Friday, February 1, 2013

"Break a leg," they said

"Rugby is a really safe sport."  Said no one, ever.

Actually, the first thing anyone say after hearing that you're a rugby player is "ooh, I heard that's really dangerous."  It is really dangerous.  Honestly, most sports have some level of danger in them, but rugby is on the higher end of the danger-scale.

As an ultimate player of 8 years, I've personally hurt my ankle, my groin, my toes (on several occasions), my shoulder and my back.  So far I've never broken anything, but I've seen others tear ACLs and break collar bones, ribs, legs and ankles.

As a rugby player of one year, I've already broken my ankle.  The manner in which the injury occurred was actually very similar to the manner in which I sprained my ankle years before playing ultimate: I was on the ground after a play and someone stumbled onto my exposed leg.

The actual moment of injury definitely hurt, but I had a mind to "walk it off" and get back in the play.  That lasted a few seconds at most and I started limping to the sidelines.   My thought at the time was that I had a sprain only - although the break hurt, it didn't "feel" like a break when it happened.  I didn't hear or feel a pop or a snap or anything - just a lot of twisting and pain.

I iced and elevated the leg on the side lines and then got back on the team bus for the return trip home.  I was in some amount of pain, so I medicated with tylenol and beer.  I still didn't know it was broken, so I walked favoring the healthy foot but without avoiding the broken one.

That evening we ended up going downtown and I was able to get by with some limping... and more beer-based medication.

Sunday and Monday were holidays and I spent them mostly on the couch, watching football and catching up on computer stuff.  On Tuesday I finally went to the doctor.

Even the doctor thought it was just a sprain, but he sent me to get x-rayed just in case.  The x-ray showed a substantial breakage, so it was off to the ortho on Wednesday.  The ortho said it was poorly aligned and would need surgery, but he couldn't schedule me soon.

Off to ANOTHER ortho on Thursday.  He could probably get me in on Friday - already 6 days after the break.  Friday came but the surgery got postponed to Tuesday.  10 days post-break.  10 days is a bit of time, but the recovery is supposed to take 4-6 months, so it's really not that much in the grand scheme of things.

I was pretty happy to get the rehab clock started though as you can see from my enthusiastic thumbs-up here:

The left leg is wrapped to prevent blood clotting.  Also makes it easy for the surgeon to know which leg to operate on . =)

Do I look excited or what?
 The surgery went as planned, and I am now the proud owner of a plate, six screws, and a giant cast.  The first few days post-op were a miserable period where the leg was trying to swell its way out of a hard cast that had no plans of making space for that sort of behavior.  Narcotics were involved as well as some throwing up and the resultant eating of only the most basic of foods.

Let the rehab process begin!
Today is the twelfth day after the break and the third after the surgery and things are looking up.  The wound is still painful, but the swelling has mostly subsided.  I very nearly slept through the night last night, though I was still using painkillers to do so.

I've been incredibly grateful to Melch during the process for driving me around when I needed to go to doctors and procedures, for keeping an eye on me while I was high on pain meds, for cooking for me, for re-filling my water bottle and generally helping me out in my disabled state.  Props also to many of my friends: Jason for getting my car back from the lot on the day of the rugby game, Tina for taking me grocery shopping, my co-workers for putting up with an absent an/or high programmer, and many more.

This wasn't really the adventure that I wanted to have this Spring, but it's the adventure that I got, and quite an adventure it will be!