Broken Ankle ER & Surgery Tips

What to grab on your way to ER with broken ankle

If you have time to grab anything …

  • Squeezeball or anything you can squeeze to help with pain since you won’t necessarily get pain meds right away.
  • Comfortable clothes that are easy to put on and take off, packable blanket, layers. ER rooms are cold and they piled multiple warm blankets on me that got tangled up in a puzzle. Next time I’d grab my own blanket on the way out the door.
  • Pants with wide legs. On the way to the ER you just need to get pants over swollen ankle. When you leave the ER you’ll likely have a bulky splint or cast.
  • A case for your glasses (if you wear glasses) because you might need to take them off at some point.
  • Entertainment — there’s a lot of downtime in the ER when injured people come in who are higher priority.
  • Earbuds to listen to something other than what people in other rooms area saying
  • Postits — or notepad — and pen (I like to write things to remember on postits and I grabbed some before we left for ER)
  • Water bottle (because nurses aren’t always available to get you water)

What to bring to hospital for outpatient surgery

  • I am a minimalist when I travel and I didn’t know what to bring to hospital and I completely over packed. Scheduled hospital surgery is VERY different from ER.
  • For example, in the ER they never changed me into a hospital gown. I was in my street clothes (including shoe on one foot) all day.
  • My outpatient surgery experience was efficient and I didn’t have the waiting time like I had in ER. I had brought my watch, an iPad, earbuds, bottle of water, notebook and pen, hand cream, hat, compression sock for my healthy leg, and so on.
  • I was changed into a hospital gown, and one hospital issued grippy sock, almost immediately and my backpack was taken away so I didn’t use most of what I packed.
  • Next time I would only wear (though I hope there isn’t a next time):
    - Tshirt
    - Zip up hoodie
    - Wide leg sweatpants
    - Comfortable sock and shoe on healthy leg
  • Next time I would only bring:
    - Phone
    - Packable blanket (because hospitals are cold)
    - ID and insurance card
    - Earbuds
    - Lip balm

While I was searching the internet for stories of ankle injury and surgery experience (to compare/commisserate with my experience), I found this: Tips on how to survive a broken ankle by Daina Lightfoot. Thanks so much, Daina for writing this up in 2018 for everyone who has/is experiencing ankle injury and surgery. Especially since the first time can be so terrifying and knowing what to expect is helpful.

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