Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Healing Journey: Part Two

I was graced with more injury-and-recovery stories than I could fit into a single post. Here are a couple more! And let these all be a reminder: roller derby is not for the weak of body, mind or spirit. I encourage anyone to join us and learn to play, but you will get hurt sooner or later and it will hurt. A lot.

Skater: Alice N Plunderland (Dead Girl Derby, retired)
Date of Injury: February 2010
Nature of Injury: Bulging discs L3-S1, aggravated sciatica, 2 cracked ribs, bruised bones of the elbow (the bones were actually bruised)

I was two feet in the air with my back parallel to the rink, landed on my back, pancaked over, and then three girls skated into me. Although the pain is not as severe or as often as it was when the first year, two years later I am in still pain in my lower back. But I'm thankful I can walk and still have a somewhat active lifestyle!

My daughter is the only reason I listened to the doctors. They told me if I didn't stop playing derby, I could end up paralyzed.

Skater: Lunatic Lola #66 (Dead Girl Derby)
Injury Date: January 26, 2011, week of Season 2 draft
Nature of Injury: Spiral fractured fibula above ankle

Keep in mind, I was still wearing rink skates at the time. During Wednesday night practice we all felt compelled to get a drink of water after the drill that consists of falling to your belly when the whistle is blown and promptly up to opposite direction of skating. My boyfriend, Drew, was there for the first time checking things out & carpooling a ride. So I skated over to my water, and en route I spanked my derby wifey, Stabby-Doo. off the middle exit of the rink. (This is what sucks: my injury was not even in game play!)

My left leg went out from underneath me and because we're trained to not fall on our tailbones, I leaned right to fall to my side. The rink skate's toe stop caught the carpet and three people and heard two loud "pop-POP"s. It even felt loud and awkward. The toe stop halted the momentum of my right leg, and my ankle stayed in place while my remaining body fell right. It felt like a bad sprain and someone (who is no longer around because I still don't know what their name is) said it was a high sprain and ddidn't seem to be broken. It hurt pretty bad, but I'm proud to say I just yelled a few curse words and told Don C. Nuttin to continue with practice without me. Drew was astonished and silent. Ice was brought to assist but they had already taken my skate off so the swelling already started.

I hadn't cried at this point, but realizing that it'd be a little while until I wore skates was hitting me already. I could stand on it but not pivot weight in a stride. Ginger Ninja loaned me her crutches--because she got hurt the week before--to get to my car as Drew pulled the car around. I then acquired my crutches from my parents house on the way home to my apartment that of course had 18 steps. That's when I broke down in sheer frustration.

Oye. Thankfully my best friend Drew carried me up those lovely stairs. I called into work that next day due to exhaustion and bad swelling bad. I decided to tough it out Friday and drive to work on my own. At least it was an automatic; it wasn't so bad as long as there wasn't abrupt stopping because my foot was wrapped and limited on stride motion. I work at Citi, and at the time in the collections department. So a sit-down job: easy, right? Well, did I mention there was snow? It was rough keeping composure and maintaining an ice pack while elevating my ankle at a desk on the phone. It was a pain in the ass, and I couldn't focus, but I dealt with it and did my best. My "pod-mate" noticed me re-wrapping my foot/leg and said that it looked very swollen and shouldn't be purple and black. The black didn't show up until late in the on afternoon Friday so I was trying to figure out what I should do... DUH!!! Go to the doctor.

So, I did and I expected the doc to look at the X-ray and tell me, "Tough it out, it's a sprain." He came back and said, "Yep, it's broken right where I suspected." I said, "You're f-in' kidding me..." Nope. They splinted my leg and told me I needed to stay off it completely and I couldn't drive myself home. The call to mom to explain what happened and the fact that I needed a ride was next. Recovery was what felt like forever, but there was a lot of dozing, reading, sleeping, gaming and chillaxing over that time.

I was so relieved to finally get "the sexy black boot"! I couldn't drive unless I was ballsy to take it off to use my toes and put it back on when exiting the car, which I ended up doing once I did go back to work. Thank God I had short-term disability coverage at work: four weeks, 100% paid. I think I wore the boot through mid-March until my muscles and stride were comfy. I passed my skills tests with good ol' Mel Breakdown. :) [Editor's Note: This makes me tear up!]

I feel 100% stronger on both legs and wiser on my exits from the rink now. I still kid Stabby that it was her rear end's fault. I am thankful for my DGD family that has always been supportive, and I am happy it happened because I had many realizations of what not to take advantage of with my two legs. My parents thought I was crazy to still continue derby after the incident, but I know I made the right decision. I take daily vitamins to ensure my mind and body are prepared for the derby life and what's whipped into it moving forward. Plus, I see a chiropractor.

Skater: Do'er Dye #DNR (Dead Girl Derby)
Injury Date: November 20, 2011
Nature of Injury: Broken fibula and two ankle bones

As my first year in derby, I was so excited to go to a bootcamp and learn more skills. When I fell in the middle of a scrimmage all I could remember thinking was, "Shit, what did I do to myself?" I laid on the floor of that rink, crying, because I felt like I let my team down because I wasn't going to be able to skate for months—if ever again.

I've been a Type 1 diabetic for 22 years and know that any injury to my feet could be catastrophic. The first hospital "set" my ankle twice and sent me on my way home. The two-hour drive home from Columbia was the most painful drive I've ever had in my life. We arrived home at 2:30 a.m., and by 6:30 I couldn't tolerate the pain any longer, so I had my husband take me to KU Med. I was in the operating room within two hours and had an external fixator placed on my foot to stabilize it and allow for the swelling to go down in order to fix my ankle. That was for two weeks.

Finally surgery day was Dec. 9, 2011, and it took five plates to put my ankle back together. I am a week out and I know that I have seven more weeks to go before I can put any weight on it and begin my recovery. I cry on occasion because I miss the girls I was beginning to start relationships with. I was just starting to see that I was becoming a better skater and being able to tolerate my shin splints a little bit longer.

I'm scared and a little apprehensive to get on my skates again—scared of hurting myself again—and I am sure the other skaters that have been hurt have had the same feeling. I will take it slow and I look forward to hearing my name spoken and the crowd cheering as I help my team to a victory.

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