reporter die sitting too long in a tank during the first four or five months of the Iraq war because of clots in his legs?

        3. Jenna*

          Yeah, it can happen. I got a blood clot after I had my twins. I had a post-partum hemmorage and ended up imobile for a day and a half, then because I was weak from the whole thing, I ended up sitting around a lot when I was home. About a week later I got the clot. I had the shots too, but since I went through the emergency room to diagnose my clot, I just went back to them every day for a week and they did my shot for me. Maybe you can find a nurse to come and do the shot for you if you are squeamish?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            To my great surprise, when I did the first shot today, it wasn’t so bad! I think it’s more of a psychological barrier to doing it than anything else. Now I’m feeling kind of like a bad-ass for doing it.

            1. Jenna*

              You are braver than me! I would have been such a wussy if I had to do it myself :)

              Actually, the shots were the easier part. What I really hated were all the blood draws to test your INR levels (forget what that stands for). I had it done daily for the first week as they were adjusting my shot and pill dosage to to the right levels, then weekly after that when I was just on the pills. Eventually it went bi-weekly, then monthly as I became more stable.

              1. Samantha*

                I had blood tests for INR levels daily for 4 months. Yeah. Then it went to every few days, then weekly, then every second week and then monthly. And then still sometimes weekly and still sometimes every few days. (My levels were not very stable) The techs at the lab knew me by sight.

            2. Samantha*

              It seems worse than it is. I was super nervous about it too but I would have done ANYTHING to get out of the hospital. I was so sick of being in there.

              1. Jenna*

                Yeah, that sounds like it sucked! I was lucky and only had a blood clot in my calf. They warned me to come back to the hospital right away if I had any leg pain or swelling, so I got myself back in as soon as I realized the pain was not just a cramp and it wasn’t going away. I am sure the clot in the lung was much worse.

        4. bob*

          Yes it does happen although that particular circumstance of being on the plane is pretty rare. Anytime you have an injury or especially surgery and have to sit for an extended period it’s a smallish risk.

          Do you have some other risk factor for blood clots?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Being a woman, apparently. I’m not sure how that plays into it, but the doctor referenced that when telling me I’d need to do it. Was too out of it to ask for more of an explanation, but now I’m curious.

            1. Kim Stiens*

              Yeah, my understanding is that women get them WAY more often. It’s a danger associated with birth control, too, for some reason, so that doesn’t help.

    2. Christine*

      Joining the minority too! In addition to the reasons you give, I don’t like the ones that go between your big and second toes. Very uncomfortable for me.

      I second Kat’s question about the injections.

      1. Kelly O*

        I’ll just add “me too” to the flip-flop haters. I have a couple of pairs, normally worn from the apartment to the pool and there only. (And even though they have this skid “proof” stuff I still feel like I’m sliding out of them.)

        You have my sympathies with the injections; I can add that the cold glass trick really does help with doing that yourself.

  2. Jenny*

    Oh, Allison, I’m so sorry, what a bummer! Injecting yourself in the stomach – I couldn’t do it. I agree with you about the flip flops. I got a nasty cut on my toe last year when I was walking my German Shepherd in flip flops and she decided to pull right when I was walking over a broken piece of sidewalk. That was the last time I have worn open toed shoes to walk doggies. I bike a lot, but never ever in flip flops.

    I’m amazed that you’re posting on a daily basis through all of this!

  3. Elizabeth*

    I’ve never commented here before, but I just wanted to say I am so sorry this happened to you. I hope you start feeling a little better soon, and heal up fast!

  4. Christine*

    Oh Alison, that stinks!!! I can’t drive myself because of my eyesight, so I can totally empathize with having to depend on others for transportation. That probably doesn’t compare to what you’re dealing with, though. Sending good thoughts your way.

  5. Anonymous*

    Sorry you are struggling with your foot – rest and recuperate, enjoy your posts immensely, will be patient

      1. Cheryl*

        Correct, you place your knee on that seat and walk normally on the side you didnt injure….like a scooter for adults!!

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Okay, I just ordered a similar one! (Found one with good reviews on Amazon and with their awesome Prime service, it’ll be here within a couple of days.) I’m kind of excited about this thing — thank you so much for suggesting it!

