The day before Christmas is always and exciting time for family’s and kids. This year is no exception for Mel and her daughter. They have been through a rough year but always manage to stay positive. After being laid off a few months ago due to the financial crisis, Mel had managed to secure some part time work to rally up some money for Christmas. Being a single mother with a 4 yr old daughter is challenging, but rewarding as well.
This year she has had to wait until the day before Christmas to purchase the presents for her daughter. She checks her bank balance in the morning to make sure her last pay check had cleared over night. She budgets her bank balance in her head and works out that she should be able to get everything she planned to.
The morning starts early with a coffee before her and her daughter get ready for the day. She will be dropping her daughter off at a friends place for some play time while she goes out shopping for a few hours.
Mel gets dressed wearing some sporty casual attire, shorts and top and her runners and some long thick socks. Mel is 29 this year and although a single mom she tries her best to keep fit. After putting on a few pounds from the pregnancy years ago she is now back at a happy place with her body.
As her daughter gets dressed mel heads into the lounge to tidy up a bit, when she walks in she notices that the star on top of the Christmas tree has fallen over and is resting sideways. She tries to reach up to the top of the tree but is unable to reach the star, so she grabs a chair from the dinning table and positions it next to the tree. She reaches forward and manages to repositions the star. As she shifts her weight backwards the chair rocks sideways.
“Oh shit” she exclaims as she looses her balance falling sideways. She lunges with her left foot to try catch herself, but as her toes touch the ground, the momentum of her falling side ways sends her ankle rocking outwards violently as she tumbles to the ground. “Oh god, oh god, my ankle damn it.”
She cusses as she sits her self up, holding her left leg just above the ankle with her hand. She squirms on the floor for a few moments as she composes herself. She takes a few minutes as the pain settles. She lifts her left leg up a bit and moves her ankle gingerly, moaning in pain. “Oh damn this, I don’t need this today.” She had rolled both her ankles on previous occasions, usually very minor and nothing that would slow her down. He gets her self up and slowly puts her left foot down as she transfers some weight to it. Pain shoots from the ankle but its manageable, she limps a few steps and her ankle frees up a little. She tries to ignore it and go on with her morning, putting the chair away and then reading her daughter and the car.
She gets her things and continues to limp around her ankle feeling a little better now that its moving. So they head off in the car. Mel drops her daughter off at her friends place for some playtime and then heads straight for the shopping center. She works her way through her list of presents to get her daughter ranging from some small nick nacks and toys as well as her first bike. As she scurries through the shopping center her limp worsens and eventually she has to take a seat to let the pain settle. She can feel that her shoe is feeling a little tight but cant see the ankle due to the long thick sock she is wearing. She decides to grab some lunch quickly before continuing her shopping. After lunch she does a trip to the car to drop off some bags as she places them into the trunk of her car she closes the trunk and turns around. Just as she is about to step forward some lunatic rounds the corner in their car and races down the car park. Mel hears the tires screech and looks up to see the car coming, she quickly goes to step back towards her car with her left foot. She lands directly in a crack in the concrete. As she shifts her weight back quickly trying to get out of the road of the car coming her ankle gives way. Her ankle buckles outwards sharply twisting her ankle at almost 90 degrees. A “pop” echoes from her ankle as she stumbles to grab the back of her car to prevent herself from collapsing to the concrete. “oh god, not again” she exclaims as she hops on her right foot and reaches for her left leg with her hand. She slumps over the trunk of her car with her left foot gently resting on the ground as the pain starts to radiate further up her leg. “damn ankle I really don’t need this.” She tests her ankle out gently trying to move it, “arrgghh” she moans as the pain extends from her outer ankle down her foot and up to her calves. She turns herself around and positions her left foot flat on the ground and while using the trunk of her car for support she transfers some weight to her ankle. “arrggh,” she moans as she manages a few short steps with a heavy limp.
