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Taking care of myself, because no one else will

I normally hate going to the doctor.

Whenever I'm not feeling well, I usually try to forge my way through whatever malady has befallen me, so I don't inconvenience anyone else.

However, this mindset was far from me last week, when something happened which rendered me incapable of working. I twisted my ankle in positively violent fashion, and could barely walk for a couple of days.

Before I go any further, readers may want to know exactly what caused my mishap. Although I would like to be able to claim I got hurt while performing some grand task, the truth is I was walking from my van to my house after arriving home from work, and my ankle apparently decided it did not want to cooperate.

I rolled my ankle on the concrete, fell down, scraped my knee and began pondering my will to live for a few, brief seconds. I felt like an idiot.

Once I made my way to my recliner inside the house, I promptly propped my leg up and stayed off it for the next two hours. When I stood up again, the pain had not subsided, in the least.

I sat back down, hoping I'd be better by the next morning. When that day came, I was still unable to make the trek from my bedroom to the kitchen without falling into the sofa.

I knew what I had to do, so I called in sick and made an appointment to see my doctor.

Those who know me well, know it was a major milestone for me to make that decision. But in this case, there was no getting around it. I needed help and I knew I wouldn't get it, or be able to concentrate on work, if I didn't call in.

My doctor prescribed some medication for me, as well as a brace, and said I needed to get some X-rays done to make sure I had not fractured any bones in my ankle.

I immediately began panicking just a bit, but not because of the possible fracture itself. I was freaking out because next month, I will be the best man in my brother's wedding, and I had no desire to color-coordinate my tuxedo with a cast on my foot.

At any rate, I picked up my medicine and brace, and waited a few days to hear the results of the X-rays. By this time, I had returned to work, and life was getting back to normal as my limp was slowly going away.

As I have begun to improve, I've thought a lot about my tendency not to take care of myself in the way I should. It sounds simple enough, but I've started to realize that if I don't take care of myself, no one else is going to do it for me.

As a result, I've tried to make a few changes. I've made sure to take my medicine as needed, and I've worn my ankle brace every day to work.

Granted, part of the reason I'm wearing the brace is because I have no desire to experience another embarrassing episode like I did last week. But, if a little embarrassment gives me a much-needed wake-up call, it was worth it.

I also received word that I had not, in fact, fractured my ankle, and I will be able to stand next to my brother next month without a cast drawing undue attention to me. I will probably still wear my brace with my tuxedo at the wedding.

It's not nearly as noticeable, so I should be fine ... as long as the shoes aren't too slippery. I'd hate to have to call in and explain that one to my co-workers.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.