Starting off 2011 on the right foot, a.k.a. an update on my broken leg

X-ray of my right leg

An x-ray of my right leg, two months after breaking it in a roller derby bout. You can see the rod going through the bigger bone, which still hasn't fully healed.

On October 16th, I broke my leg in a roller derby bout against Mass Maelstrom near my hometown in Massachusetts. I shattered (and I hate to use the word “shattered” because I’m a hypochondriac, imagining the worst of every injury) my fibula and broke my tibia, meaning there was nothing connecting my foot bone to the knee bone. After two surgeries and 39 staples, I’m bionic – I’ve got a plate on my ankle, a metal rod in my right leg, and a dozen screws holding it all together.

For the first month, I was relegated to a couch and wore a huge, awkward boot that left me largely immobile. I watched more crap movies (did you know that Netflix doesn’t offer subtitles/captions on most of their instant titles?) and crap TV than I care to recount.

At my doctor’s request, I stayed at my father’s house twenty miles outside of Boston. It was good because a) I got to see family and hometown friends; b) my recovery required lots of check-ins to make sure I was recovering well; and c) I couldn’t even get around with crutches or a walker, much less make meals or do basic chores. I did get to have my favorite sub, though, the Budster: chicken fingers, bacon, BBQ sauce, and cheese in a torpedo sandwich. YUM. However, I couldn’t sleep, and I was taking painkillers like they were breath mints. Worse, I missed Syracuse and my life there.

Get-well-soon card from ACRD

Get-well-soon card from Syracuse's Assault City Roller Derby team

Luckily, I found myself overwhelmed with love and support from wonderful people near and far. Every get-well-soon card made me smile, and every visit was appreciated more than I can express. My dearest thanks to Tony, Crazy D & Assault City Roller Derby, Jaime & Meryl, CNY Roller Derby, The Quadfathers, Mark & the Oz-stravaganza team, Denise & Tim, AJ, Molly, Jess, Liz K., Mollie, Alicia, my sisters Cathy & Liz, my brother Chris (and his Playstation!), my mother, my father, and Paula. Special thanks to Jason, who helped watch my cat while I was away. Much love to everyone who expressed their concerns and sympathies – every tweet, text, email, call, post and comment meant a lot.

Get-well-soon cards actually do help a person get well soon. I'll testify to that.

The biggest thank you goes to my girlfriend, the wonderful @MissBrittz, who knew how to take care of me through the worst parts, made the long drive from Syracuse several times to visit, and helped in all the little ways. She even designed a homemade card and sent it to my closest friends. Inside were address labels, stamps, and instructions for recipients to add sentiments, get other people to sign it, and send it to the next person on the list, eventually getting to me. Coolest thing anyone’s ever made for me.

Two of the new scars on my right leg - pictured left is my knee (where they put the metal rod in), and pictured right is my ankle (where they put a plate in).

Now, nine weeks after the second surgery, I’m walking (see: hobbling) without crutches. If I limp at the right pace, I look like I’m trying to walk with “swagger,” but I promise I’m working on overcoming the limp altogether. I still get swelling in my foot/ankle if I go an entire day without elevating my leg at all. Stairs are difficult, and my knee hurts if I step up with my right leg too many times. My five scars are starting to became less scary-looking (and more badass). There’ll come a point where I can show them to girls and they’ll find them sexy, right?

The doctor tells me I’ll still feel the effects of the surgery for up to a year, but I’m on the road to recovery. I’m back to work at and starting to feel normal again. I’ll probably have an interesting time going through airport security for the rest of my life, but at least the doc reassured me that the metal rod in my leg is not a superconductor for lightning storms…