She motivates herself and continues in towards the shopping center again. Every step becomes more painful than the last, as her heavy limp turns into a very heavy limp. The crowds in the shopping center don’t help as people rush around like worker bees, occasionally she gets bumped causing her to get off balance as she limps around. “only two more things to get”, she keeps telling her self. As she limps her way into the first store. She finds what she wants and then cues up at the register. Pretty good with pain she tries her best to rest it while she waits keeping the pressure off it. She looks down at her left ankle briefly and can see that there is some definite signs of swelling on the outer ankle causing the sock to bulge outwards. She shuffles forward slowly until she reaches the register and pays for the item. Only the bike to get now, so she limps her way back into the hoards of people doing their last minute shopping. As she makes her way to the next store, to purchase the bike, a frantic shopper rushing through the crowd rudely bumps her. As she is mid step she puts all her weight on her left foot which sends jolts of pain radiating from her ankle. “”arrrggh, damn it.” In two minds whether to cuss at the frantic shopper that bumped her. She sees a seat nearby and makes her way painfully to the chair and then takes a seat. Mel reaches down to her ankle and holds it with her hand. She feels a huge lump on the outer part of her ankle under the sock. She takes a moment contemplating her next move. She ponders the thought of maybe having to make a visit to the ER but with out insurance it would be costly and she wouldn’t be able to get the bike for her daughter. She ponders her thoughts for a moment as she checks her bank balance on her phone. Going to the ER isn’t an option so she looks around and can see a pharmacy about 3 shops down from where she is seated. So she gets her self standing and starts the slow journey to the shop. As she looks down the aisles a shop assistant sees her and moves towards her to offer some help.
“Hi maam, can I be of assistance.”
“Hi, yes actually I have twisted my ankle really bad and am wondering would I could get to help without having to go to the ER?”
“Ok then right this way.” The assistant guides her to another shelf around the corner. He sees how badly she is limping barely moving faster than a snail.
“That looks like a bad sprain, you are really stuggling.” He comments.
“Yes its quite painful at the moment”, mel replies.
“Ok maam, well here is the bandages and braces and crutches. Stay here and ill get you some anti-inflammatory for the pain and swelling.”
“Ok thanks,” mel replies.
She looks at the shelf and there are various types of braces available some small some large. She picks up a bandage first, just a standard elastic 3” bandage and checks the price tag. Then the assistant returns.
“here you go maam, two of these at a time 4 times a day will help with the swelling and pain.”
“Is there anything else I can help with?
“yes actually, would this bandage be ok for a sprained ankle?”
The assistant looks at the bandage in her hand, “yes that will be fine.” Then he reaches to the shelf and picks up a small box with a Tube bandage in it. “This is good also while the initial swelling is still large as it covers the whole lower leg, ankle and foot.”
“Ok great, thanks for your help.”
And the assistant walks away. She ponders her thoughts for the moment, as she tallies the prices in her head. Trying to decide what she can afford and still get the bike for her daughter. After doing some sums, she can only afford to get the pain pills, and the two bandages or either the crutches or a brace. She cant get them all. She decides that she wont get the crutches as she is managing to walk still, albeit very slowly. And the brace would be good but just too expensive at the moment. So she settles for the elastic bandage, the tube bandage and the pain killers. After paying for the bandage she takes a seat outside the shop and removes the bandage from the wrapper. Her thoughts were to bandage her ankle if she can. She reaches down to her left foot and looks at her ankle. Now very visibly swollen on the outer ankle a large lump protruding outwards from the shoe. She decides that removing the shoe might not be a good idea until she gets home incase she cant get the shoe back on. So instead she takes a couple pain killers and then makes her way to the bike shop, slowly limping the whole way.
She finds the bike she was looking for and purchases it along with some training wheels as well that she will have to fit later tonight. The assistant in the shop helps her load the bike into a trolley so she can wheel it out to her car.
After loading the bike in her trunk and returning the trolley she finally sits down in her car. Resting her left ankle as she manages to drive with just her right foot, seen as though her car is an automatic.
