Thursday, December 29, 2011

Breaking an Ankle--on Ice

Yesterday's post was about 3 turns and my difficulty with them. My difficulty arose because I had broken my ankle on a 3 turn, and during my skating restart I had developed a phobia over them. Now I'm going to share my story.

The Big Guy (6'3", 280 lbs, edges like an angel and lovely single jumps), my skating Guru, and I went to a different rink than our home rink so he could take a lesson with his coach. Although he skated at that rink weekly, I only went occasionally, and had no sense of the rink culture.

The rink allowed speed skaters on public.

Yes, that makes me sick to think about it to this day. I've been told most rinks don't allow speed skaters on public ice as they tear the ice up more than an 11 year old boy in hockey skates. This rink, anyway, allowed speed skaters on public ice, because they had a speed skater program, and it was 'public' ice. All comers in skates allowed.

I was working on my Waltz 8's in a nice polite manner. I would do a couple in one corner, move and do a couple more in another corner. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Waltz 8, it is a testable element in Pre-Bronze moves. You push off on an outside edge, 3 turn, turn forward (back outside mohawk), return to start on an outside edge and do it the other direction thus forming a figure 8.

The speed skater was doing short starts practice in one of the lutz corners where the ice was nice for the 8 pattern. He moved out of the corner, I moved in and started my 8.

I pushed off, did a FO3 to the left and my upper body rotated, but my foot was caught in a rut. I think that rut was left by the speed skater. There was a  sudden sensation of pain so sharp I thought I could hear something snap. I didn't even have a chance to put my free foot down, I just collapsed on the ice. I tried getting my feet under me, but that was not happening. The right foot was totally unresponsive. I was just an amoeba flopping around in the cold.

The Big Guy was 10 feet away in lesson. I called out to him and his coach. I have a really loud voice. I was 30 years in the military, I was trained for what is called 'command voice'. You can hear me down the parade ground yelling "At close intervals dress right. Dress!" in a high wind over the band. But this rink had I what I will call an 'aggressive public ice music policy.' The music was so loud that from ten feet away my friend and his coach couldn't hear my nuclear powered voice.

A teenage girl with a "Rink Guard" jacket stopped next to me. "Did you hit your head?" No. Everyone asked me this question.

She offered to try and help me up. That didn't go anywhere. Someone came to her side. More "Did you hit your head?" questions. Then the rink manager from his office in another part of the building (!) showed up in sneakers. He was skinny and not  much taller than I am. He offered to help me to my feet. It was hard to suppress an eye roll. He thought that he and the rink guard could lift me up. I'm not a little woman. I'm sort of Rubenesque. I'm not trusting myself to a teenage girl and a man in sneakers I could bench press.

I told him, "See that big guy over there," Ten frigging feet away! "In lesson with his coach? Get him."

At this point I've been lying on the ice for about 5 minutes. I'm surrounded by a rink guard, the rink manager, and two other helpful people keeping traffic away. My BEST FRIEND is ten feet away and has no idea what's going on. Stupid loud music. The rink guard whizzes over and taps him on the shoulder.

I will treasure this memory forever. The Big Guy turns, and is so shocked to see me on the ice, he jumped backwards in his skates, his face a mask of horror. He and his coach immediately skate over and kneel beside me. Before they can speak I say, "I didn't hit my head," just to get it out of the way.

The Big Guy and his coach get me to my feet. I'm able to skate on one foot and they propel me  over to the rink gate like leaky ship heading to dry dock for repairs.

Now that I'm off ice I have to get the boot off the injured foot. The Big Guy's coach takes over and manages to get it off. Once I'm bootless I take a stab at standing. I can stand, but I'm in a lot of pain. The rink hands me paperwork to sign. The coach goes and gets an office chair and I'm wheeled out to the Big Guy's car.

I'm in a lot of pain. We stop at a drug store for aspirin and he drives me home. There was no swelling, no discoloration, nothing but pain. When I get home I'm able to walk on it. In fact, I walked on it for 3 days.

Then someone at work convinced me to see a doctor. I got an appointment with my hockey playing podiatrist. It was a broken ankle, he said, nice clean break, easy healing.

I didn't skate for a year.

1 comment:

  1. OH man! I'm glad you finally got back out on the ice. It's obvious you love to skate. I'd love to hear more about your healing process.

    I am currently recovering from a broken ankle. I started skating about a year ago, developed serious AOSS, then broke my ankle at the beginning of September. The bone regrowth was taking long enough that my doctor diagnosed it as a non-union (read: not healing).

    Just yesterday I found out that my ankle is now healing properly and I got cleared to walk without a splint! Best Christmas gift ever! It feels like there is finally light at the end of the tunnel! I won't be skating again still for a few months still, I'd guess, but I'm so glad to again have a good prognosis.

    Anyway, I'm encouraged to know that you returned to skating after a broken ankle. Thanks for sharing your story.