I broke my leg 12 days ago.
It hasn’t been a bad experience, really. I feel like I lucked out at every turn imaginable, except for the part where I broke my leg.
Every photo you’ve seen of me with a broken leg has been with a smile on my face. Because for the most part, I have had a smile on my face. I’m a happy person. I’m basically a professional at putting a positive spin on any situation, however difficult it is.
But I wanted to be real with you.
When I hit the water, I knew I’d fucked up. Badly.
When they hauled me back to land and lifted me out of the water, I knew my leg was done.
I thought I’d torn a ligament. It was crushing. The thought of having to fly home from Cape Town to get surgery. The better part of a year in recovery. The knowledge that a torn ACL or MCL is never as strong as it was before.
I did everything I could to get those thoughts out of my head, to enjoy the cold beer in my hand, the breeze on my face, and the stoked vibes at the cable park.
…But I barely spoke on the way home. I spent a lot of time pretending to sleep so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. I couldn’t think about or speak about my fears surrounding the injury because the tears were too close to the surface. The thought of how serious it could be was crippling.
The 24 hours I had to wait for an exam with the orthopedic specialist was nervewracking. I couldn’t walk. I struggled to even hop on one leg. I spent most of my time staring at my laptop watching TV to keep my mind busy so I could just stop thinking.
I cried all the way from the house to the hospital. I was terrified.
I played it pretty cool once I got there. I laughed with the reception team and cracked some self-deprecating jokes with the doctor.
But when I was sitting on the table and he was telling me my options… the costs… the possible outcomes… I choked up. He was kind. We continued our conversation through my tears until they stopped.
After the MRI, when I found out I wouldn’t be able to see the doctor to go over my results until the next day, I was devastated. It’s the not knowing that hurts the most. Maybe he sensed my pain though, because he called and told me my results that evening. And I went from trying to hold back tears to laughing.
A tibial plateau fracture and some crush damage. What a relief. I would take a broken bone any day over a torn ligament. Eight weeks recovery time? That’s nothing. That I could handle!
It took a few more days of uncertainty and another x-ray to determine that I wouldn’t need surgery – which meant I wasn’t on the next flight home. I could spend my recovery time surrounded by summer weather and good vibes instead of trapped inside in cold, Canadian winter.
The relief was instant. I canceled my flight back to Canada before I even left the hospital.
But even the relief was a weird feeling. Because I immediately went from spending every waking hour trying with every ounce of energy I had to stay positive to… nothing. It took some mental gymnastics, but I figured out that this injury and recovery period is an opportunity for me to focus on some of my other priorities.
So I filled up my schedule with work, friends, Carlucci’s coffee sessions, and hanging out down at the beach watching the kiters play. And I was smiling. You may have seen me out there smiling. Because I was happy. I was relieved.
I am happy.
I’m still smiling.
Because I’m choosing to smile.
Yes, sometimes it takes a lot of work to stay positive. It takes a long time to have a shower. Putting on shoes is a nightmare. Calling an Uber to go three blocks makes me feel silly. Carrying a beer is just depressing.
But life is boring if it’s easy. And I love a good challenge!