A few weeks back, I came home from church and took my shoes off. Normally, this would be one of the least interesting parts of my day. However, on this occasion, I did so right in from my nearly three year old son.
This is how the incident unfolded:
While I was taking off my shoes, my son walked up to me.
“Hi daddy!” he said with excitement.
Quickly both of my shoes fell to the floor, and exposed my totally normal feet. At least, that was my opinion. My son looked down, slowly raised his head and declared,
“Oooo daddy. Nice feet!”
He’s never given such a compliment before. It was very sweet of him. Unfortunately, my “Nice Feet” status would be short lived.
MONDAY – Basketball and a Broken Foot
Each Monday night, I’m one of several leaders who hosts a Discipleship group with about 10 high school guys. About once per month, we start early and play basketball. Now, I can’t really shoot, but I am the tallest. So I spend most of my time under the basket catching rebounds.
Last Monday night, I decided to take things extra seriously, and I even wore my athletic sneakers. (Does my use of the term sneakers discredit my wearing them?) As always, I was under the basket getting lots of rebounds. I was even shooting at 100%.
In fact this particular week my presence on my team so swayed the balance of the teams they switched me to the other team. And then my new team started to make a comeback.
With the teams evened out, things started to heat up. The other team made a drive towards the basket, and took a shot.
- They missed.
- I jumped for the rebound. (I honestly don’t remember whether I caught it or not)
- I landed hard on my right foot at an angle.
- I instantly knew something wasn’t right.
- I dropped to the ground.
“Sean’s down. Game on hold!” the other adult leader declared.
I just laid on my back for about a minute. I wasn’t in pain necessarily, but something was definitely funky with my foot. With some help, I was lifted up. The only time the pain really hit was when I put weight on my foot.
Which is unfortunate, because walking usually requires putting weight on your foot.
About three minutes later, my foot started to feel normal. So I assumed I had merely twisted it, so I rejoined the game. This lasted about 1 minute before I realized that was a very very bad idea.
Within a few minutes, my ankle had swollen to the size of a tennis ball.
That night, we iced and elevated my foot while I slept. I pulled my medical boot out of the closet, and re-acquired my crutches. This wasn’t my first foot injury, so we knew the routine. By morning my foot had started to bruise up.
TUESDAY – Trip to the Doctor(s)
So we headed to the doctor’s office. From the moment he looked at my foot it I could tell it wasn’t going to be good. Quickly he started poking around. He started near my ankle
“Does this hurt?” my doctor.
“Not really. Maybe a 2,” I replied.
He moved a bit closer to my toes.
“Does this hurt?”
“Maybe a 3.”
He moved towards the middle.
“How about this?” he asked with more concern in his voice.”
“Ooo yea. That’s like 6 or 7,” I said with pain in my voice.
“Yeah. That’s what I was afraid of. The fifth metatarsal. If it’s broken, it’s a nasty process to repair,” he knew he was the bearer of bad news.
Within minutes, he had written me a pain prescription and sent me to the X-ray labs. By this point in time there was a large bruise on the side of my foot. When I went back to get my x-rays, the technician took a single look at my foot and said, “Rolled ankle? I did the exact same thing. My foot started turning black too.” That was not exactly an encouraging report. I asked if they could give me a preview of what was wrong, but they said they only x-ray they don’t diagnose.
So I went to work for the rest of the day.
Before the day ended, my doctor’s nurse gave me a call, and informed me it was definitely fractured. They scheduled us to meet with a specialist the next day.
WEDNESDAY Morning – Very Bad News
About two months ago, the leaders of our women’s ministry asked if I could lead a workshop on the reliability of scripture. I gladly agreed. For the workshop I would teach a 9:00 a.m. session and an identical 7:00 p.m. session.
My workshop just happened to fall on this particular Wednesday. By this point in time the swelling, pain, and doctor warnings had me very cautious about my foot. While I was walking on crutches that morning, I also was very intentional with how I was going to teach and make sure my foot was good. I even intentionally used a stool (which I never do).
The session went good (at least I think I did), and straight from the session we went to the specialist.
The wait was fairly reasonable both in the lobby and as soon as they took us back. Unfortunately that meant the bad news came even quicker.
He walked in carrying my x-rays.
