The mangled ankle and the miracle Tico

(To read El Gringo Feo’s Costa Rica Diary from the beginning, start here.)

Tuesday, September 11

Low tide was at about 9 o’clock yesterday morning, so at 10 I set off for the Whale’s Tail. What a difference a day makes. After Sunday’s crowds of happy Ticos, the beach yesterday was desolate. I had it pretty much to myself, passing only an occasional beachcomber. By the time I got to the tail, the tide already was coming up, with water from both sides starting to overlap the sand bar leading out to the rocks.

On the way back, I figured I’d swing by Flutterby House for lunch. They have decent fish tacos and wireless, which would allow me to download the latest episode of the Revolutions podcast.

That’s where things took a turn for the worse.

The dirt roads here are often mud pits flooded with water, which describes the route I chose to Flutterby House. It started off fine. I was feeling my way through it and while my Birks were getting muddy, it wasn’t too bad. Then I hit a stretch where about a 18 inches of mud was under the water. I think I was on something rocky and when I stepped off it, my foot slid into the mud, sending me twisting to the ground. I heard a pop in my ankle and managed to lose both of my sandals.

This wasn’t good.

So there I am, ass covered in mud, taking the whole Gringo Feo thing to an entirely new level as I sifted through the mud trying to recover my sandals. I found one almost immediately and was starting to lose hope for the second, dreading the walk home with only one sandal. I already had walked about 4 miles on the beach, and the route home was rocky.

Ankle on ice.

That’s when my saviors emerged, three Ticos pushing bicycles along the far opposite side of the mud-pit road. They were older, maybe 50s or even early 60s, and rather than burst into laughter at the sight of a Gringo groveling in the mud, one of them put his bike down and started helping me look for the missing zapata, which he located almost immediately by noting my path into the mud and looking farther back instead of the spot where I had fallen.

¡Que milagro! I called out. (What a miracle.) I thanked them profusely in Spanish and then started to think about how I was going to get home. At that point, I knew I’d twisted my ankle pretty severely, but there wasn’t much pain. So I decided to head back toward the beach, where I could step out into the surf to wash off the mud, and continue from there. As I walked it was clear my ankle was sprained, but I took it slowly and got back to the house.

Once there, I put the ankle on ice and started munching ibuprofen. It looks as if I’ll be out of action for at least a few days. There’s a good bit of swelling, but the pain is manageable and I can walk on it, though gingerly. I’m hoping if I stay off it and read for a few days it will recover. I’m still worried about that pop I heard when I went down but at this point I’ll have to wait and see. Fortunately, I’m stocked up on food so I don’t have to go anywhere for a while. This morning I’m encouraged at the fact that it didn’t worsen overnight. I think that’s a good sign. And based on everything I’ve read on the Internet, the key from here is to stay off it as much as possible and let it heal. If the swelling or pain increase, I’ll call a cab and go to the medical clinic.

So the next few updates will more likely read like a hospital chart.

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5 Responses to The mangled ankle and the miracle Tico

  1. Lauri says:

    How is your ankle?

  2. john baker says:

    I hope the ankle doesn’t stop the blog, I’ve been enjoying these posts. Just got caught up after my Ohio trip.

  3. Bob Benz says:

    Still blogging. Just not as much to write about now that I’m housebound. Hope the trip to Ohio went as well as could be expected.

  4. Bob Benz says:

    It’s not worse, which I take to be a good sign. Hoping to see some improvement over the next few days.

  5. John Baker says:

    As well as can be expected, is very accurate. The big thing was, Annie and I got along with my brother better than we have in many decades. This would make those on the other side very happy. Good luck with the ankle. I’ve had my share of those injuries. Big thing is not to re-injure. The whales tale will still be there when it’s better…

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