She heads off to pick up her daughter and they arrive at home about 1 hr later. She gets her daughter inside and leaves to presents in the trunk to keep them hidden until her daughter goes to sleep. After getting home she is really struggling to walk now, her ankle stiffening up on the drive home. She takes a seat and fetches an ice pack to put on her ankle. After elevating her ankle for 30 minutes the swelling has stayed roughly the same. She ponders removing her shoe but decides to leave it on until after dinner then she can put it up while she wraps the presents. She gets to preparing dinner for her and her daughter, and then finally tucks her into bed at around 730pm.
She tidy’s up the house and then checks to make sure her daughter is asleep.
She slowly limps her way to the car to fetch the bags having to make a few trips. On the second trip out she feels her ankle start to get weak. She stops taking the weight of her foot for a few moments, and gently tries to move it around a little. The range of motion limited by her shoe and the swelling. She continues on a few more steps. On her return journey into the house a few steps from the table, her ankle starts to feel weak again. “ahh, damn it. Just hold on for a few more mintues.”
She places the bags down rests her ankle for a minute and then starts her limp to the car again. Only capable of two steps before she has to stop again, her ankle feeling very weak every step she takes. Another two steps and she rests again. “come on mel, you can do this.” She takes another two steps, her ankle starts to wobble under the weight. “Arggh, damn it, my ankle is going to give out any minute.” She stands there holding her left foot just off the ground. She takes a few hops to try and stay off her ankle and slowly makes her way to the trunk of her car. She removes the bike and then closes the trunk. She isn’t going to be able to hop with the bike in her hand. So she gently lowers her left foot and takes a step. Her ankle weakens and wobbles instantly struggling to take any weight. Thinking to herself only a couple more meters to go. Cautiously she makes her way inside, she puts the bike near the table and then takes a moment to rest.
She has to descend into her basement to get a spanner to attach the training wheels so she decides she will get it now and then can put her foot up. She opens the basement door and flicks the light switch. The bulb lights up and then goes black. “really light, you had to blow now.” She holds the hand rail and starts to decend the stairs. She knows there is a torch on the bench near the stairs and once she gets there she will use that. Every step she decends her ankle gets weaker by the second. Two steps from the bottom and she transfer some weight to her left ankle as she steps down. She feels her ankle start to collapse inwards instinctively trying to balance, she shifts her weight and then her ankle gives out. She grabs the hand rail tight as her ankle extends outwards and over. The ankle bone just brushes the step as her ankle bends at 90 Degrees. An extremely loud POP through the basement. “arrggh shit” In one motion as she stops her self falling forward she steps to the basement floor with her right foot, holding the rail tight and then retracts her left foot up by her right leg. She stands there holding the rail with her right hand and reaching for her left knee with her left hand as the pain shoots from her ankle.
“aahh, shit, shit, its done, my ankle is done.” She composes her self for a few minutes, slumping her head down as she gently rests her foot on the ground. “I knew this was going to happen.” She tests a little weight on the ankle and immediately pulls away. “arrgghh, yup its completely gone now. I cant put any weight on it.”
