I had been dating Teresa for about five months, and we had developed a comfortable relationship. We were going out a few times a week, and doing social stuff, like going out with friends as a couple, as well as the mundane, like grocery shopping. Teresa still shared her apartment in Laurel with her friend from college, Kristen, and I was living with my cousin, Dan, in Montgomery Village. It was tough because we were almost an hour away from each other, and farther during rush hour. We valued our time together, as a result, and I took advantage of my parents living in Bowie, since it was so much closer to Laurel, and would crash at their place on weekends. Our relationship was getting serious.
For whatever reason, we had gone through a stretch where we hadn't seen each other in over a week. In fact, we had had a disagreement about the differences in our churches, and for the first time, I wasn't sure what to do. That's how I knew we were serious. We were talking about the really detailed, real life, long term, super important stuff. Anyway, I realized that the love and respect that had developed and increased between us was strong enough to overcome a lot of the stuff we were concerned about, and though we hadn't come to an agreement, and knew we had to, we weren't going to break up over something that could be worked out. So I made plans to surprise her at her apartment with dinner (home made pizza -- I was going to make it).
I went to the store and got all of the ingredients, then sped over to her place. When I arrived, the parking lot in front of her building was blocked. They had just paved it and re-striped it, and they weren't allowing any cars to park there. That meant I had to park in a different parking lot. It also meant that I didn't know if Teresa was even home. Keep in mind, this was 1998, and I didn't have a cell phone. While she did have one, we weren't on the phone with each other constantly, and we certainly weren't texting each other. I had no way of knowing whether she was home, out for the evening, or if she just hadn't gotten home yet from work. Remember, this was a surprise. I found a place to park, but I was several buildings away from hers. I decided to leave all of the food in my car, just in case she wasn't home. I had bought flowers for her, and I trekked over to her place. I knocked on the door, and, hello!!! She was home! I gave her a big "Surprise!" and handed her the flowers. She was so excited to see me. We hugged and kissed and I told her I had dinner for us, back in the car. She said that was great, she's put her flowers in water while I ran back to get the food.
I was feeling pretty good about having surprised her, and I skipped back up the stairs of her building to the parking lot. Just as I reached the top step, my foot landed on the edge of the sidewalk, turning my ankle, and I went down in a heap. I was in severe pain. I honestly didn't know if it was just twisted, or if I broke something. It just hurt. I finally got my wits about me and I examined my foot. There didn't appear to be any broken bones, but I couldn't put any weight on it. I was able to struggle to a stand, and I hopped back down the steps to Teresa's apartment. She quickly answered and started to say, "Wow, that was quick!" But then she noticed the pained expression on my face and realized something was wrong. I tried to say something humorous, like "I just took a little trip," but it didn't come out very funny. She helped me in to the couch, and I explained to her what happened. She wanted to take me to the hospital. I kept saying no, that it was okay, I just needed to rest it for a few minutes. She helped me wrestle my shoe off, though I almost went through the ceiling, if was so painful. She placed a pillow on the coffee table for me to rest my leg on. I couldn't touch my foot or ankle, not even with the pillow.
She got an ice pack for me and we tried to figure out what to do. My little romantic evening was officially twisted (ha!) into a nightmare. I went from wanting to surprise her and make dinner, to being a patient and making her do all the work. She decided she had better hike out to my car to get the food. She didn't even know where I parked, so I had to try to explain it to her. She found it, then came back, then she had to make dinner. The pain had subsided a little bit, but it was clear I needed to get medical attention. We ate, then I told her I had better get home. I promised her I would get it checked out if it was still bothering me in the morning. She helped me get to my car, then I realized I might have a little bit of trouble.... I had a five-speed manual. I needed both feet to drive, one for the accelerator, and the other for the clutch. It was my right ankle. Teresa was immediately worried about me, and she started to volunteer to drive me home. I assured her I could do it. I would be okay. It was starting to get dark, and I didn't want her to continue to be outside (she lived in a rough neighborhood, really). I said goodbye, hopped in the car, and started for home. At first, I wasn't sure how it was going to work. I really struggled with the pedals until I got up to speed. Once I got on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and got up to speed, I could set the cruise control and pretty much stay at speed until I got to Montgomery Village. That's what I did.
It was late when I got home, so I took some pain meds, hobbled into bed, and tried to sleep. My ankle just throbbed. I couldn't even put a blanket, or a sheet, on it, it hurt so bad. I just laid there, with my leg half hanging off the bed, trying to get some sleep. I was miserable. I regretted not going to the hospital earlier. I started to wonder how I was going to work the next day. At 2 a.m., and not getting any sleep at all, I determined I would NOT be going to work. The next day showed no improvement. In fact, my ankle was swelled up like a marshmallow. I called my boss and told her what happened. I was embarrassed. She laughed, but then lectured me about not getting medical help. I had to wait until 9 a.m., but then I called my doctor, and he agreed to see me that morning. His office was all the way out in Crofton, and as hard as it was to drive the night before, it was just as hard that morning. He couldn't take x-rays, but he believed it was a sprain, and referred me to a specialist for an MRI. The results of the MRI showed there were no broken bones. Whew!
But my ankle continued to bother me for several months. I had been playing street hockey with a bunch of guys from work, and had to quit playing while it healed. My poor girlfriend went from having a nice, surprise romantic evening to having to play nursemaid and cook. She got over it, fortunately. I let her do all of the driving for a while when we were together, but it had to be in her car, since she couldn't drive a stick.
I learned my lesson. Never skip up the stairs, no matter how happy you might be. To this day, whenever the humidity gets a little high, that ankle starts to ache. I can usually tell if it's going to rain. Give me a call if you need a weather forecast.
Have a great evening, everyone!