        1. Suz*

          One of my coworkers used one of these when she broke her leg. You ca get around a lot faster than on crutches. I hope you have a speedy recovery.

  6. Kris*

    Do the shots have to be in the stomach? My mom takes an every-other-day injection for MS and she has to rotate the site (stomach, thigh, back of arm, etc) The stomach is the worst one, she only does it when the others are bruised. Also, there is a device called an autoinjector (think epi-pen but you load your syringe with your medicine into it) and it does the shot for you. It’s quicker, and less bruising/pain. If this is going to be going on for longer than a month, might be worth a chat with your doc.
    Good luck with your recovery! Your blog has been one of my best finds in this job search!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Interesting! They told me the stomach, but maybe I’ll ask where else I can do it. I’m feeling pretty impressed with myself for doing it — it’s such a weird feeling to force something into your skin like that!

      1. Samantha*

        I was told the stomach too. I think because it’s not supposed to go into muscle and it’s easier to inject there. But I’m not 100% positive.

          1. Samantha*

            LOL that’s not what I meant. But if you inject in your arm or leg etc you are likely going to inject it in muscle instead of not.

  7. Nicole*

    I’m so sorry to hear that. Take care of yourself, and do not inject yourself right after responding to a frustrating question! Who knows what damage you might do?!

  8. Anonymous*

    I feel you! I broke my foot a few years ago while wearing heels. I was able to walk with tennis shoes at about 6 or 8 weeks. I could not tie the laces, because my foot was still swollen. The hardest part for me was resigning to the fact that I can not wear heels for more than 30 minutes without pain. I now have a whole new wardrobe of flat shoes and booties. Being on crutches for two months was the worst.. you have my sympathies!!

  9. Clobbered*

    Did they tell you to keep the foot elevated? This might be the excuse you always needed for a comfy armchair.

    Seriously, hope you can avoid surgery at least.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, although it’s hard to keep it elevated because it’s not comfortable in any position for more than 10 minutes. It does need to be elevated though, because it’s swollen in the most disgusting way.

  10. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Thank you all so much for these comments. Also, in a messed-up way, it’s really helpful to hear about stuff other people have dealt with. I was feeling completely overwhelmed — and frankly, scared — this morning after I got this diagnosis, especially because living alone makes this so much more complicated. It’s reassuring to hear about stuff other people have dealt with.

    (Obviously, this is nothing compared with serious illnesses and disabilities; I don’t mean to imply there’s a comparison.)

    1. Samantha*

      I live alone too. And I have a cat. Luckily my mom took her for the month (and the week in between hospital visits) that I was in the hospital. I actually had to move in with my mom because I couldn’t handle being on my own after I was discharged.

      And I know what you mean about hearing others stories. One thing I noticed in the hospital on my trips walking/shuffling around the ward – is that there is always someone sicker than you. ;) And I was pretty sick. Which sounds kind of horrible but I was. But it’s all relative. It’s happening to you.

  11. bedelia*

    Poor Alison! I hope you feel better soon!
    I was in a similar situation a few years ago (Ankle. One stair. Hurt my leg and my ego) I recommend finding a tv show you’ve been meaning to watch and capitalizing on this time laid up. Also, bedazzled crutches bring a smile to everyone’s face!

  12. Karen Kerr*

    Alison, I am so sorry. What a bunch of random b.s. But I am sure you are not one to let this kind of thing get you down. And I’m with you on flip flops. Speedy recovery, Alison. We all LOVE your perspective.

  13. ImpassionedPlatypi*

    So, I had to leave my apartment today to run an errand. I noticed as I was returning home that I was being super careful whenever I stepped down from anywhere- curb, stairs, bus. This post has just made me even more worried about the possibilities. And the arch on my right foot just started aching.

    I really hope you feel better soon.

  14. Hazel*

    Just feel sorry for yourself as much as you need to! It’s your pain and discomfort that are affecting YOU. Knowing that others are worse off doesn’t reduce what you’re feeling. And take care of yourself as best you can – it’s hard being on your own in this sort of situation and having to ask other people for help is the pits.
    Please be sensible about the not putting weight on the foot – Granny Hazel is nagging!

