On a beautiful Sunday 4 years ago, I was graduating from Luther College. I had spent 5 years in this wonderful place with many great stories to remember, amazing life long friends, and a degree that would take me far. I was so happy to finally have classes behind me and get that 5 seconds of fame as I crossed the stage while my name was being read. Well, things didn’t go quiet as planned!
On the way into the gym to line up in order, we went down a flight of stairs. For the life of me, I don’t know if I was too distracted by my conversations or what, but I missed the last few steps. I tumbled. I popped up quickly but there was a very sharp pain in my left foot. My wonderful friends were there saying encouraging things to try to help me shake it off. Upon looking closer at my foot, I knew it wasn’t good (Thank you nursing degree). This is when the panic and pain all really hit. I quickly sat down on the steps. Next thing I knew, one of my fellow nursing majors was next to me and asking if my blood sugar was low. I was very confused about what he was doing in my room. Quickly I realized that I had passed out and that what I thought was a dream was reality. Yes I had fallen. Yes my foot was badly hurt. Yes there was a large crowd around me. Yes I had passed out.
Being the go getter that I am I kept saying I have to walk at graduation. The reality of that was ended when I noticed that security was there and that they had found an athletic trainer to come look at me. Then I heard the dreaded words, “She needs to go to the ER. Call for an ambulance”. NO!!!
All I could do was laugh. All those years of hard work and looking forward to this day were gone. My friends knew that I was not happy with this and knew how hard to had been the last semester. They asked why I was laughing so much and all I could say was it was going to be laughter or lots of tears.
Then the funny game of trying to track my down my family began. I of course didn’t have my phone on me, and it the state I was in I couldn’t think of any number other than mine. From what others told me later I guess they made an announcement for my family in the stadium. I did eventually come up with a number for them and they were quickly on their way.
As my family was walking down the steps to where I was, the ambulance was getting ready to whisk me away. That caused the tears to start. Oh my.
While we were making the trip to the ER I realized that I knew the paramedics from when I had done ER clinicals. They told me the wonderful news that the ER was not busy. I was rushed through the ER to the x-ray and then into a room and by the time my parents got there the doctor was already in the room. He said that there was too much swelling to really tell but he didn’t think it was broken but that I tore the tendons and ligaments. Time would tell. I expressed my goal of being able to get back to graduation and he said I could. I was given a brace, crutches and some wonderful pain medication and pushed out the door. I think my parent’s thought I was a bit crazy, but I had to finish college with that famous walk.
We made it!!!! Only in the small town of Decorah can you get through the ER that fast. Security tried to stop our car but when they saw me they got me a wheelchair and whisked me to the front of the line. I began to see my friends and the tears started again. The rest is a blur. I found my spot in line, I used my crutches to walk to the stage, then I heard Amy…. (I couldn’t hear anything else). It was like a dream. The crowd was cheering loudly. I was crying and the president of the college greeted me with a hug and I received hugs from other members of the board who were on the stage. I crutched my way off and settled in the wheelchair that they have moved over for me.
I had done it!! What a day. Sadly I have very few pictures of that day, and don’t even have one of my family all together. We were all too shaken up and I was in happy land thanks to the pain medication kicking in. :) None of my friends or family will ever forget this day.
As a wrap up, I did tear all the tendons and ligaments in my left foot and was on crutches and a boot for a good portion of the summer. To this day it is fun to retell this story and see the reactions of people. I can’t believe that it has been 4 years. Time really does fly. As I wish congratulations to all those graduating I always add on, make sure you don’t end up like me!