helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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Why I hate PE teachers, and other stories.

Today, I feel like crap because I'm still fighting off a cold, and my evil ankle is hurting like hell, and I have ucky period.

I have an evil left ankle because I broke it in a school PE lesson when I was 11, and only found out that it had been broken when I was 18. I have something of a bad history with school PE lessons, all things considered. The accident when I was 11 happened because some teachers were off sick and my class was put into a lesson with another class two years above us. This gave the teacher an overinflated sense of what we were capable of doing, as the older girls were much bigger and stronger. Also, in addition to being generally crap at any kind of sport, I had gone to a junior school that didn't have a gymnasium - so I'd never done gym class before arriving at this school in September. This meant that, by this lesson in January, I'd learned how to do a forward roll and that was about it.

In the lesson, an "assault course" had been set up - boxes, the vaulting horse, and other such things. We had to walk along the narrow side of the benches, which for me is torture because I can't even walk along the wide side without falling off. The lesson was bearable only because I had a couple of friends in the older class, and we could all be crap together. Until... we got to the part where we were asked to do a forward roll over a box that was at my waist-height, with only a very thin polystyrene mat as protection. I tried to get out of doing it - I remember specifically saying to the teacher "I don't know how to do this safely", those exact words - and was forced to do it. Of course, I fell - I genuinely didn't know what I was doing, and it's only because I'd done a term of judo and had learned, at least, how to break my fall that I only injured my ankle and not anything else.

My friend took me up to the San to see the nurse, and she thought it was a bad sprain. I was worried more about the fact that I was supposed to be helping my friend Trudy carry her books after breaking her leg than that I was injured myself. I asked if I should get my mum to drive me to the hospital for an X-ray, and the nurse said there was no point, it was definitely only a sprain. So I strapped it up with Tubigrips, and continued to walk on it.

A few years down the line, I had been diagnosed with a weird, "growing pains" cartilege issue called osteochronditis or Osgood-Schlatter syndrome. For several years, my mother had written a note to the school explaining that I had this condition and was not allowed to do any weight-bearing exercise - explaining that she could get the specialist to write if necessary. When it flared up, it was freaking agony and it was all I could do to walk, let alone run. So I'd "got away" with swimming for PE for ages. In sixth form, we were allowed to swim by ourselves as long as there were a minimum of three girls over 16 present and all our parents had signed permission slips. There were a handful of us who hated sports and would do swimming as a soft option - I figured that, unlike all the competitive sports, swimming was at least useful, as it could save your life if you fell into water. I'd finally had lessons and could swim quite well.

Then, one day, one of the PE teachers decided to take exception to the fact we'd be splashing around with floats and practising lifesaving rather than doing "proper" exercise (!). Apparently we were all "unfit", although I was a UK size 10 at the time and could swim non-stop for 15 minutes. She dragged us all out of the pool and made us attend a step aerobics class. I tried to argue that I wasn't allowed to do anything like that, but again, I was forced. I remember being bright red and unable to breathe, and everything going black - asthma plus bad knees means that step aerobics is a bloody stupid idea. After the lesson, I was in so much pain I could barely get myself back to our study room. It turned out I had completely put out my back - six weeks before my A-level exams were due to start! Yet more freaking X-rays revealed a scoliosis that neither the orthopedic surgeon nor the rheumatologist had bothered to tell us about, even though it was obvious on the X-rays I'd had done aged 15! Plus as a result of the untreated scoliosis, the bottom 3 vertebrae of my spine had fused together, which was how come I'd managed to put my back out. I had to have really intensive physiotherapy to get myself to the point where I could revise, let alone sit through a 3 hour exam - and I now have a spine that is damaged for life. Yay.

I found out about the ankle injury when I went to see a podiatrist recommended by the most excellent physiotherapist. She thought it strange that my knees were still messed up at the age of 18, when I'd finished growing aged 11, and thought that perhaps my gait was contributing to the problem. The podiatrist took one look at my ankle and declared that I'd broken it, and further investigation proved he was right - even I can see that my left ankle is a different shape from my right, and two or three of the bones are in the wrong place. He sorted me out with orthotics, which have improved my walking tremendously - though buying shoes is a nightmare, and one of the reasons why I always wear boots. The others are that my ankle is bad enough that I need the support, and I have to wear shoes that are deep enough to hide the orthotics in. Writing this is reminding me that I really should get some custom orthotics made again rather than relying on the shop-bought ones.

So yes - now you know why I dislike PE teachers, and have a deep resentment of the medical profession. Bad enough that the initial ankle injury got misdiagnosed, but it happens. But you really don't expect two consultants and a GP to entirely overlook something like a twisted spine! Sure, it didn't explain the problem with my knees - but it was a problem they should have told us about!

Today, the ankle pain is bad enough to make me feel like I want to puke, which is... interesting. I'm wondering if, when I have my head sorted out, I'll need to have the doctors rebreak the ankle and reset it so the bones are joined properly rather than the mess that's in there at the moment :X And then, because i'm squeamish, thinking about THAT is making me want to puke all the more! Eww.
Tags: life history, pain, spoon management, triggery stuff

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