  15. JessB*

    My little sister broke her leg a few weeks ago, and had to endure something similar – an operation, resulting in a bolt, some screws and a plate in her leg, and a cast on the outside. Then she was on bed rest for 23 and three-quarter hours a day. That’s right, she had 15 minutes a day to go to the bathroom, and the rest of the time, she was stuck in bed. This was so serious because she is a dancer, and she broke both bones in her leg really close to the ankle joint, so it was extra important to make sure the leg healed perfectly, so she got the full range of movement.

    I’m happy to report that her cast is now off and she is doing really well at hydrotherapy. She is loving being back in everyday life, going to school and walking the dog! So it will get better Alison :-) Take care of yourself in the meantime.

  16. class factotum*

    Oh man. I am so sorry to hear this. And I am especially sorry about the self-inflicted shots. You are badass! I would pass out.

    Here’s some advice: If you have leftover percocet when this is all over, do not let your grad school/former dentist boyfriend make you throw it out just because it is expired. Later, you will regret tossing it because you never know when you might want a strong narcotic!

    Advice #2: I don’t watch much TV, but I have gotten some shows from the library that I can really recommend. I liked “Downton Abbey,” “The Good Wife,” “Big Bang Theory,” and “Big Love.” And “Friday Night Lights” is just excellent. I even got my husband to watch it, despite his initial protests that he did not want to watch 1. a stupid TV show 2. about football and 3. Texas. In fact, he likes it so much that we bought seasons 3 and 4 because the library had only 1 and 2.

    These shows are all on DVD. My library even has volunteers who will deliver materials to people who are homebound.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I’ve been meaning to watch Downton Abbey. That looks right up my alley. And I love Big Love — could totally see rewatching it from the beginning. And I keep hearing excellent things about Friday Night Lights. I see much media consumption in my future.

          1. class factotum*

            OK. If you like “Downton Abbey,” (and you will), then you might like “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett.

            Here is a list of books I have read recently and liked:

            Children and Fire, Ursula Hegi (I also liked Stones in the River)
            Field of Blood, Denise Mina
            Mao’s Last Dancer, Li Cunxin
            Conquistadora, Esmeralda Santiago
            Turn of Mind, Alice Laplante
            Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys
            I Am Hutterite, Mary Ann Kirkby
            Lips Unsealed, Belinda Carlisle
            Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Jamie Ford
            Notes from the Underwire, Quinn Cummings
            Truck: A Love Story, Michael Perry
            Georgia Bottoms, Mark Childress

          2. class factotum*

            Also –

            Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese (read this first – it is excellent)

            Anything by Elizabeth Berg
            Anything by Eleanor Lippman
            Most books by Laura Lippman (not the Tess series, but the stand alones are good)
            Anything by Alexander McCall Smith
            Some of Connie Wills’ books – if you like time travel stories
            Bitter is the New Black, Jen Lancaster

      1. Joe*

        You should give us an idea of what kinds of things you like, I’m sure your readers could provide lots of suggestions for books, movies, TV shows, etc. to entertain yourself.

        I’ll throw out a few random favorites as suggestions, but if you tell us what you like, we can give options more suited to your tastes:

        TV Shows, Funny: Arrested Development; Sports Night; Red Dwarf

        TV Shows, Dramatic: Carnivale; The West Wing (though after season 4, it goes downhill, when Aaron Sorkin left); Babylon 5 (one of the best sci fi series in a long time; the first season has a lot of weak episodes, but it matures into an excellent show); Battlestar Galactica (another excellent SF series)

        Books: Anything by Neil Gaiman (but especially Sandman (series of graphic novels), American Gods, and Good Omens (funny as hell)); The Plot Against America; Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman.

        Very sorry to hear about your incapacitation, but I hope some of these suggestions help tide you through the time ahead.

    2. Heather B*

      Totally OT, but as a public librarian, I love you for plugging your local library. Alison, many libraries have homebound delivery! Definitely give yours a call if you’re running out of reading/watching material. :)

  17. fposte*

    Geez. I’ve been down with the flu, but it suddenly seems like a much smaller deal. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    Oh, and ironically, the rabies shots aren’t that bad any more–I had them, and they’re not even in the stomach these days. Yours actually sound more badass.

