The Brick Wall Known As Jill, And The Risks Inherent in Hitting It

This past Monday was one of only two that are not already claimed by Al for his hockey games this season, so I had my bag all packed and ready to go to NE Skatezone for the women's Monday night pickup there. Of course I forgot my cell phone, but I figured Al knew when to expect me home, and if anything came up, someone else would have one.

I think about 10 of us showed up, so we skated four-on-four with one sub each until we were all so tired that everyone wanted to go out at once. We drank some water and caught our breath, and someone proposed going half-ice instead of full. I don't mind half-ice as long as the net stays in its usual position (I had a great time playing a half-ice scrimmage in which the zone had to be cleared to the red line on change of possession at practice once); this allows *me* to play my position normally and not get too confused. I know many would disagree and say that it's much *more* confusing to figure out when clearing the zone is necessary, but for me it's easier than trying to find space to skate when the nets are placed on opposing boards at one end of the ice.

In any case, the latter is how the half-ice 3-on-3 game was configured on Monday. I think it was on my second or third shift in, when I was really feeling disoriented by the small skating area—with my long skating stride, I'm like a 747 in the sense that I need a *lot* of runway in which to really get up to speed—I decided to heck with getting up to speed: I'd try for quickness instead. Al and I are always talking about the difference between speed and quickness, and how I tend to have more of the former than the latter (even if I don't appear very speedy from the sidelines). Now seemed like the moment for quickness.

One of my opponents got the puck on her stick and was just getting it together to skate with it, and I saw an opportunity to steal it right off her stick. (Never mind that had this manuever worked, I probably would not have had enough room to get a shot off anyway; I was more interested in trying the move for its own sake, to break up the monotony of missed passes and skating around in tight little circles.) So anyway, I dove forward with the intent of skating through the gap between the puck carrier and the teammate standing a couple feet from her, and taking the puck with me.

Next thing I knew, my left foot had planted (I could feel the toe of the blade stick in the ice) while my body spun off to the right. My shoulder had hit something, and I think I got sandwiched between the two opponents while my left foot stayed behind. What I'm most sure of in those brief seconds is that my ankle bent in a direction is was not supposed to go—a vision of one of those bendy figures kids play with totally popped into my head as I went down—and that I screamed. I wasn't sure at first whether I'd broken a bone or just sprained my ankle, but as I lay there on the ice trying to breathe, it occurred to me that I hadn't heard or felt any snapping. This boded well for the sprain theory, so after a few minutes I let my colleagues carry me off the ice and apply an icepack to my ankle while I sat behind the bench.


Nielle gave me three Advil, and I tied the icepack around my skate with the bandana I'd been wearing on my head. I then borrowed a cell phone (gah! the one time I forgot mine, of course I needed one) and called Al to tell him what had happened while encouraging everyone else to continue skating. It was obvious that I couldn't drive home (my car is a stick), and we only have the one car, so Al couldn't come get me. Jill—who, it turned out, was the brick wall I'd hit while trying to thread the needle—had a plan: Someone would drive my car back to Al, who would throw "little Al" in the car and drive back up to ferry me to the hospital. It probably isn't necessary to mention at this point that Jill does not have kids.

Nielle had a better idea: She would drive me in my car and Shelly would drive Nielle's car to the nearest ER. I kinda just wanted to go home, but Nielle convinced me that an x-ray was a better idea. I relayed the revised plan to Al via the borrowed cellphone and then, when everyone else was almost finished playing and I was thoroughly chilled, I hopped back to the locker room to get as undressed as I could. I took off one skate and kneepad, my shoulder pads, and my elbow pads, but I left my pants, socks, and jersey on for warmth. (At this point it didn't occur to me that the ER would be hot as holy hell, or even that it wouldn't be nearly as chilly as the rink had been.)

Somewhere along the line Shelly realized that we were going to the ER and not directly to my house; I said, "don't worry; if the wait is long, we'll just order a pizza." The wait *did* turn out to be long. The waiting room was MOBBED—which, depending on whom you asked, was either highly unusual or totally normal for a Monday night. They "fast-tracked" me at triage, but apart from a bout of hysterical tears during the x-ray, I apparently seemed far too cheerful to be seriously injured, and thus was ignored for four hours. After a little over an hour, Shelly announced, "I was promised pizza." I replied, "and I was serious about that! Let's order one." Shelly was skeptical that anyone would deliver to the ER, but the lady sitting in front of us said, "there's menus over there," so Shelly grabbed one and ordered. We snarfed down a slice each, heartily wished beer delivery was an option, too (especially since no one would give me painkillers of any sort, including Tylenol or Advil), and returned to our discussions of hockey, dating, driving, sneaker fashion, the benefits and drawbacks of marriage, more hockey, and random other things.

Around 2am I was finally shown back to the actual ER bays, where we waited another 20 minutes for god knows what. What I was waiting for turned out to be what amounted to a wham-bam-thank-you-m'am from an ER doc who announced that she didn't see anything on the x-ray "so rest, ice, compressionelevationbearweightasyoucanseeyougoodbye." After another 10 minutes a nurse came to wrap my ankle with an ACE bandage, give me a prescription for Naprosyn (which I can't take because it makes me dizzy), and give me a pair of crutches. When she said I couldn't use them on stairs I tried to refuse them (because my house is nothing *but* stairs), but Shelly, Nielle, and the orderly all talked me out of that nonsense. Thank god they did, because I would not have been able to get around at all for the past three days without them.

We finally pulled into the driveway behind our house at 3:30am, and then Shelly and Nielle went on to their respective houses in Nielle's car (I'm still trying to figure out how to send them some beer for their above-and-beyond stint in the ER) while Al pulled ours into the garage and I tried to figure out how to get up the stairs to the bedroom (I ended up crawling because I didn't have enough leg strength left to hop anymore). You can read about the next two days' worth of adventures in hopping on avocado8 (though I refrained from mentioning the very rough night I had on Tuesday, when Al was away in Chicago, the Beaner woke up screaming at 1:30am, and the stress of not being able to be picked up by Mommy caused a Pull-Up leak where normally there is no wetness at all). Meanwhile, I can now put some weight on my left foot, though turning even just a little bit is out of the question. Still, it's a start, and I have high hopes that the ankle will be sufficiently healed for me to fully participate in the Vancouver Tournament, which is now a mere 3 weeks away. Wooooo!

Posted by Lori in | May 3, 2007·05:03 PM


oh no! heal quickly, Lori. Glad it's not a break!

Posted by: jess at May 3, 2007 10:48 PM

it sounds like a pretty bad sprain and i'm still glad you got the pictures to prove that it's not snapped or hairlined.

rest up, heal, and listen to your body. remember to let yourself heal thoroughly or our league season will take it's toll on you. we'll miss you on the ice tonight! :(

Posted by: ghetto at May 7, 2007 12:13 PM

sorry! there is a reason some of the refs in the league call me "Tank". Note on the crutches I used some for 3 months and it gets much easier really fast, and keeping a pair on each floor of the house means you do not have to keep dragging them behind you, and taking the stairs on your butt is the fatest and best way to go up and down.

Posted by: Jill at May 7, 2007 3:13 PM