Fourteen Steps Down

March 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm (Uncategorized)

Last Wednesday night I fell down a steep flight of stairs and broke my right ankle.

This leaves me in a pickle, since my left foot is already broken and I’m not supposed to put any weight on it.

Here’s how it happened. Jay was working late, and Andrew I decided to order a pizza and watch a movie. This meant I had to make it downstairs to the TV den. No problem! I’d negotiated up and down those stairs a few times before on crutches. So I handed Andrew the pizza, parked my nifty knee scooter (which conveys me around flat surfaces), and headed for the stairs on my crutches. Andrew was right behind me.

On the second of fourteen steps, I caught the bottom of my right crutch on the stair’s carpeting. “This can’t happen,” I thought, as I teetered out and above the six foot drop to the bottom. It happened. I went sailing down the steps, frantically trying to scratch a handhold on the banister. But I couldn’t. I crashed at the bottom of the stairs.

After any accident, there is a suspended moment of silence. Andrew broke it with a very small voice and asked, “Should I call 911?” I began to flail in the narrow stairwell and try to get up. “I’m fine. I’m fine. I think I’m fine,” I said, as I tried to get up and prove to him I was alive and well.

But I knew right away something was wrong with my ankle. It had made a horrible cracking sound when I landed. With any attempt at moving it, pain shot from my ankle up into my thigh. “Shit. Shit. SHIT!” I thought. My mouth tasted metallic from fear.

“Mom, you rode those stairs down! You stayed upright almost the whole way,” Andrew said. He was standing next to me now, and sounded impressed. I was not feeling impressive.

Since I broke my right ankle, it’s been really hard to do anything—get to the bathroom, roll out of bed, get dressed, or make it to the table for dinner—with two broken lower limbs. One is in a plaster cast. The other is in a giant orthopedic boot. I haven’t yet found a pain-free way to get around the top floor of our house. (I don’t think I’ll ever venture near those stairs again.) We have a walker, the knee scooter, a wheelchair, and, of course, those damnable crutches on hand. But none of them is quite right. Getting anywhere hurts a lot and is frustrating.

I’ve got another 4 weeks in the plaster class for my broken left foot, and a long road to rehab the broken ankle in the giant boot. I had my first physical therapy appointment yesterday.

Truthfully, I’m feeling overwhelmed, sorry for myself, and not quite sure how I’m going to get through the next month. I’d like to tell myself to take it one step at a time, but that doesn’t quite cut it.

My look for the next month.

My look for the next month.


  1. Barb Barnes said,

    It’s hard to say what is worse, the result or having your kid witness the whole damned thing. Your description of the metallic taste in your mouth is striking and telling. I’ve seen that stairway and I am impressed your injuries weren’t worse so I agree with Andrew, you must have truly ridden those stairs.

    I feel sad that the next month or so will greet you with daily pain to get down your hallway. I am hoping that within a month you will be able to look back and see progress and less discomfort. What a really shitty thing to have happen. Just plain sucks!

    I love you… muchly.

    • Rebecca Stanfel said,

      Thank you, Barb. And thanks for the (once again) central role you played in getting me through (yet another) crisis. It was awful to have Andrew witness the whole thing. I do so want to seem strong and competent to him–and so often he sees me broken and helpless,

      Thanks for your good wishes…and for everything.


      • Barb Barnes said,

        I am not sure I agree with broken and helpless. I think he sees you through his desire and deep love motivating him to help his Mom any way he can, not because you are a complete mess, but because it meets HIS need to have some impact, to be helpful. Love you.

      • Rebecca Stanfel said,

        That is a MUCH better perspective Barb. Thank you!

  2. Rayna said,

    Sending lots and lots of healing vibes your way. I’m digging the purple, by-the-way! I just wish you were wearing it as a sweater.

    • Rebecca Stanfel said,

      Thanks Rayna. Thanks for the healing vibes. I need ’em! Yes, the purple cast is a pretty splendid shade. I’d be OK with it as a cast, if it were the only cast on my feet right now…

      Thanks for always reading and taking the time to check in,

      We’re really looking forward to seeing you all soon!


  3. jodi said,

    Sorry for your set back . Hope your road to recovery is smooth sailing .

    • Rebecca Stanfel said,

      Thanks Jodi

  4. Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) said,

    That. Majorly. Sucks. 😦 May the month pass quickly and without mishap!

    • Rebecca Stanfel said,

      I appreciate it, Leanne.

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