Upright and Then I Fell

It Happened the Day I Won

I was upright and then I fell; It happened the day I won. I’m getting ahead of myself so let me go back. My last blog shared with you was about my surprise and delight when I won a contest. I never win anything, so it was a big deal for me to get the email.

I didn’t even mind going to PT that morning. I’m working on strengthening the muscles on the left of my lower body to relieve low back pain and stability. That was my third visit, I think. It was not enough apparently! Read on.

Later the same day

Later the same day, I drove to the post office in our small town and because it was raining decided to drive the block to a new community store to see what it was all about. Walking to the car with my purchases, I decided to put the bag in the car and jot across the street to check out the unique Christmas things the little drug store had gotten this year.

As I stepped back to close the car door, my left foot went off the wide and high (18-24″) “step” (curb) and my body followed. Yes, I was upright and then I fell. Being on the weak side, the ankle gave out, the knee twisted and well, I was lying in a puddle of water on my left side and in excruciating pain. It was one of those times when you hope no one saw your not so graceful descent to the concrete. At the same time, I wanted someone to come along and make me vertical again. Helping me to the driver seat of my vehicle like it was a daily occurrence would have been nice, also. However, I don’t think anyone saw me fall since no one came to assist me. Not unusual since it is a small town and not that many people are on the sidewalks. Small as no stop lights small. One grocery store and no franchised fast food quaint and one of the things I like about town.

Pain can be a motivator

Pain can be a very strong motivator. I got myself into a seated position, trying to appear if anyone did notice me, that I had planned to sit in the puddle on the sidewalk for a while in the rain. With much determination, I somehow got into the driver’s seat and drove home. Hubs helped me hobble into the house and into a chair where I removed my left shoe and we both watched the foot swell and discolor. We agreed ER could wait until morning, ice went on the foot and sufficient Ibuprofen was swallowed with hopes it would kick in soon.

ER was an experience

ER was an experience as it always is, but I’m usually the one escorting someone else. I was in pain and a bit testy. No, I was on the verge of being the squeaky wheel, if you get what I mean. Nice ER set up and nice folk, but why did I have to give my name and birth date over and over when the paper printed bracelet on my arm had all that info. One would have thought they were making sure I didn’t have a brain injury!

Painful positioning for x-rays over and the doctor comes in, takes my foot in his hand and squeezed to find out if that hurt. I have never come so close to hitting someone with my fist as I did at that moment. The doctor is lucky my husband was shaking his head and mouthing NO as he saw what was about to happen. With all the willpower I had, I released my fist and kindly said “yes, that hurt, and please don’t touch my foot again”. He asked if I wanted a pain pill, and I said I did and to myself asked why he didn’t give me one 2 hours ago when I arrived. Anyway, he said nothing looked broken although one bone may have a piece broken off, but he wasn’t sure! Would I like crutches? No, I am dangerous on crutches, and I have a new pair at home from the last time I fell. Besides, this time I sprained both wrists so there was no way I could use crutches or a cane. I didn’t tell him about my wrists for fear he would squeeze them to see if it hurt!

Time marched on but i wasn’t marching

Time marched on but I wasn’t marching. That was almost 2 weeks ago. I came home from the hospital and have been sitting in the same recliner since. I gasp, cry, and walk with tremendous pain still just to go potty and back to the chair. Thank goodness for my family who have worked out how to handle Mom being out of commission. I am not a good patient. I have not been this non-mobile since ever! But fear of being upright and then falling again keeps me in my seat.

On Jan. 2 I see a podiatrist. I hope by then I can skip into the building and exam room like an 8-year-old. I will pretend to walk while gritting my teeth to not cry out and my arms to keep my balance will be flapping like a bird trying to learn to fly. Some days being 69 can really suck! I do not recommend that when you are upright, you unexpectantly fall.

UPDATE 2023 – I am upright and haven’t fallen

It is now 2023 and I am upright and haven’t fallen while trying to decide if this blog has value. That means I must decide what is value. I think it does if laughter has value, and we know that is true. Does it pertain to Sewing with Stitcher or StitcherMade? No, but it does give you an insight into why it is perfectly fine to change doctors.