She takes a small hop and grabs the torch, pressing the button to turn it on. She scans the basement for her small tool box and sees it just a few steps away. She takes a couple hops and reaches the box, then grabs the spanner she needs. Mel turns and starts towards the stairs slowly hopping using anything she can grab for support. As she starts the journey up the stairs her ankle starts to radiate immense pain. She reaches the kitchen and places the spanner and torch down and heads straight to the freezer. She fixes an ice pack and then hops to a chair at the table. She slumps her head into her hands for a moment as she composes herself. “damn it, off all the days to hurt my ankle, why today.” Keeping strong willed she blocks out the pain and takes a few more pain killers. She decides she needs to get that shoe of and ice on her ankle. Leaving her foot flat on the floor she reaches down and loosens the shoe laces as much as possible. One hand she grabs her leg the other the shoe and she starts to work it off. “Arrggh, damn that’s on tight.” And the shoe slowly releases from her foot. She places the shoe down and then with both hands grabs the top of the sock and starts to work it down slowly. Every slight movement sends bolts of pain. The forcefully pulls the sock past her ankle and heel as she rocks her head back in pain. “arrgghh god damn it must be swollen.” As the sock slides off her ankle and eventually her foot the extent of the swelling is shown. “Ah shit look at the lump.” She gazes down at her ankle, the inner side is swollen and bulging out a little, but the outer side is huge. There is softball sized lump on her outer ankle that protrudes outwards and extends up her leg as well. She extends her leg and rests it down on another chair and then places the ice pack on her ankle. trying to take her mind off it she starts to wrap the presents. After about 45 minutes she is done with the presents. She removes the ice pack from her ankle and finds that the swelling has grown a bit. She searches the bags for the bandage she bought and removes it from the wrapper. She slowly lifts her foot up and wraps the bandage around her ankle tightly and so that it covers the whole foot and heel and 6 inches above her ankle. She lowers her foot down and immediately it starts to ache more as she pulls her self up into a standing position. Hopping on one foot she slowly moves the presents under the tree, and then using anything she can grab for support she slowly moves the bike over as well. As she makes it back to the table her ankle is really starting to become unbearable from having it down so she decides she will leave the training wheels for tomorrow.
She retreats to her room and is exhausted from the long day. She slumps into bed resting her ankle up on a pillow to make it more comfortable. The pain killers start to kick in and she is able to drift off to sleep.
At 3 am she is awoken but intense pain radiating from her ankle. She removes the sheets from her and switches the lamp on. “oh god my ankle, its killing me.” She reaches for the pain killers and takes another 2 before laying back down. The pain continues to radiate from her ankle all the way up her leg. She sits back up again and looks at her ankle. She notices that her toes are looking very swollen. She starts to unwrap the bandage layer by layer exposing deep ridges in the skin. As the final layer is removed mel is shocked at how much it has swelled. What was a large lump has now turned into an elephant foot. She brings her right foot over for a comparison, and what is usually her boney slim ankle and foot is now a big balloon. Her foot is twice the size, her toes are puffy and swollen. Her whole ankle and lower leg just above the ankle is engulfed in swelling. Unable to even see any part of her ankle. She decides to get some ice and slowly lowers her foot down to the ground. She starts the slow hop to the kitchen to fetch an ice pack and then retreats to the room. She lays down and props her ankle up and then puts the ice on it again. The pain killers start to work and the nice helps to numb the pain a little she tries to get back to sleep but finds herself staring at the ceiling for the next hour. Finally she decides to get up and get a few things organized. She showers and changes and then hops to the kitchen to fetch a coffee. She takes a seat and decides to try the tube bandage on her ankle. She removes it from the box and then rolls it up to make it easier to slide on. She gently slides it on the end of her foot and then slowly unrolls it over her ankle and lower leg. She sits there sipping her coffee with her foot elevated on a chair. After 15 minutes she remembers she has to put the training wheels on the bike. So she grabs the wheels and her spanner and then slowly makes her way to the Christmas tree. She grabs a pillow from the sofa and rests her foot on it while she attaches the wheels.
Still a bit of time before her daughter awakens, she gets another ice pack and takes a seat on the sofa with her foot elevated. All the hopping has started to make the ankle ache quite badly. She rests for a while watching the morning info commercials on TV. She nods off for a while and is awoken by her daughter.
“Mummy mummy, santa has been here.”
Seeing her daughter smile takes her mind of her ankle as she awakens rubbing her eyes.
“look I got a bike mummy” she jumps around in excitement.
‘Can I open my presents mummy?”
“yes honey you can” Mel forgets about her ankle for a minute and goes to move it to fast, “Arrrrgghh crap.”
Her daughter looks at her, “what happened to your foot mummy?’
“It’s just hurt a little nothing to worry about, you just go and open your presents.”
And she scurries to the tree to grab her presents.
Mel positions her self on the floor near the tree as her daughter opens up all her presents. Even one she opens is better than the last. Finally she has opened them all and she turn hers attention to the bike again.
