Today marks a dubious sort of anniversary for me: it was one year ago today, February 24th, that I became a Woman of Steel by having a steel plate and eight screws surgically implanted in my left ankle.

The night before, after putting my daughter to bed, and while jauntily walking down the stairs without my shoes, I slipped and slammed my foot into the surprisingly sturdy baby gate at the bottom.

My ankle was dislocated and broken in four places.

There simply aren’t enough bad words to describe how painful that incident was, so let me just say… it hurt. A LOT.

In fact, the ER nurse said that if she gave me any more morphine it would probably stop my heart… which didn’t seem like such a bad idea at the time.

I vaguely remember firemen and paramedics arriving and carrying me out of the house on a gurney while my neighbors watched. I think I waved, but I’m not sure.

The next afternoon, I was treated to surgery by an entirely-too-attractive orthopedic surgeon. Which is just what every woman wants: to have a hottie doctor cut into your foot while you… well… look like you just fell down the stairs.

And I’m pretty sure I had forgotten to get a pedicure. I don’t remember it being high on my to-do list with an 8-month old baby in the house.

I spent two days in the hospital, after which I was released on my own recognizance once I could prove myself with crutches. I was later to learn – after several nasty falls – that crutches and percocet don’t mix.

My daughter, who didn’t seem to notice my absence at all, will hopefully not be emotionally scarred for life by this incident.

In addition to Hottie Surgeon and the many friends and family who helped us during this time, I want to thank my anesthesiologist, who was by far the best I’ve ever had. And being a veteran of way too many surgeries, that’s saying a lot. You rocked, Anesthesia Doctor!

(Forgive me, but I can’t for the life of me remember his name. I was a little out-of-it at the time.

I do, however, remember telling him that he was so wonderful that I allllllllllways want him to be my anesthesiologist. I think I was drooling.)

After 2 weeks in a plaster cast (elevated, with ice), 4 weeks in an orthopedic boot, and 4 months in physical therapy, I was finally able to walk almost normally. One year later, I still have a bizarre, tingling numbness over the incision, probably because the hardware is still in there. And some days it just hurts like crazy.

On the bright side, however, I can now predict rain with almost 87% accuracy.

Elizabeth O'Neal

Elizabeth O’Neal is a genealogist, freelance writer, educator, and web developer. An avid genealogist for three decades, Elizabeth writes the blog "My Descendant’s Ancestors" (formerly "Little Bytes of Life"), where she shares family stories, technology and methodology tips, and hosts the monthly "Genealogy Blog Party." When not hunting for ancestors, she enjoys testing new software and social media platforms to find innovative ways to re-purpose them for genealogy.
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