First Visit to the Foot Doctor – At Least I Remained Upright and Didn’t Fall

I saw the foot doctor for the first time on January 2, 2019, pleased at least I remained upright and didn’t fall. My impression of her did not register on the “like” scale. She was condescending. She made her diagnosis based on the ER findings and was not even going to touch my foot until I suggested it. I was told to take physical therapy. The length of time was until the therapist thought I was “cured”.

The therapist was nice and encouraging, but after a month we agreed I was not making much progress and the pain was still significant. A report was sent to the “doctor”, and I scheduled a follow-up visit. She refused to answer my questions on what the next step would be since PT was not helping and was very painful. In a very mocking demeanor, she asked if I wanted another x-ray that wasn’t going to show her anything she didn’t already know and sent me back to PT. I would have a follow-up visit if she thought it was necessary.

Time to Take Charge of My Care

Before I left the medical office, I knew it was time to take charge of my care. I had already made up my mind I needed a competent doctor. On my way out of the office, I asked the receptionist to schedule me with a different doctor because I would not see “Miss Congeniality” again. The receptionist, trying hard to not giggle, took charge and scheduled me with Dr. Heath. Due to his popularity, my appointment was a few weeks off. In the meantime, back to PT.

Dr. Heath

As soon as I was introduced to Dr. Heath, I knew why he was so booked into the future. Apologizing before even touching my foot for the pain I would feel, he explained what he believed was going on in the ankle and foot. He told me I needed to stop PT because I could go for the next ten years and PT could not fix my ankle and foot. I was immediately scheduled for surgery on May 31, 2019, his first opening more than a month off. More x-rays and a couple other tests verified everything Dr. Heath said. I had torn and stretched the tendons and ligaments from my big toe to the ankle bone, hairline fracture on the ankle bone, and chipped the bone at the ankle. Surgery to fold the ligaments/tendons to the length they should be and attach them to each other, remove the bone chip just hanging out in the ankle would be the answer to no pain. By then, the hairline fracture had healed.

Four Years Later

Long story short, four years later and I am doing well. I also have not been near the section of sidewalk and curb where the fall occurred. Occasionally, I do have ankle pain and my foot hurts, but I must admit I do not wear shoes unless I am going out. I have always been a barefoot kind of girl and wearing high-top shoes all year all the time just isn’t my cup of tea. I do still wear one of the smaller braces when I am in enough pain. Plus, I think much of the pain is arthritis and the wayward walk my foot does is when I have been on my feet too long without the brace.


Gratitude for Dr. Heath’s excellent skills and the inventor of the knee scooter that let me be mobile. I would have loved a much more feminine classy boot since I lived it that silly thing for weeks. But the structure was what I needed, so I can be grateful for that. My family stepped up to the plate when I needed them to be more helpful than usual. This included my youngest son and family coming with a surprise Christmas eve dinner of all the makings for a sandwich, a variety of meats and cheeses and a huge salad. Even a dessert came through the door with them. I never left the recliner and my sweet grandgirl of six years old balanced herself and plate on my lap. What a happy memory and sandwiches have never tasted better! However, being upright and then falling isn’t worth getting out of cooking a holiday meal.

Thank you for reading this far. I hope I have convinced you to accept it is fine to get a second opinion or ask for another physician if you don’t like the one you are seeing. If a doctor is offended by a patient getting a second opinion, my take is that is a good enough reason to change. If a doctor is on the right track for your care, I believe he would appreciate a second opinion to reaffirm his diagnosis and have the patient be reassured. You know your body and when something isn’t right or painful. Doctors work for us. Would you keep an employee who would not listen to you? Advocate for yourself, your children, and an older parent. Don’t trust the doctor until he has earned your trust and respect.

Here is to a happy, healthy life with medical professionals you choose!

More about why I write: /writing-to-be-read-insights-for-starting-a-website-blog/