I sprained my left ankle this summer.
(Have I really not mentioned that? It feels like all my life has been about for months. Remember when we could say these things on our blogs without fear that they would not be later hoovered up in a Google search of our lives as proof we have some kind of pre-existing condition?)
I don’t know how I sprained it. All I know is that I uncharacteristically spent the prior day walking around in flip flops. Clearly they ought to carry some sort of warning label.
After a miserable day of limping around my office I did all of the things you are supposed to do: ice, heat, keeping it wrapped, staying off it. I am a good patient, even when I’m not under a doctor’s care.
Except, it never got better. Not really. I kept limping around, hobbling up stairs. And, forget about anything active. The gym went by the wayside, and I had to turn down summer hikes and camping with friends.
My life began synonymous with my left ankle being in pain if I did anything other than sit still. I started doing a lot more sitting still. And, yes, I did eventually go to the doctor – who agreed that I was definitely in pain, but did not have much else to offer me.
I am very, very blessed with good physical health, and I’ve never had to endure any kind of pain for more than a week or two. And, honestly, this is a silly joke compared to the chronic pain many people – my friends! – endure every day of their lives. They, too, get a reminder with every step.
On Monday, in the midst of filling bathtubs and buckets during Hurricane Sandy, I realized my ankle hadn’t bothered me all day. Maybe it’s the anxiety, I surmised. But, I couldn’t help but smile about taking the stairs at my normal speed as I ferried my buckets around the house.
It felt fine on Tuesday, too. Yesterday I wore a pair of boots to work I haven’t worn in months. I smiled down at them all day.
Now, on day four of being pain free, I think it’s safe to say my ankle is all better. I kind of want to go on a celebratory jog. More than that, it means this is my first pain-free week in months. I didn’t realize the psychological effect of that. I’ve been hearing for weeks that I don’t seem like “my normal energetic self.”
I don’t know how people with chronic pain ever wear a smile, let alone act like their energetic selves, normal or not. I just had a bit of low grade ankle pain and I became a miserable shut-in.
I think I may do a lot of skipping today.