“Mummy, can we go for a ride in the park, please please.”
There is a park directly over the road, but Mel is concerned how she is going to be able to get there.
“Ok after you have breakfast we can go for a ride.”
Mel gets herself up hoping around slowly keeping the weight of her ankle, as she prepares some breakfast for her daughter. After she finishes eating she gets dressed and comes out with her bike helmet on.
“Ok mom I’m ready.”
Mel smiles, “ok honey you go and get your bike. Mel makes her way into her room to get changed and then grabs some slip on sandals that will fit on her swollen ankle and foot. Before exiting her room, she wants to try some weight on her ankle. She slowly lowers her foot to the floor and while holding the door she tries to put some weight on it. The pain radiates as she manages a very small step, limping extremely heavy.
“Ok I can do this.”
She hops out to the kitchen and then out the front door with her daughter riding her bike. As she reaches the front fence she starts to limp. Every step is tiny, every step sends pain radiating. Her face grimaces as she transfers the weight to her left foot. It takes a while but she makes it across the road to the park. Her daughter starts to ride around on the grass as she makes her way to a small park bench. Across the other side is another man with his daughter and she is also ridding around on her bike. He saw her limp over to the park and then watches as she takes a seat. Her ankle is absolutely throbbing now from putting weight on it. Having the foot down isn’t helping the situation either as the blood pulsates through her ankle.
After about 25 minutes she sees the man and his daughter walking towards her.
The two young girls stop and start to talk like they were friends already, then they start ridding around together. The man approaches the bench where Mel is sitting. “Hi, im Andrew. Merry Christmas.”
“Hi Andrew I’m Mel an merry Christmas to you to.”
They make some general chit chat an turns out Andrew lives on the other side of the park. He is also divorced and only has his daughter for the morning and then she goes to her mums place. He starts to get curious about her ankle, “So what happened to the ankle?”
Mel goes on to tell the story, “well I fell of a chair yesterday morning while fixing the Christmas tree and then went over on it two more times.”
‘Ok sounds pretty bad, did you go get it checked out?”
Just as Mel was about to reply, she sees her daughter stack her bike.
She starts to stand up and then goes to take a step, but her ankle is to weak to take the weight. She feels it start to give out and pulls away immediately, lifting her left foot up slightly. “Arrgghh damn it, my ankle is to weak.” Andrew quickly stands up to help her, “here please sit down ill go check and make sure she is alright.”
“It’s ok I just need a second.”
Mel puts her foot back down and tries to put some weight on it. She takes a tiny step limping very heavily. She goes to try another and as she transfers the weight, her ankle goes completely unstable again. She pulls away again as Andrew maintains a stance next to her for support. “Arggh, crap. It’s going to give out on me again.”
Andrew insists one more time, “Please take a seat ill go and check. You can walk on that ankle.”
“Ok thanks so much.”
Mel takes a seat and then Andrew makes his way over to the girls. He helps her back up on her bike and then returns back to the bench.
“You really need some crutches, that ankle is very unstable. Looks like you may have torn a ligament.”
Mel thinks for a moment, “is that bad?”
“Yes it’s the worst possible sprain you can have. And explains your instability.”
Now clearly obvious that Andrew is quite knowledgeable on the matter.
“Would you mind if I have a look?”
“Um, ok. Are you a doctor?”
“No but I am a physiotherapist”
“Oh ok, cool so you probably deal with this a lot then.”
“ah yes, every few days there is an ankle injury that presents it self at the office.”
Mel slowly lifts her foot up onto Andrews knee. He starts by sliding her sandal off gently and then while Mel supports her leg he rolls the tube bandage down.
“Goodness that is very swollen.”
“Yes not my normal skinny ankle I’m used to, haha” they laugh together.
He starts to feel down her leg and around the top of her ankle pressing into the swelling at certain positions. He starts to press around the ankle and presses on the region where the ATFL is. “Arrghhh, that’s very painful” Mel exclaims. He feels around the area a bit more, as Mel scrunches her face from the pain. Then he presses on the CTFL area. “Arrggh, yup that’s really bad too.”
