I want to be very clear: This was NOT a skiing accident. Yes, I was in Vermont. Yes, I was on ice. And yes, I broke my ankle. But this was not a skiing accident.
I was in a parking lot. I slipped. The left leg got caught underneath my considerable Gersh — and the rest is injury.
It all happened so quickly: One minute, I’m winning an award from a national newspaper association (did you hear? I’m editor of the year! Insert one of my incessant self-promotional quotes here), the next minute, I’m lying on my back wondering if I’ll ever walk again.
Two days later — after walking again (and again and again, which wasn’t such a smart idea) — I went to the emergency room at New York Methodist Hospital to get two pieces of bad news: the ankle was broken in two places and I was an idiot to have spent the whole weekend walking around on it.
“You must have the highest threshold of pain I’ve ever seen,” said Carina Loscalzo, the physicians assistant who took the now-legendary X-ray (pictured) and cared for me in the Methodist ER on Sunday night.
I assured her that she was wrong (I cry during haircuts).
Yes, I may be editor of the year, but I’m no Christopher Reeve.
You remember Reeve, the “Superman” star who became a paraplegic after falling off his horse — he was a guy who exhibited heroism and guts every day.
Since my accident, I have done nothing but exhibit self-pity and bile (ask my wife — if she has a minute to talk in between caring for three kids: my daughter, my son and me).
Yet, in one sense, I’m a role model (“Hey, kids, don’t break your ankle. It really sucks! I had half of my pinky amputated when I was 6 — and I haven’t missed it for a minute. But losing an ankle? That’s a killer. Believe me, take drugs, drop out of school, have unprotected sex, but do not break your ankle. It’s the worst!”).
And hobbling around has allowed me to appreciate all the things I once took for granted, like the ability to make a bus, walk 10 steps without coughing up a lung, or enjoy the smile of a small child running down the street (now it’s “Get away from me, kid! Watch out for the leg!”).
That said, people on the street have been so kind to me as I’ve hobbled along. They’ve gotten out of the way. They’ve gawked sympathetically. And apparently, my broken ankle is an open invitation for complete strangers to unburden themselves of their own personal injury sagas.
“Get used to it!” one man told me. “I had a broken ankle and I was on crutches for a year!”
Another man told me that after I heal, my ankle will be feeling weather changes six hours before they happen.
I have even started enjoying the bus commute.
Having been forced to eschew the subway (there’s no way I can make it down those stairs with those crutches and my popgun biceps), I’ve been taking the B69 between DUMBO and Park Slope. Unlike the subway, everyone seems to know each other on the bus — it’s like a rolling party instead of a sardine can.
But I miss my ankle. I miss his curvy bulge. I miss his little limp. I miss his little sarcastic snap in the morning.
Get well, soon, little guy. No, really, get well soon.
Kuntzman’s ankle is expected to be in a cast for five more weeks. Will he be free of this papier-mache prison in time to collect his Editor of the Year award in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on Feb. 21? Watch for updates. In the meantime, sympathy cards and fruit baskets can be sent to The Brooklyn Paper.