Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's "Break a Leg," Not "Break a Foot"

Sunday afternoon was the final performance of “Remembering the 40s” at Reagle Music Theatre. The show was going wonderfully; we were all in excellent voice, the orchestra sounded magnificent, the audience was enjoying themselves thoroughly, I was caught up in the moment – and then it happened. It was the scene where the women line up in the aisles as the men are onstage in their army uniforms, singing the plaintive song, “How Soon?”, and then we hear the announcement that the war is over. The women run onto the stage to be joyfully reunited with their men, and as I ran down the aisle I caught my heel and wrenched my foot sideways. I felt a crunching sensation in my foot and a jolt of pain, but the show must go on so I managed to get myself up the stairs and onto the stage to finish the next few songs. Once I made it backstage I allowed myself to hobble and I realized just how much pain I was in. Fortunately, it was nearly intermission so I put my foot up and hoped the pain would pass, but no such luck.

Naturally, the second act has several large dance numbers that are staged in such a way that my absence would be noticeable and distracting, so I had no choice but to finish the show. Since I am an actress, I pasted a smile on my face and forced myself not to limp as I finished the show. But boy was I relieved when we took that final bow. And then it occurred to me that I had parked at the far end of the parking lot and I had to lug all my costumes and props back to the car. There was no way on earth I was going to make two trips, so I carefully draped everything over my arms and resolutely marched out of the theater.

When I looked across the parking lot, it was like a scene in a horror movie when the hero looks down a hallway and it suddenly seems to stretch out to be a mile long. My car could have been parked in China for the distance I felt like I had to walk. But Herb & I were hosting the cast party, so off I marched. I discovered that as long as I walked on the side of my foot, the pain was manageable. I must have looked like a complete idiot, with clothes piled up to my nose and a plastic shopping bag hanging off one arm and a giant pair of bolt cutters in my other hand, lurching along trying to avoid stepping on the belt that had slipped off the pile and was dangling perilously close to my feet. Several audience members stopped to tell me how much they had enjoyed the performance, and they very graciously avoided giving me funny looks. Finally I made it to my car and heaved everything into the trunk. Fortunately, the foot I hurt was my left foot so I had no trouble driving, and before I knew it I was home.

By the time I got home Herb had already begun setting out the food, so I joined in by putting out plates and cups and silverware and napkins and all those other little sundries. Of course, every time I thought of something else we needed it turned out to be in the pantry down in the basement, but between hanging onto the banister and hopping on my good foot, I got down the stairs without killing myself.

When the troops began arriving, I had Ryan in my arms, but between all his adoring fans in the cast and his adoring grandparents, it wasn’t long before he was being passed around and I could crash into a chair and relax for a moment. Eventually I even found myself an ice pack and sat back with a plate of goodies to just enjoy the company. It turned out to be a terrific party that ended with one of the guys in the cast picking up a guitar and leading a sing-along to lull Ryan to sleep. I brought him upstairs and tucked him in and after a few more songs, the troops all headed out. Herb took charge of most of the cleanup, and I went and soaked in a hot tub for a bit, then went to bed at around 10:00.

I woke up at about 9 the next morning and grimaced as I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and realized I still couldn’t put any weight on my foot. I’d been hoping that it was just a sprain and that it would be better after a good night’s sleep, but now I was recognizing more than a passing resemblance to the pain in my other foot from a few months ago that turned out to be a stress fracture. Being completely doctor-phobic, I was fully prepared to just let it heal on its own, but naturally my concerned husband insisted that I see a doctor. So I told him if he made the call I’d keep the appointment, but I wanted to at least wait one more day to see if it improved. Yeah, no such luck. This morning I still can’t put any weight on it. So he made the call. Unfortunately, the first appointment they had isn’t until the day after tomorrow, so I’ll just have to wait a few more days.

I’m pretty sure it’s broken, and I’m also pretty sure it’ll be fine in a few weeks. But I should just warn all my theater friends to be very careful the next time they tell me to “break a leg”. I just might take it a bit more literally than they intended!

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