Starting the year…all wrong

This year started in the most unexpected of ways.

The day before I went back to work, I planned to spend the entire day on the river paddleboarding. I headed out around 10:00 in the morning to paddle the flat water alone while I waited for my friends to show up at 1:00 so that we could run the rapids of the upper James. Once they arrived, we shuttled one car down to Reedy Creek and then headed back to put in at Huguenot Flatwater. (If you aren’t from Richmond, no big deal. The places aren’t important.)

Everything was going great. I spent my alone time paddling up to the Bosher Dam, splashing in the water, playing on the small rapids up by the dam. Then I floated back, laying on my board and just relaxing. I wanted to soak up that day since my paddling time was about to be slashed by returning to work.

My friends arrived and we headed down. First up, we hit Pony Pasture, which has a nice little class II with a bit of a drop. I went down to my knees for this first one and when I did a wasp, that I didn’t know was on me, stung me in the stomach. Ouch! I eddied out after the rapid and investigated the severity of the sting.

We ran the lines through the rest of Pony before hitting the flat water again at the Wetlands. We floated along and enjoyed our time talking and snacking. Next up, the Powhite Ledges, Choo-Choo and Mitchell’s Gut before we hit our take out at Reedy Creek. I could see the take out, when I went through a shallow rapid, my fin caught and I fell. My ankle went down between two rocks and I felt it snap.


Friends paddled me out, a group of kayakers used the board as a stretcher to get me out of the river and then I was taken to the ER.

X-rays confirmed the break. A splint was put on and an appointment was made with an ortho. Surgery was scheduled for a week later. I haven’t been able to put any weight on that ankle for four weeks and it will be another 3.5 weeks before I can.

Just waiting for surgery
Post surgery.
My post surgery view.

I’ve been able to return to school intermittently, depending on the  pain and swelling. I made it for the first two days of school, then was out for the rest of the week. I came back the following week for two days, then was out for my follow up.

At the end of the day, the swelling was so painful, I just laid on the floor to properly elevate.
At the end of the day, the swelling was so painful, I just laid on the floor to properly elevate.

All of this has made it very difficult to get to know my new students, set up my policies, procedures and expectations. I’ve fallen in behind in jump starting the first unit. My to-do list grows faster than I can manage it. But staying at home was more than I could handle. I needed to be at school.

It is getting better. The kids are so helpful. For the most part, I’m not having any classroom management issues. I have stay seated and keep my foot elevated. This limits movement in the room and could disrupt the learning environment, but so far, it hasn’t. **knock on wood**

How I sit to teach. Not ideal.
How I sit to teach. Not ideal.

Not the ideal way to start a new school year, but it is the only option I have this year, so I’m staying positive and keeping going. As I always say, “if you don’t bend, you are sure to break…”


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