My Fractured Ankle

January 23, 2010. I can’t believe that it has been more than a year since that unforgettable day. It was the day when I twisted my ankle and had a fracture for more than half a year (actually, it was already August when I fully recovered). I can still remember everything, and by that I mean every detail.
Warning: Long post ahead.

It was morning. I wasn’t supposed to go to school that day since we didn’t have any classes. But it occurred to me that I needed to talk to Sir Malinao, a former Journalism professor, regarding our thesis asap.  So I texted Kuya Jeff, our college’s staff, for Sir Malinao’s schedule that day. He replied and told me that I can still talk to Sir Malinao if I hurry up.  I decided to go out because this might be my only chance of meeting him because he is quite a busy man. Besides, I would still be going out in the afternoon, since I had to watch a movie for my Media Criticism class because I had to submit a movie critique on Friday. (We were instructed to watch a movie on Wednesday because that is always the movie’s first showing day so that our critique would not be affected by movie reviews and word of mouth). 

I also had to pay and pick up the blazer I reserved in the mall yesterday. See, we had a simulated job interview the next day and we needed to be in corporate attire and I had to buy one because it was required. The simulation also required a resume and cover letter which I plan to make that day.  

So here’s a summary of events.

That fateful day
  • Was on my way to school, noticed that my flat shoes were falling apart.
  • Dropped by the nearest ukay ukay (a store for second hand goods) to buy a new pair, bought a pair of kitten heels since there were no flats.
  • Went to Gusaling Atienza and was able to talk Sir Malinao, but he didn’t have the information I needed.
  • Decided to go the library to write my resume and cover letter.
  • Decided to go back to Gusaling Atienza, saw a classmate and chatted for a while.
  • My classmate’s girlfriend arrived and they asked me to watch a movie with them but I refused because I wanted to get the reserved blazer first.
  • Before they left, I remembered that I didn’t have enough money to see a movie, because I used it for buying new shoes so I asked one of his girlfriend’s classmates to owe some. (What a shame!)
  • My classmate and his girlfriend finally left.
  • Went to Harrison Plaza and pay for the reserved blazer.
  • Saw three people who had canes because they couldn’t walk properly (I didn’t really knew that it was a premonition).
  • Afterwards, went to SM Manila to finally watch a movie.
  • Rode a jeepney and alighted at Manila City Hall, that’s when my ankle twisted, nobody helped me, they just stared. Can’t blame them because the vehicles were already moving, it would be difficult if some of them would help me.
  • My right foot was swollen; it hurt so much, couldn’t walk properly, and thought the pain would go away after a while. Couldn’t afford to be absent the next day because of the simulated job interview not to mention that another absent on my Desktop Publishing class would mean that I will be dropped by my professor who is also the Dean. We had a rule in our college that four absences mean being dropped officially. If I will be absent the next day, that would be my fourth one. (I wasn’t really absent on the first three ones, I was late and being late is equivalent to being absent, so there). That’s why I decided to still stick up with my plan and go to the Mall.
  • On my way to the Mall, people kept looking on the way I walked. Didn’t really care because I need to watch a movie.
  • Had to go to fifth floor because that’s where the movie house was located.
  • Saw a schoolmate who would also watch a movie and told her what happened, she asked if I was ok, I said yes because I can still manage myself. Then she went ahead with her boyfriend. I wasn’t really that ok but I thought I will be later on.
  • The movie that I chose would start in two hours but nonetheless I already bought a ticket.
  • While waiting, I decided to type my resume and cover letter on the ground floor because that’s where the nearest computer shop is. Had to walk yes.
  • It’s quite expensive, no other choice but to go outside.
  • Had to walk again and had to cross the street at the same time.
  • While I was typing, I thought the pain already went away. Naj, my thesis mate was online and I told her about what happened and there might be a chance that I would be absent tomorrow. Of course she was worried about me and our group’s plan of having an overnight for our thesis on the weekend. I couldn’t afford not to attend it because I was the head writer and researcher. But I told her I will see what would happen first.
  • After typing for almost two hours, I was on my way to the movies, but to my surprise the pain doubled, couldn’t really walk, I was already dragging my foot.
  • Was crying already, couldn’t make it the movies anymore.
  • Forced myself to walk and cross the street.
  • After crossing the street, I was approached by a kuliglig (it’s like a tricycle with a body of a sidecar) driver along with his son, they saw my condition and the driver offered to drive me home, but I just told him to drop me by the FX terminal because my place is quite far.
  • Finally reached the terminal. The kuliglig driver refused to be paid and they left. God bless him and his son.
  • Was still crying, had to find an FX immediately and there was a weird moment because one FX driver asked me, “Where are you going?” He thought I was a foreigner.
  • Found an FX (with the same driver who thought I was a foreigner) and realized I had to be seated beside the driver so that I can avoid people from bumping my foot.
  • Asked the driver if I can pay him 50 php for the price of two people because I was scared that I couldn’t close my legs when I sit because it was really painful and I didn’t have enough money.
  • He refused because according to him, he will be underpaid because the actual price is really 35 php each, which means two people is equivalent to 70 php.
  • Got sad and irritated with his behavior because he was still thinking of money even though he saw my situation, couldn’t really blame him but he could have said it on a nice way but I let it slide because I want to go home.
  • Fortunately, I was still able to close my legs when the other passenger came.
  • Going home lasted for an hour.
  • Alighted from the FX. Still dragging my foot until a man saw me and offered to help me find a tricycle. God bless these good Samaritans.
  • Finally got home, still crying and told my family all of the above.