“As you can see, you’ve fractured your fifth metatarsal…twice. Once here and the second is perpendicular to the first. Unfortunately it’s in a really tough spot. They call it a Jones fracture,” the doctor informed with a hint of pity.
At this point in time he started making a drawing to explain what is a Jones Fracture. Maybe Jennifer had a different opinion, but for my money it’s probably a good thing he became a doctor not an artist. I had no idea what he was drawing or what part of my foot he was referring to. The x-ray was much more helpful.
Then came the bad news.
“You have to stay off this foot and keep it elevated and iced for two weeks. 80% of your waking hours has to involve your foot elevated and iced. This means you aren’t going to work for two weeks. Then for another four to six weeks you can’t put any weight on it. You can’t drive anywhere.” As he said the words, I only kind of understood their meaning.
Wednesday & Onward – Bad Time for a Broken Foot
Every year, on the last weekend of March, I do a leadership retreat with my high schoolers called Captains’ Camp. It’s the smallest and most personal trip that we do; my chance to teach and connect personally with our most plugged in high schoolers. This is a trip where I do all the teaching.
Captains’ Camp was two days away when we got my diagnosis.
During the car ride home I started talking with my wife about the adjustments we would have to make in order to make Captain’s Camp work. Her suggestions involved me reclining on a couch, with my foot elevated, while I spoke to the teenagers, which I quickly dismissed. “I’m not doing that, that’d be weird!”
“Didn’t you hear what he said?” she said. “If you’re not going to follow his directions, then you can’t go! You probably shouldn’t go anyway, since he said no work for two weeks.” This was the first moment that it started to sink in that my foot was very broken and the consequences were very bad.
“Can I still teach tonight?” I asked very seriously.
“No. If you don’t want to teach in front of teenagers with your foot up, I can’t imagine you’d prefer to teach in front of a bunch of women doing so.” She was equally serious.
“There’s no way I’m backing out on this this late in the game.”
“Didn’t you record this morning’s talk? Can’t you just play the audio file?” She was even more serious.
“There’s zero percent chance I’m skipping out on teaching. Lock me down afterwards, but I’m not starting two weeks of bed rest by canceling last minute on something which was planned two months ago.” I was even more seriouser. (my level of seriousness was so drastic I needed to invent a word to communicate it to you).
She finally relented.
For the next few hours, I scrambled to come up with a plan for our Captains’ Camp. Luckily, I have one of the best teams of youth leaders out there, and plenty of great students who are also willing to step up to the plate. While we didn’t have a plan fully formed, we did have the people recruited to execute our last minute crisis mode plan which did not exist yet.
That night, I taught the second women’s workshop while seated in a cozy chair with my leg stretched out above my heart with frozen tater tots wrapped around my foot (my wife couldn’t find peas at the store she stopped at). It was the strangest hour and a half of teaching of my life. Usually, I teach standing up, walking back & fourth, and waving my hands in the air. This time, I had to settle for sitting awkwardly and making over-the-top gestures considering my position.
That night I returned home, and two weeks of bed rest began.
Four Days Later…
Four days later I can say, and this probably won’t surprise you, this has been one of the least pleasant experiences of my life. Obviously, having a very broken foot isn’t very much fun, but it’s all of the ramifications of that which are far worse.
The first thing I discovered in this adventure is that many of the spots where our carpet transitions to either wood or tile have exposed nails. My preference would have been to discover this with my eyes. Unfortunately, I discovered these nails with the heel of my good foot. That was very unpleasant.
- I have to keep telling my baby girl to stay away from my leg. She keeps trying to use my bad foot for balance.
- I can’t play with my little boy, and I have to keep telling him to calm down.
- I have to keep locking my dogs up because they keep almost destroying my foot.
- I have trouble falling asleep because I tend to twitch while falling asleep…and every time I twitch my foot falls off my elevation pillow…this leads to pain.
- I had to miss Captains’ Camp…and lay in bed at my mom’s house (because I can’t stay at home by myself) while she took care of me.
The lesson to be learned, DRINK YOUR MILK! I virtually never drink milk. I don’t eat calcium rich food, and now my foot is super dooper broken.
On a Positive Note…
Having a broken foot limits my options as to what I can do, obviously. That means I plan to get lots of reading and writing done over the next couple of weeks. I actually already gotten a good bit of writing and reading done.
Please prayer for quick healing and that I won’t need surgery.