Broke My Ankle @APianoBar OnMy Bday
(Her ankle. She broke her ankle. And the girl? Yeah. That was me.)
It all started when I realized it was time to plan my 25th (gasp) birthday celebration. The problem is, I'm very much not a person who enjoys going out. Sure, back in college you could find me at a bar in my Hollister jeans and Vera backpack just like the rest of them. But nowadays, odds are you'll find me at my apartment playing board games and rewatching "The Office."
Thrilling stuff, right?
Still, as someone who lives in Austin, Texas and has a decent enough amount of friends that I don't (usually) have to hire people to hang out with me, I knew I needed to do something fun. If not for me, then for Instagram (just kidding, that's absolutely idiotic. But also sort of not kidding).
The problem was, the list of things I wanted to do to celebrate my birthday looked like this:
•Eat pizza on the couch.
•Pet my dog.
•Avoid making small talk or standing in a crowded bar.
So, naturally, I'm not only a loser, but unless I was fine with having a normal Saturday night, I wasn't going to get my dream birthday. Then, it hit me -- The Piano Bar.
I'd gone to said piano bar quite a few times and it's always a blast, even for an ole hermit like me. Odds are you'll be able to snag a bar stool to sit down, they play fun music you can sing to and they play it loud enough so you don't hear yourself, and the drinks are expensive so you won't get too wasted and ruin your life.
It turns out, however, that I didn't even need to get wasted there to ruin my life. Go figure.
(Don't worry guys, the story is about to pick up, with many blackmail worthy pictures included! Stay tuned!)
We arrived early so we could get some seats for our party of 10 (I'm not trying to brag about the fact that I have 9 friends but like, who am I? Diplo?). We all grabbed some beers and chatted until the perfect tables were shown to us. They were on the upper level with a great view of the two pianos -- ideal for dancing and unfairly judging people. You know, the reasons you usually go out.
Now, the fun (or embarrassing) thing about this place is that they're big on celebrating special occasions. Bachelorette parties, birthday parties, the fact that your ex isn't doing as well as you are -- whatever you're celebrating, they'll pull you on stage for your 3 minutes of fame.
And naturally, my friends put my name down so I could be thoroughly mortified in honor of my 25th birthday.
Only two hours and two beers into the night, my name was called. "Whatever," I thought as I put my purse on the table and shot my friends a why-did-you-do-this-to-me look. "I'll get this over with and then get on with my night."
I walked over to the stairs, grabbed the handrail, and descended towards the stage.
Now, for a little backstory. This night I was wearing wedges. You know, heels' slightly less attractive but much more comfortable and safe sister? I had had two Ruby Redbird Shiners in the course of 2.5 hours (great beer, btw) which means I wasn't even the slightest bit tipsy considering my "don't ask how much I weigh" frame.
So there was no reason (other than the upcoming humiliation of being sung to on stage) for what happened other than fate. And my being a dumbass.
As I stepped down those stairs in my tan Target wedges, something happened. I don't know if my non-designer shoe wobbled, if someone spilled a drink where I placed my foot, or if a ghost was holding a grudge and pushed me, but whatever it was, I slipped. Or fell. Or tripped.
It was only one step -- I didn't fly down the entire flight of stairs. And it was only for one second -- it didn't take long for me to stop myself.
But none of that matters. What matters was what I saw when I (as well as the rest of the people in the bar who heard me yell) glanced at my foot.
(Warning for squeamish folks: you're about to see a badly broken ankle. Look away if you want, but let's be real -- you sort of want to see it.)
Don't let the happy, Snapchat message fool you -- this was not the way I had planned to be celebrating my 25th birthday.
But, when life hands you a broken ankle two hours into the party honoring the fact that you're a quarter of a century old, you make the most of it.
I didn't cry (well, not until much later, that is). I didn't scream or pout. I asked my friends to take pictures because oddly enough I knew I'd want to remember this. The guys at the pianos played "Hey Jude" for me as the paramedics came into the bar to help me, and the entire crowd cheered and waved as I was rolled out of the establishment.
Yes. I was rolled out in a stretcher. And put in an ambulance.
Don't worry, those aren't tears. Okay, there might be a few tears. But I was touched more than anything -- thank God the body goes into shock quickly. Other than the sadness of watching my shoe get cut off my foot, the fact that the entire bar saw my Spanx, and that my ankle was without a doubt shattered -- things weren't horrible. And as the stretcher pulled out and the crowd started cheering and waving, I thought that things weren't going to be thaaaat bad.
I was wrong.
As they pushed me up into the ambulance and closed the doors behind me, I started to realize just how serious everything was. They checked the pulse in my foot to find that I had none, which meant that I needed to get to the hospital, and I needed to get there like an hour ago. The only problem? I knew an ambulance ride was not the cheapest way to travel. And considering I am, how would you say, broke and in a ton of debt, I knew that a $3,000 ride wasn't the best move.
So after a brief phone call with my father, I asked the paramedics to release me and was loaded into the back of my friend's car to head to the ER. It was basically like those times you'd pack everyone into the one sober driver's car, except my ankle was blowing up like a balloon and we were racing to get to the emergency room instead of getting to the bar before cover started.