The following weeks after it
Needless to say, I was absent the next day and my absences lasted for a week. The x-ray showed that there was a suspicious fracture on the medial maleolous (a bone on the ankle). So I wasn’t really sure if it was broken or not.

As for our overnight, we decided to just do it on our home. I asked them what happened to the simulated job interview, the movie review and most of all, my status in my Desktop Publishing class. They told me that only half of the class was able to be interviewed because they ran out of time and I can still submit my movie review and I wouldn’t be dropped as long as I present a medical certificate which I had. Now, that’s a relief.
While I was absent, I’ve been thinking of what could have beens.

If only I didn’t need to talk to Sir Malinao.
If only my shoes didn’t fall apart.
If only I said yes when my classmate and his girlfriend asked me to go with them.
If only I opted to watch a movie at the Mall near our place after buying the blazer.
If only…none of this will happen.

At that time, I was also pretty pre-occupied by a lot of things. Three months from now, it would be graduation and it means that we would be faced by a lot of tasks, projects and deadlines to beat simultaneously. I also didn’t want to be a burden to my thesis mates. 

As I thought, I can’t function the same anymore. I can’t walk properly, can’t run, can’t dance and can’t jump. I was traumatized. I felt that I would lose my foot and every time I was surrounded with people, I thought that they would step, kick and do whatever with my fractured foot. Yes, I was self-deluded!

On my first day of school, after the accident, the whole class knew about it. I came to school on slippers and with a bandage on my right foot. Yes, I had an excuse to come to school on slippers. Somehow, it also served as a blessing in disguise because I still didn’t have new black flats that time. I am too traumatized to use the ones with kitten heels (I’m still scared to wear anything with heels up to this day).

Naj told me that she had a surprise to me. Later on, I found out that she would take me to the College of Physical Therapy (CPT) where her sister was an intern. She told her sister about my situation and they have a program of some sort of offering a free therapy if you’re a PLM student.

First, they asked what happened and looked for my x-ray result but I didn’t have it. They just told me to bring it next time but they still able to take care of my situation by filing my records and giving me a hot compress and some mild exercises.
Can't barely walk without them
They also offered to lend me crutches. But I refused because I knew I would have a difficulty using them. See, most of our classes were held at the fifth floor and at that time, the elevator is out of service (until now). Besides our thesis required a lot of travelling because we had to interview comic artists and publishing companies, not to mention we’re only commuting. But I still gave them the benefit of the doubt. So they adjusted the crutches for me and taught me how to use it especially when going upstairs and downstairs but I can’t really do it. I always lost my balance and seeing me in crutches was, according to Naj, seeing a crippled in a race because I’m really used to walking fast.  So my instinct was right, crutches weren’t my thing even though using them means faster recovery. So they lent me a cane instead. I’m much more comfortable with it and later on I fondly call this cane, “Jane”, maybe because that name rhymes with it. But using Jane means slower recovery.

People, aside from my classmates, who saw me after the accident was shocked. Wherever I go, people were staring. There was also a time when I was on my way home when a young boy was shouting “Pilay! Pilay!” (Crippled! Crippled!) and he was following me while I was walking. I didn’t really mind but then it occurred to me, what about other people with the same and even worse condition. How are they able to take sharp criticisms and discrimination? 
It took a while before Mom and I went to Orthopedic Center of the Philippines; there I finally confirmed that I really had a fracture. They advised me to use crutches big time, I just nodded but at the back of my head, I know I will keep on using Jane. They also gave me some medicines as pain relievers. When I was there, I was exposed to a lot of fractures: hands, arms, legs, hips, backs, necks, finger, you name it and I’m still lucky. What happened to me was nothing compared to a lot of the patients there who were really suffering so much. From that moment on, whenever I see people with cane, crutches, cast and the like, I can definitely relate to what they are going through.

I am glad that I was still able to pass my requirements despite my condition. It’s some sort of a personal achievement for me. Graduation came and I still had Jane around. But I left it on my seat when I went up the stage. At that time, I can walk normally again but not for a long time. It was around June when I finally recovered. 

As of now, I can walk normally again, though sometimes my foot still hurts especially during cold weather.

Life Lessons
That traumatic experience had thought me a lot of things:
  • Family and true friends are always there in times of need
  • Not everyone is willing to help you and understand your situation
  • Be careful in anything you do regardless of whatever, wherever and whenever and that includes alighting vehicles
  • Everything happens for a reason
  • It’s hard having a broken bone regardless of how small it is so let’s take a good care of our Skeletal System and our bodies as a whole.
So that's all of it guys.

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