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Ouch

Just checking in to note that chronic pain, such as one might experience from a broken bone, is really not helpful when one is trying to concentrate on a creative job ...

x-ray image of broken metatarsal bone

Many people who fracture a metatarsal—one of the bones in the arch of the foot (see above) —don't seek medical help for nearly a week after the accident, because despite the swelling and tenderness, it doesn't feel as painful as they expect a broken bone to be. I'm one of them. In my case, I hauled myself to the minor injuries clinic five days after I slipped on the next-to-bottom step of the bedroom staircase; it was the bruising that emerged as the swelling subsided that convinced me there was something worse than a sprain. It was, after all, only a minor fall—about fifty centimetres, followed by a bad landing. (In addition to fracturing a metatarsal I sprained my ankle badly in the fall, and as I live in a top floor apartment with no elevator, I chose to do the rest/elevation/ice/compression thing at home in hope that the sprain, swelling and tenderness would go away, rather than doing battle with multiple flights of stairs on only one leg. The broken bone was not immediately obvious. Ambulances: well, I'd rather leave them to deal with real emergencies.)

Interesting notes: after the sprain initially subsided but before I got it X-rayed, I was able to walk surprisingly far on a broken foot. This is not a good idea, but it's grist for the mill as far as any author of fiction is concerned. Then, after a referral to the hospital osteology department, I was fitted with one of those velcro and neoprene moon boot immobilizers and a pair of crutches, and the fun really began. Immobilizing my ankle brought the sprain out in a sympathy strike with the metatarsal, and what had previously been a minor annoyance turned into full-blown agony for around 24 hours. It's subsiding now, but I don't think I'll be going down the main stairwell for another day or two unless it's a house-on-fire emergency.

So I guess I'll just have to hole up and write more ...

I have a follow-up appointment next Tuesday to confirm that it's healing properly. And if it is, I should be out of the boot in a month and pretty much recovered by December. That's not early enough to avoid having to do the whole boot-and-crutches thing through a couple of airports, though, for I am due to make a couple of overnight trips to London in the next six weeks.

Should be interesting.

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on October 11, 2012 10:25 AM.

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