A Gust of Wind

The pool was crowded and I was sharing a lane with a friendly ironman woman who swam perfectly straight lines on her side of the lane.

I was cruising, feeling strong and confident until a gust of wind blew the lane line. It drifted into my line and crashed into my right ankle. Well, it probably didn’t exactly “crash” into my ankle. I wasn’t swimming during a hurricane. Maybe the lane line gently nudged. But it was a direct hit to the anterior talofibular ligament, the ligament that suffered the most severe tear from my accident.

An electric jolt shot up my fibula. The interosseous membrane between my tibia and fibula caught fire. The water against my skin gave the sensation that all my skin had been torn and I was bleeding openly into the water.

My right leg dragged, paralyzed, as my left leg kicked and my arms pulled me to the safety of the shallow end. Unintentionally channeling Tonya Harding with her Olympic broken laces, I hoisted my leg up onto the ledge to inspect the damage to my CRPS ankle.

There was no fire, no blood, not even a mark from the impact. That’s how I know the hit was not really that hard. The lane lines are made of hard plastic. In earlier times, I’ve hit them with direct force when attempting to learn to swim the backstroke. They hurt. They leave marks when you hit the edges.

I stood on my left leg in the shallow end, slowly bicycling my right leg to see if I could get the “shock” to wear off. I tried to swim again. The message from my brain to kick my right leg was somehow muddled. My right leg would only sort of wiggle arrhythmically beneath me. I felt nauseous from the pain.

I swam one more lap and got out of the pool. I sat on a deck chair with my leg elevated, lamenting the unabating CRPSness of my leg, ankle, and foot.

And now, my ankle is swollen, my dumb leg’s skin is glistening, splotchy, and discolored. My foot is cold and tingly. The pain wants me to vomit (I’m holding it back…). The fibula feels broken, a hot knife is through the center of my ankle, a spoon is scraping out the interosseous membrane, and an invisible elf is inside my leg, separating the upper fibula from my tibia.


I’ve been watching a blinking cursor for the past 30 minutes trying to think of a hopeful and upbeatish conclusion to this post. I’m unfocused and drifting because of my medications and for some reason a Pharrell Williams song is overriding every thought I’m trying to have. I guess I’ll just leave you with the song.

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