Yesterday. Right ankle. WAS NOT MY FAULT – there was a rug and I was discarding a doggy “pee pad” (which the poor geriatric dog had partially MISSED – thus there was a PUDDLE, too) and all factors colluded against me to twist one of my weak ankles and cause me to collapse to the floor (fortuitously AWAY from the urine). It was the more common “inversion injury”:

I don’t expect sympathy at this point. Oh no. I just thought that I’d take this opportunity to selflessly educate others through my pain.

For the second time in a few short months, I recognized that I did retain a few USEFUL facts from the myriad quizzes I took while working in health care (even though I resented them as I worked in an office setting and they were primarily about clinical issues – you know – don’t stand in a puddle of blood* and whatnot). I wrote the following comment on Terry’s site when I was noting that symptoms for heart attack are often VERY DIFFERENT in men and women:

Realizing I learned SOMETHING from the stupid certification tests they made us take when I worked for a hospital that I bitched about because I did “office work” and didn’t want to know what the “gray area” meant in case of a catastrophic disaster (DON’T GO THERE, THEY MEANS THEY ARE JUST GOING TO LET YOU DIE).

What came back to me upon this special occasion was the mnemonic device/acronym “R.I.C.E.” to be used in the treatment of sprains or strains. And what is “R.I.C.E.”, one may ask (other than the staple food of myriad countries)? I will impart this wisdom forthwith.

If you strain or sprain a limb (and you KNOW it’s a sprain or strain because there are no bones sticking out of your flesh or a number of other clues that you can look up YOURSELF that might denote something OTHER than a sprain), do the following:

  • RRest the affected limb. No swing dancing. No line dancing. No Lamabada: The forbidden dance.
  • I – Apply Ice to the area. You can use a cold pack (one that comes with a cover – MY favourite – or improvise with a towel so you don’t inadvertently play “Antarctica”) or a bag of frozen peas.Okay – pardonnez-moi – but what is it with the whole “pea” thing? They always say frozen peas. I understand that they are often handy – right there in your own home, and because they are small and spherical the bag is flexible and can conform to your injury. And they ARE my favourite vegetable. But what about CORN (or, as some people call it, “Maize”)? Are we being all “anti-starch” even for EXTERNAL applications?Don’t leave ice on the sprain for more than thirty minutes (or less) at a time. Like I said, don’t accidentally play “Arctic frostbite.” You can continue periodic use of ice for seventy-two hours.
  • CCompression wraps or bandages can help support the injury and prevent further swelling. Be careful not to cut off your blood supply to the extremity. You don’t want to unintentionally play “amputee.” Compression wraps – and afterwards even a brace of some sort (I’d leave Popsicle sticks out of this one) – can be helpful for three days or longer (especially the brace).
  • EElevate the injured area. This also helps reduce or prevent swelling.I must confess that I initially forgot what the “e” stood for (Exorcism? Eroticism? Ebonics?). But I remembered all by myself. My Parents are very proud. They didn’t assist me with my Kolege edjukation for NUTHIN. And they know how important a degree in music is when it comes to first aid.

If you take the aforementioned steps as soon as possible after the injury you will heal faster. Post haste, I say! Over-the-counter pain relievers can be comforting (and stronger pain relievers MIND-BOGGLING). Avoid any medication that makes you want to dance or undulate or writhe uncontrollably. Oh – and rent crutches and milk it for all it’s worth, Baby!

Now you cannot say I never told you SOMETHING educational. And no, I’m not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV. Well, this one time I did play a woman in an “industrial” film who was exceedingly concerned about the fact that her friend’s child seemed to be running a temperature. I believe one of my lines was, “Shouldn’t we call a doctor???!!!!” Ah, the leaning in closer to her and the furrowed brow and the perfect emphasis on the word “doctor” – not too much, not too little – OOOHHHHHH the pathos. And it was all ME.

*I kid you not – someone said this to us at an orientation session during a “safety” lecture (I think he even further clarified that it was worse to stand in a puddle of blood while touching electronic equipment). He was a nurse. Admittedly, I NEVER – not even once – stood in a puddle of blood while I worked in health care.