    1. class factotum*

      I’m glad to know that rabies shots have been improved. When I was five, I made the mistake of playing with the mouse in the window well after my mother had told me not to. The mouse bit me, and despite the kleenex I wrapped around my finger, my mom figured it out. To the hospital we went for a rabies shot. The first time, I was unsuspecting, but the next day, when Dr J, who lived down the hall from us, came over to give me the next of my total of 14 shots, I crawled under the bed and grabbed the posts. I had to be dragged out by my feet. My mom sat on my hands and Dr J sat on my legs and gave me the shot.

      To this day I hate rodents. Better than hating Dr J, who, 40 years later, after my dad and his wife died, courted my mother for several years.

      1. fposte*

        If I’d been a little kid, it still would have been pretty freaky–it was, I think, nine shots total, and who likes that? However, you probably had those horrible in-stomach ones, and mine were pretty normal shots (though the first four are all in the same appointment), with the immunization component just going in the upper arm like regular ol’ shots. Definitely preferable to rabies.

        That’s not a reason for it to be a good plan to play with wild rodents, though; I think your subsequent avoidance has been a wise move.

  18. Rachel*

    Oh no! I broke my ankle last summer due to flip flops and falling up a set of stairs. That’s right, I fell up. It was pretty horriffic and I ended up with a plate and a bunch of screws. I didn’t have to take blood thinners, but I made sure to get up and work my arms out as much as I could. Boxing on the Wii is perfect. The knee walker and a good bath seat were lifesavers.

    Anyway, good luck! It’s truly one of the more horrible human experiences. It’s been over a year now, but I still never take taking a shower for granted.

  19. Rebecca*

    Alison, I’m so sorry to hear this – hope you are feeling better soon! Do not be shy about asking for help. It’s hard, but friends are there for a reason. I can send you some recommended reading lists too. Have you read the China Bayles series? Read (or re -read) Harry Potter. It’s kind of fun to go back and read Stephen King’s older stuff – and by fun I mean reading about a time not that long ago but there are no (or very few) computers and no cell phones. How did we survive? :)

  20. Nathan A.*

    I’m still baffled why they have you taking shots in the stomach. That’s awful! I hope you recover quickly! If you feel spiteful, get a bulldozer and show that curb who is the boss (re: manager).

  21. Cheryl*

    Good luck with the knee walker!!! Glad you looked into it as living alone and getting something to eat on crutches leaves much to be desired. You can rig a basket or just buy one and be much more sufficient.
    I too have a story to make you feel better….I was in Hawaii on vacation in 2010 and broke the 5th metatarsal bone and cracked the 4th in both feet, I cannot begin to tell you how much it sucked getting home to Colorado. I was traveling alone and had to depend on total strangers to do things like pull up my pants as I could leverage myself up without feet, but not pull the pants up too. And the joy continued in that my family who knew I broke both feet met me at the airport without a wheelchair, so I had to literally slither/crawl into the house. At the time I lived with my mother in a older house and couldnt get into the bathroom….it totally sucked in so many ways. But you improvise and learn to make it work and only holler for help when you absolutely have to…and you still have a foot to move around on. Oh and I got around in the house by using the rolling chair that is usually parked in front of the computer. Crutches just totally suck, especially at my weight!!

  22. Jamie*

    Oh, you poor thing! Isn’t it amazing how one misstep can derail you for so long?

    And I knew flip flops were uncomfortable – but this has validated that they are evil and out to harm humans.

  23. HDL*

    I love flip-flops. Would have worn them all the time when I was pregnant if I could have, since when you can’t reach your feet it becomes an ordeal to put on (or take off) regular shoes. I’m sorry they failed you, though :-( I hope your foot heals up well. And good luck with the stomach shots! That sounds unpleasant. At least you’re not a type I diabetic (they have to inject themselves with insulin every day!).

  24. Lori*

    My 68 year-old dad, who lives in southern CA, thought nothing of wearing flip-flops until he flopped all the way down his stairs, and couldn’t move for a few hours (and he lives alone). He learned the hard way how dangerous they can be!
    Be sure to have a foot specialist with great ratings…my hubby had to have foot surgery re-done after the first doc did a sub-par job. :(
    Heal quickly!!!

