It was a clear, sunny summer morning. I did not have any lupus symptoms other than the usual swollen hands and feet that goes away after I stretch. I had gotten ready for my internship and had some time to spare before I left. I decided to take my dog out one last time to the back yard. Hmm…my daughter’s sunflowers looked soaked from the storm and needed to be placed in sunnier spots. After adjusting the plants, I turned to get the dog off the yard line. I was at the top of the deck stairs. I turned and stepped down with my right foot, immediately my ankle rolled, and my right leg did not even bear any weight. Gravity swiftly plunged me down all four steps as I heard a sickening “pop”.
I hit the ground on my right side and gasped in pain. I felt it shoot from my ankle all the way up my right leg. The dog was oddly silent and stood near me. I got the lead and crawled on my hands and knees back up the steps, across the desk, and into the house. I unhooked the dog and said “House” through clenched teeth. She quietly obeyed and sat in her crate. I told her she was good, and I was not mad at her. I was frustrated at my lupus. It had not given me any warning signs.
I climbed up on a chair and propped up my leg. I called my husband at work, “Hey I know you just got there, but you have to come and take me to the ER immediately.” There was no questions or hesitation, “Oh no, be there as soon as I tell my boss.” We grabbed one of my many ice packs, the largest one, and headed to the ER. I was put in a wheelchair and whisked back into a suite without wait. The ER doctor had the mobile x-ray unit come by and scan my ankle. I recounted the accident and fall to my husband and the doctor. Both agreed my ankle tendons decided to give out because of Lupus.
I knew my ankle did this, I had the problem happen three times this year while walking with my family. What was so infuriating was this time it was on stairs, and I had not been able to react and grab on to the railing. I was totally at the mercy of gravity. The tests came back that it was not broken but severely sprained. I would have to stay off the ankle for five days and no driving until a foot and ankle specialist could assess the damage. “OH GREAT!”, I thought. The doctor put me in an air stirrup brace and sent me back home to recuperate.
I was in the middle of my summer internship program. I had promised to be there until the end. I did not want to disappoint or cause a problem for the nice people I had met at the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter. I was sure, as has happened in the past, the opportunity would be terminated because I could not get a ride back and forth to the site. I thought my lupus had “struck again” to wreck a good opportunity for me.
My supervisor told me do not worry about that right now, just rest and heal up. I am used to pain and down time. I took my Tylenol, and my family did the house chores for me. They are used to picking up the slack in these instances. But as I waited, I was more depressed about having to stop the internship more than anything.
A week and a half later, I got the okay to work from home on my spreadsheets and database for them. I was very thankful that they looked passed the trouble caused by the accident and let me continue. The Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter staff truly did understand the challenges that comes with this illness and did not give up on me! Now, I am cleared to drive, but must wear a very heavy and awkward air cast boot to walk around in until early September. Again, I am not concerned about that so much as being given the chance to finish what I started with my internship.
Amy’s ankle is all healed and she is a wonderful addition to the LFA, GOC team!