We have a guest blogger today. Darren is writing this blog because Stacy is incapacitated in the bed. "How'd that happen?", you ask. Well, I'll tell you.
Have you ever had something happen to you and it seemed like you were just, through no fault of your own, completely in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Texas we call that dumb bad luck.
Stacy wanted to do something fun for herself this week. First, she thought about getting a pedicure. But she stepped outside and it was one of those gorgeous sunny fall days in Texas, so she decided instead that she'd like to pick me up from work for a picnic lunch by the Trinity River.
So, she picked me up around noon and we drove down 7th Street to Trinity Park. When we got there, though, they were doing construction on the roads and parking lots. There was nowhere to go, so I suggested a little parking area on the other side of the river that I'd driven by many times. So, we crossed back over the Trinity and went down Forest Park Blvd. until we found the spot.
It was a beautiful spot. There was a picnic table, but Stacy had brought a blanket because she wanted to lay in the shade under a tree. There was a nice pecan tree nearby with a flat grassy area so we made our picnic there. It was great. We ate and talked and lay there and had a great time enjoying being outdoors on a beautiful day.
The weekly tornado siren testing let us know it was 1:00 and time for me to head back to work. I grabbed the trash and drinks and headed back to the car, leaving Stacy to bring the blanket. I was halfway to the car when I suddenly heard Stacy screaming. She was clearly in terrible pain. I set all the stuff on the ground and ran back to her.
When I got back to her, she was rolling around on the ground, holding one leg up at a funny angle. I thought she had dislocated her knee. I asked her what was hurting she couldn't tell me, she was in too much pain. I knew something serious was wrong. I gently grabbed her leg and foot and she flinched and yelped. Finally, she told me her foot was hurt.
To try to figure out what was wrong, I reached for her foot, but at a touch from my fingertips, she winced and flinched again. I knew it was bad, and I told her I thought it was broken. I said we'd go straight to the doctor's office and went to move the car to the closest part of the parking area.
When I got back, I saw Stacy was laying on her stomach looking into a hole. She had been walking to the car and all of a sudden her left foot and leg had sunk into the ground all the way to her thigh. Her weight had suddenly shifted to her off-balance right foot with no time to prepare, injuring it. I was wondering to myself how there could be such a deep hole in such an innocuous-looking spot.
Upon closer inspection, I realized the hole had not been there before. There was still grass covering the hole and it had obviously been torn by her foot. At the bottom of the hole, there was a mound of fresh dirt and grass that she had knocked down there. Stacy had stepped on a weak spot in the ground, where a sewer line ran underneath, and the ground had collapsed beneath her.
The sewer line had an opening at that point for a drain, but no drain had been installed. Instead it had been covered with dirt. Over time, the dirt above had gradually collapsed into the sewer line underneath as water washed through it, until there was a cavity in the earth below with only a few inches of soil held together by the roots of the grass. One step on that would've sent anyone crashing through. Stacy was the person with the dumb bad luck to step on that one spot first.
I tore out the grass from over the hole so it would be visible to anyone else walking by. Then I helped Stacy onto her good foot and held her up as she hopped a few hops. Each hop brought excruciating pain to her hurt foot. We made it as far as the nearby picnic table. I went back to the XTerra and off-roaded down to the picnic table, where I helped her to gingerly get in. A call to the doctor got her in quickly thanks to a last-minute cancellation, so we headed straight there.
At the doctor's office, the X-rays confirmed two broken bones. The X-ray below is not Stacy's, but I circled the part of her foot where the breaks were. The doctor called a nearby orthopedist to arrange a visit for that afternoon.
From there it was on to the orthopedist. We parked in the handicapped parking and joked about getting a ticket. "I think I could get us out of that one," I said. Thankfully, both the doctor's office and the orthopedist had loaner wheelchairs, so Stacy mostly got to roll around. It was tricky getting in and out of our high-clearance XTerra, though. Stacy practically had to do a chin-up using the handles above the door!
The orthopedist touched Stacy's foot all over to ensure that the pain matched up with the breaks he could see on the X-ray. He was also concerned that she might have strained or torn the ligament holding her big toe to the toe next to it. Meanwhile, Stacy was mortified because she had spent the earlier part of the day walking around barefoot, so her feet were quite dirty, and she hadn't shaved in a while. But she got through it and we decided to go with a boot rather than a 3-week splint followed by a cast.
After a trip to the drugstore for crutches, Darvocet, and chocolate, we went to pick up the boys. (Our good friend Tina, whose child is in school with Aidan and Ian, had taken them home from school while we were at the doctor.) Then, I went out and took pictures of the hole—to post on this blog and as evidence for our upcoming discussions with the city's Parks department...
(Using a broom handle to measure the depth of the hole)