The Cankle Incident Report,  Sunday, August 17, 2008.

I had moved to Tulsa with my niece, Mandy, to start a new job  as visiting professor.  This was my very first academic position and I was trying so very hard to be reserved and dignified about it all, but the truth was, I was crazy excited about having an office that was all mine with a shiney brass plate on the door that said my name followed by “PhD.”

Mandy and I were carrying a buncha stuff to my office when somehow, I stepped all weird on my left ankle and it did a loud, “POP!!” which was accompanied by searing pain and BOOM! I was on the ground. 

So there I am, Little Ms. Dr. Professor, in an outfit carefully selected that morning to lend a casual-yet-professional aire. I’m sprawled out on the sidewalk, surrounded by an explosion of papers, books, and notebooks. My leg is cradled in my  arms as if I’m doing an impromptu yoga pose.  Did I mention I was wearing a skirt? Well…I was! Hello panty show!

Mandy stood there trying to hold back her laughter as she asked rapid-fire questions: 

“Are you ok?”

“Motherf*cker, Motherf*cker, Motherf*cker…” (I normally do not talk like this, I swear!)

“Can you move it?”

“Motherf*cker, Motherf*cker, Motherf*cker….”

“Can you wiggle your toes?”


“Do you think it’s broken?”


“Do you want me to carry you?”


“Should I go get someone?”

 “Stop talking to me!”

“What’s your pain level?”


 “What do you want me to do about it?”

“…Mandy! STOP talking to me!”

(It was, of course, all her fault.  You see, Mandy talks a lot. Like incessantly.  If she hadn’t been talking to me I wouldn’t have had to allocate the extra attentional resources to tune her out to create the mental space necessary to focus on the 100 other things I was thinking about.   I simply didn’t have enough resources for the task demands of walking and thinking and listening to her. See?)

At this point we just sat in silence for a few minutes, which helped matters considerably. When the nausia and perspiration subsided, I got up to test things out.  I found that it didn’t hurt quite so bad if I kept my foot flexed and didn’t allow my ankle to bend any direction in which an ankle is normally supposed to bend.  I could even put weight on the injured limb if I turned my foot out at a 90 degree angle and kept my knee straight and let the inside of my heel take myweight.  I was able in that stance to take small, choppy steps.  I walked around like that  — like a monster — for two days before going to the doctor and finding out I had a level 3 sprain.