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I roller skated too close to the sun

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I skated the Bob Jones Trail and all I got was a broken ankle. Photo by Leah Monson

Breaking my ankle while roller skating on the Bob Jones Trail really put a pin in my plans.

I always knew strapping eight wheels on my feet would eventually warrant a cast. Given my aspirations that I outlined in my last column, I was fated to sprain, tear, dislocate, or fracture something from the start. I would have been wise to add any of these to my list of future quad skating endeavors.

However, I had no idea that an injury could result in ankle surgery on my birthday, complete with a metal plate, five screws and a charcuterie board made up of medical grade drugs. Not to mention the fact that I was turning 26, meaning my insurance was due to drop me in a week’s time.

After the initial shock of tearing a ligament, fracturing my tibia and breaking my fibula wore off, the sheer stupidity of snapping my ankle while slowly attempting to turn around set in. There’s no gory or wildly impressive story accompanied with my projected three months of pain and discomfort, just a fluke accident wrapped in ace bandages and topped with Vicodin every six hours as needed.

The past few weeks have been a blur of doctor’s appointments, sleep deprivation and Disney+. I’ve tried my best to ignore the intermittent throbbing in my ankle, as well as the fact that sleeping on my back with my foot elevated is swiftly plummeting me into a madness that can’t be remedied by pain pills.

But what I can’t get off my mind is the persistent and burning desire to get out and skate.

When I initially broke my ankle, I was convinced that my feet would never see the inside of a roller skate again. But my surgery came and went, and I slowly began to heal in more ways than one. 

I spent two weeks sulking and closing myself off to the skating community, yet I couldn’t help but feel a little weak-minded for metaphorically hanging up my roller skates after my first fall. After all, the roller skating community has deep roots and rich history, and I’m certainly not the first to sustain a temporarily life-changing injury.

After mourning the loss of my ability to perform everyday tasks like shower, drive and walk up the stairs at my leisure, I started to pick myself back up (non weight bearing, of course). With the help of the roller skating subreddit and its archive of testimonials from fallen skaters, I gradually began to rewire and reset.

I am currently two weeks post-op, and I have a long road of physical therapy between me and skating again. For now, I’m tabling my more extreme ambitions of park skating and roller derby, and replacing them with a more modest goal of merely putting my skates on again.