When we arrived at the hospital, the nurses took one look at me, deemed me the most tragic case, and immediately took me back to get examined.
And after having my first (failed) experience using a bed pan (I peed everywhere, just FYI. Like, everywhere), crying because I had to get an IV, and painfully twisting my foot to get some x-rays the results were in.
My ankle was broken. Like "b-r-o-k-e-n" broken. The doctor on call said they saw at least two places where it had snapped, as well as a torn ligament which meant that I had to stay overnight, get surgery, and wasn't going to be training for any 5ks anytime soon (oh, darn).
After a brief call to my parents, a group of doctors drugged me up and splinted my leg back up so I could last until my morning surgery without further damaging my body.
After a very long night filled with lots of morphine, countless blood pressure and pulse checks, and Jon telling me for the millionth time that I couldn't have a sip of water because I had surgery -- morning was finally there.
And after just a few puffs of anesthesia (to be honest, I'm not sure if you "puff" anesthesia but whatever -- my story, my rules) I was finally at the end of my two-day hospital visit and had a very sore ankle to prove it.
And just look at the beautiful face! The face of an angel. Or a girl who just accidentally broke her ankle and got emergency surgery. It turns out, I had snapped my ankle in not one, not two, but THREE different places during my stumble down the stairs which resulted in having two metal plates and a tool box worth of screws put in my foot.
And while the hospital portion of the adventure is over, the healing process has just started. In addition to being on extremely heavy pain meds, I'm also not allowed to return to work for at least two to three weeks.
The problem is that my exciting birthday night racked up quite the bill. Between paying two months of Cobra fees to keep my insurance, as well as the overnight hospital fees, surgery, crutches, a boot, x-rays, medicine, and follow-up visits, my gift to myself has run up quite the bill.
Anything would be helpful, or if you hate me and don't want to help me that's fine (no, seriously, it's fine. I don't expect anything, but I'd glad you enjoyed my story) -- at least you got to see my gross looking ankle and learned that you should always look where you step!
Thanks for taking the time to read, share, and/or make fun of my experience. Appreciate your ankles today and every day. There might not be love songs about them, but they're the true unsung heroes.
The thing was, as I was sitting in the hospital bed post-op, drugged up on a cocktail of narcotics, I forgot just how annoying and, for lack of a less-dramatic phrase, soul-crushing, having a broken leg is.
For the first 4-5 days, I was on a trip that would put Woodstockers to shame. I'm pretty sure we celebrated my birthday sometime in there with pizza in bed and one of those awkward parental FaceTime calls where they don't actually put their faces on the screen so you're talking to half of their shoulder and the wall.
But after a week of very heavy pain medicine, one failed shower attempt, and a bathroom flooding incident that will give me severe PTSD, it was time to come face-to-face with my wound.
We had unwrapped, cleaned, and rewrapped my sliced open leg once earlier in the week (which resulted in me almost passing out thanks to the blood) but due to the fact that I was on a diet of hydrocodone and complaining, I didn't pay the most attention to the situation.
So, when it came time for the unwrapping of my peg leg the second time, I was much more coherent. Which is unfortunate, because that's when I noticed the giant blood-filled sac on the side of my leg. And trust me, seeing something that looked a lot like the blood poisoning that was going to kill me (thanks, WebMD) would have been a lot better on hydrocodone.
After a frantic call to the hospital and telling the news to a disgruntled boyfriend, I sprawled across the backseat of the car like a lazy corpse as we raced back to the ER.
Thankfully when we got there I was taken directly back to the exam room due to the fact that I was once again the most pitiful looking case (I'd like to thank my horrible crutch skills for that).
Now, the reason I came to the ER in the first place was because the nurse on the phone, Helen, said that they insisted I get to the hospital within four hours. When I asked her tearfully if I was going to die she said that this was most likely just a blood-filled blister, but they needed to check.
And the best part about checking to see if you have a blood-filled blister or poisoning that's going to kill you? The fact that you get to pay $300 and go downtown to find out that you don't have blood poisoning -- just a blood-filled blister.
That little scare hasn't been the worst part of the ordeal. Between counting on my amazing boyfriend for everything, to crying on the toilet because pain medicine REALLY stops you up (more on the later, but let's just say, it was a shitty situation), it hasn't been a walk in the park. So much so that you can now find me rolling along in my very own wheelchair.
With all said and done, it hasn't been my ideal way of starting 25, it hasn't been horrible. While I had been planning to stuff my face with carbs and vodka, nurse a 2-day hangover, and then start a Youtube channel, I got something else. The knowledge of how great my friends and family are -- from the people who've texted, called, or donated to the ones who've stopped by to cheer me up or help me out. I learned what it's like to fully rely on your significant other and to respect everything they do for you. And I realized just how grateful I should be. To have people who love me, to have access to great healthcare, and to have a body that's strong, and flexible, and able to heal.
And hey, at least now I already have a wheelchair for the next time I decide to trip down the stairs. Happy birthday, future me. And if a nurse named Helen tells you that you need to come into the ER, don't listen to her. You'll be fine. Probably.