Broken, but not...er...Broken?

Peter Jay Sharp Volunteer House

Spring is sort of here and I'm so excited about it because it has been one BRUTAL winter! I just can't wait to go out and enjoy the warmer temps and walk around my city as I love to do! Except, wait...I can't really. Aside from the fact that there are still low temps in the forecast, I am also broken--literally. About 3 1/2 weeks ago, I was venturing out into Riverside Park for my first outdoor workout of 2015. The weather was warming up finally and I was really excited to get my exercise on, but the ground was still frozen. This means black ice was all around freezing up the melting snow that sat in the shade of trees. And what do people do on black ice? They slip on it. Which is exactly what I did. I slipped. And in my slip my body tried to take control with 16 lbs of dumbell weights on my back, but instead it broke. I felt the pain and when I looked at my foot, I knew it was dislocated, and so I went down to the ground. What's worse was that a man who saw me going down into the park warned me how slippery it was--that he almost fell twice. Clearly, I should have listened! Thankfully, I didn't fall to the ground, I just went down slowly enough that I didn't do any other damage to myself. In my vest pocket I took out my phone to see a text message coming through from my trainer--"we're on the blacktop towards 102nd street really icy" and I dialed 911. I tried to explain my location as clearly and concise as possible, but still I received a question of impossibility: at the corner of 79th Street and St. Clair Place? No, these two things could never cross--they're pretty much opposite ends of the whole park! They put me on with the dispatcher, I tried to explain again and I was told to stay there--obviously I wasn't planning on moving anywhere. One of our bootcamp members is perpetually late, and I've never been grateful for that until this day, as I sat on the frozen cold ground getting misted on, alone. Of course, as she walked over I was pleading with her to please be careful, and suggesting perhaps she didn't come over. She kindly disregarded me and came to help me anyway--I still have her yoga mat that she lent me to lean on while waiting for help to arrive. Then Nicole, our instructor came up after calling me to find out where I was. She called 911 a second time as it had been about 20 minutes since I'd first called. After clarifying our location again she was told that someone was on their way and should be there any minute now, our latecomer friend went up to the top of the stairs on Riverside Drive to wait for them so she could direct the EMTs to my location. Shortly after that they arrived.

 That Black Ice will get ya!

That Black Ice will get ya!

Three people came down the slippery slopes and stairs--actually the stairs were completely cleared up and easy to maneuver, but you get the point--there were hurdles to getting to me. I didn't keep my eyes on them the entire time, but Nicole saw them slipping as well. The first to get to me was the man, who immediately--perhaps in an attempt to make me feel I was not alone?--told me how the other EMT slipped twice on her way down. This was of no comfort, I knew the ground's status--it's what got me into this situation! The woman who had slipped didn't look at all amused and the other gal there was training so she just took my belongings--sorry girl--that means YOU get to carry the 16 lbs of weights on your back! After I explained what happened to them, this obnoxious man said that there was no other way to get to the ambulance than to use them as crutches and hobble over with my good leg. I was appalled at this idea. He promised me they wouldn't fall. They help me up, and as we slowly start to make way he tried to comfort me by saying we only have to walk up "one set of stairs"! This was no ordinary set of stairs though, it's about three flights in one staircase. Plus, I'm already feeling the most pain and agony from hopping on one leg while the other has my foot dangling off of it! As soon as we got to the stairs, which were about 20-30 feet away from where I'd landed, I requested a break. I was crying in pain and couldn't fathom having to CLIMB stairs in this condition!

riverside park

As I sat on the steps my friend and instructor argued with these EMTs about this. She tried to convince them that vehicles do have access to the park, because we see them all the time, we're just not sure where they have to enter. They argued it was too slippery and unsafe. She couldn't accept that this was how I would be getting up there, and thankfully she didn't because soon enough my real rescue team came quickly down the stairs! The EMTs who had actually been dispatched by 911 had finally arrived! And they had a chair in hand! They could carry me up together! I could tell by their inflection that they were in disbelief that this crew came down with nothing in tow. But once I was secure in this chair I didn't give a shit. The four of them worked together and got me to the top and bumpily into the ambulance of the first idiots who arrived on scene, cuz they "got there first". Nicole, then called my family to alert them to what had happened. And upon being asked if I wanted to go to Lenox Hill Hospital, 3 miles away with Central Park between us, or St. Luke's, which was about half a mile away, I responded St. Luke's, it's better!

 Yeah...that's not good.

Yeah...that's not good.

Luckily, they got me into St. Luke's and soon enough all was being taken care of, and visitors (my parents) were able to come find me. I had surgery on my broken bones the next day--I now have a metal plate and a few screws inside my body. And over the next few days, I had your typical hospital highs and lows--the highs, of course, coming from the pain meds! And once I was comfortable and confident enough to move around on the crutches on my own I was sent home! Although I didn't go home--I went to my parents' place instead. Luckily for me, as a native, they live just about 50 blocks south of me, and with my dad being retired and my mother a tour guide, they're able to take care of their grown, but immobile daughter. Two weeks after my surgery I had my follow up appointment and they removed the cast and stitches to give me my "walking boot" that I'm not aloud to walk with, as I was it'd be at least another 4 weeks from then before I could put weight on my foot. So, now I await my knee scooter, with the hopes that it will set me free at least enough to go back to my own apartment and take care of my own food, and all of those things that independent people enjoy doing! And as a foodie, my hope is that it will also allow me to start going out into the world again and eating some of the delicious food things that the internet taunts me with on a daily basis.

 Better...

Better...

I did go for a stroll yesterday, as my doting Daddy pushed me along in my wheelchair to run a few simple errands so I could get some fresh air and sunshine. I have been rather lucky that most days have been pretty crappy while I'm stuck indoors. On our walk we even discovered a new coffee shop on 72nd street, which was a thrilling experience, especially as the croissant we ordered was supplied by Dough, and it was butter perfection!

 Shari's Berries adorable get well cake pops!

Shari's Berries adorable get well cake pops!

Of course that brings me to this business of mine--of walking food tours. As every doctor and nurse who asked was quickly pitying me when I explained I am a walking tour guide/hospitality professional and am now in quite a pickle with an ankle that doesn't work! But, I know that in a few months' time all will be back to some semblance of normalcy and at some point I'll feel capable of guiding a group around my favorite NYC neighborhoods for a couple of hours. In the meantime however, what should I do? Cancel all tours until I'm able to run them again? No! I couldn't let my lack of walking interfere with my company's mission to get people good food and history in some of the less explored parts of this city! So I have an arsenal of dependable guides who are going to help me out as long as I need them--but there are some changes I've had to make in order to accommodate this new situation. First of all, I can only run a tour now with a minimum of 3 people, as my costs are much higher, having to pay another guide. Secondly, because I don't have enough tours booked to offer a guide any kind of stable work, a tour must be booked at least a week out for online bookings<--this one may change soon, once I run a few tours with the different guides. Lastly, I can't run the Food Truck Fridays tour until I'm able to be out there on my feet to meet the trucks and do the research. This tour changes more than any other one year-to-year, and because it's my baby I won't run it until I can go out on my own to do it, but as soon as that happens I will let you know!

 Whatever you're eating--I hope it's better than hospital food!

Whatever you're eating--I hope it's better than hospital food!

So I do hope that you'll try a tour with one of my new guides, or that you'll book something further out to see me after recovery! I will definitely not stop eating new things, because the beauty of the internet--and having good friends who like to spoil me, is that I can still get some of the newest bites, even in the comfort of my own home! I hope that you never suffer a slip like I did and that you keep eating your way through your favorite city like I do! For I am technically broken, but my spirit is not!