  25. KAT*

    New reader, first-time commenter, and I know I’m late but just saw this post. I wanted to say I’m sorry about your foot and here are my tips from my experience with living alone with a broken ankle a few years ago:

    Wear pants with big pockets. I had cut-off army pants and would stuff everything I needed in my pockets so I didn’t have to travel to get anything even in the house.

    If you have even a slightly messy apartment (I did!) and anyone can come help clean it a bit, take advantage of that (in my case it was my mom – she flew out for the first few days to help out). Having clear floors makes a big difference.

    If you can’t put your feet up comfortably – I ended up flipping over a trash can and putting a pillow on top of that and that was the perfect height when I was in my desk chair. I have no idea why but it worked for me.

    Lots of stores have scooters or wheelchairs if you need them (although it sounds like you’re getting one of those wheel-things so you probably wouldn’t need one).

    If it is cold where you are, get a legwarmer! I broke my ankle on Oct 22nd and had the cast for a month, so it was around the same time of year. I was so sick of having one hot leg and one cold leg.

    If you can treat it as a time to catch up on TV, movies, and books, awesome – do it! But remember that your body is healing and you will need extra rest, and it’s not just a side-effect of the medication. Make sure you rest up, sleep, and don’t push yourself. And eat well! Protein and vitamin C for healing. And probably some good calcium too.

    And as for your injections, make sure to rotate the sites you use on your stomach – even just by a few inches each time. And good for you for doing them yourself!

      1. KAT*

        My guess is that you’re having decreased tissue perfusion – less blood getting to and around your foot – which is what keeps it warm. (Weird circulation stuff is also one of the reasons for the shots, too.) It’s also probably swollen which means the fluid that is making it swollen is effecting things as well. But that’s just a guess, so I could be way off :).

  26. TDB*

    I have two comments learned from family experiences–
    1) whatever they have you do to avoid a blood clot, do it. I lost a sister at 18 to a pulmonary embolism no one saw coming as they were trying to keep her quiet enough after a puke-for-three-days-straight concussion that was the result of a horseback riding accident.
    2) I’m not sure if my mother’s foot ever completely regained its proper color after her definition of “keeping off” her broken foot included sitting at a table working on her Christmas letters without elevating it resulted in some unbelievably ugly bruising and swelling. She was over 70 at the time, but why risk it?
    Oh and as for reading material, I’m a complete genre fiction junkie, so here are a couple of authors who are wonderful depending upon your taste in escapist fiction–
    Sci-Fi Fantasy:
    David Weber’s Honor Harrington series–Napoleonic Wars done in outer space with a female Horatio Hornblower character, absolutely “MAHVELOUS”
    Lois McMasters Bujold–Miles Vorkosigan series–delightful romps, Prussian-flavored “world” with one of the most endearing heroes I’ve ever read. She also has a trilogy that begins with the (how do you underline/italicize a book title on Mozilla/gmail?) “Curse of Chalion” which the author describes as being inspired by medieval Spanish legend cycles; or her most romantic, “Sharing Knife” series, four books thus far
    In murder mysteries, two of my favorite authors
    JA Jance–two series, JP Beaumont and Joanna Brady, and about 20 some books in, they do run into each other, even though Beaumont is based in the Seattle area and Brady is in a small Arizona mining town.
    Leslie Glass–April Wu series, police procedurals starring a first generation Chinese American detective who lives with “dragon mother” and as it has been a while since the last one, I cannot remember what she called her father.
    To close, I hope you heal remarkably quickly and fully. And, no, I have no plans to give up my Sketchers Tone-up flip flops any time soon, well, except for temperature concerns, but as one who is quite talented at tripping over lint, I will “be careful out there.” Be Well.

  27. Somebody*

    Sorry for your problems with your foot. I went thru something similar. The Ortho. misdisagnosed me; the problem then advanced to where I had to have surgery. It’s called Postier Tibial Tendon Dysfunction. Stage 3 out of 4 stages. The injections into your stomach sounds like it could be Heparin injections. If it is – be careful with what you eat with heparin. I know if you take warfarin or coumdain (SP) you should not eat dark leafy veggies like spinach, turnip greens, or brocolli.
    If your surgery is triple arthodesis – mine was about 4 to 6 weeks in a plaster cast, 6 more weeks in regular cast, then the frankenstein boot for about 4 weeks slowly adding weight. Then physical therapy – AQUA is the best.

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