“I’m going to test your movement just tell me if its too painful.”
He starts to move her ankle a little, instantly Mel starts to pull away. “arrggh, That’s really painful.”
“Ok I wont try any more.”
Andrew helps her to put the tube bandage back on and then leaves her foot resting on his knee.
Andrew asks a few questions to help assess the injury, “Have you injured this ankle before? Was there a noise when it happened?”
“Had a few minor rolls in the past but nothing like this. And yes it popped twice.”
“Ok well I was right, you have torn a ligament, in fact I’m pretty certain you have torn 2 ligaments. Both the ATFL and CTFL and I’m surprised you can walk at all. Your pain tolerance must be quite high.”
“Ah ok, that sounds bad. What should I do for it?”
“well firstly you need to stay off it for a few days at minimum and then ease back into weight bearing. Lots of elevation and ice and then some exercises to rebuild strength.”
“Ok well my daughter goes to her fathers place tomorrow for a week so I will be able to stay off it for a few days.”
Andrew has an idea, “do you mind watching my daughter for one minute ill be right back.”
He heads off through the park and into the house on the other side of the street, a few minutes later he is walking back with crutches in his hand.
“Here you go, these will help” and he passes the crutches over to Mel.
“Thank you, ill pay you for them next week ok.”
“Don’t be silly it’s fine, I have plenty of them at the office anyways.”
“Ok thank you so much. I really appreciate it.”
Andrew helps to adjust the crutches for her and then helps her to stand up and shows her how to best use them. She is pretty confident after a few minutes crutching around.
The girls come riding over to Mel and Andrew as Mel tests her skills on the crutches.
“Mummy can my friend come over and play, please?”
“Sure honey if that’s ok with her dad.”
Mel looks to Andrew, “yes that’s fine with me. How about I go home and grab a few things and then we will come over.”
“Ok sounds good.”
They part ways and Mel slowly crutches home with her daughter and Andrew heads off in the other direction with his daughter. About 1 hour later Andrew and his daughter arrive and the girls go straight to the room to play. Mel fixes them a coffee and the two sit at the dinning room table. Andrew opens a bag that he bought over with some stuff to help Mel. He pulls out and aircast stirrup and also an aircast sports brace as well as some ice cold cream and another couple bandages.
“Andrew you didn’t have to do all this. I feel so guilty, I can’t pay you for any of it.”
“It’s fine Mel, you supply me coffee and ill help take care of your ankle.” the both have a little laugh, “sounds like a good deal.
Andrew guides Mel’s foot up onto his knee, and eh slowly and gently removes the tube bandage from her ankle. He grabs the ice gel cream and squirts are large dollop on top of her foot. He explains that massage can help to drain the fluid and the cream is basically and instant freeze cream which will help with the numbing the ankle a bit. He gently works the cream around her whole ankle and foot, gently massaging it in with his fingers and then gradually apply a little more pressure to try break down the swelling. Mel cant help but feel very relaxed and thankful for his help. It had been a long time since she had received a foot massage from anyone and never had anyone massage her sprained ankle. After about 40 minutes he grabs the bandages he brought over and uses one to bandage her ankle leaving her toes and heel exposed. Then he fits the aircast stirrup to her ankle. He tells her that the other brace will be better suited in a few weeks when most of the swelling has gone, and also tells her to massage the ankle every night before bed. The girls continue to play while the two chat some more, talking a bit about their relationship breakdowns etc. And Mel tells Andrew that she will never remarry but would like to maybe find someone to spend time with etc, and Andrew agrees totally and is in a similar frame of mind.
After a couple hours the Andrew and his daughter leave and he tells Mel that he will come and check on her tomorrow. That night Mel follows his instructions and massages her ankle before bed and then reapplies the bandage and brace. She lays in bed resting after taking some more pain killers and cant help but think that maybe her sprained ankle was her Christmas miracle and it has brought Andrew into her life.