This is Jill, and she wants to tell you a horrible story about how a medical error cost her both her health and her sporting career.
For as long as Jill can remember, she’s always been a huge fan of figure skating. Her family mocked her all the way – they were all into basketball and football, while she was interested only in watching athletes on ice. Wwhen the time came to choose some sports club, they took her to a skating rink without thinking twice.
They aren’t very rich, and this kind of sport requires lots of investment – skates, clothes, all the stuff. She was so grateful that she decided once and for all that she would never let them down. Her coach wasn’t convinced at the beginning – she was pretty big for her age, but then he had to change his mind.
Jill was literally working her socks, or rather her skates, off. And she knew what she was doing it for – first, she wanted to grow up and do international competitions, and become a big skating star like her idols. And second, she wanted to earn lots of money and help her family, who spent a lot to make sure she could continue with her skating.
She was always the first person to arrive at the gym and work out, and the last one to leave the ice after endless training sessions of jumps, spins, and all the rest – first with her coach, then on her own. She achieved good results rapidly – she managed to go to several competitions and win them. She was her coach’s favorite student; the one who was more determined than anyone else.
What could go wrong? But then one day, she was in the gym doing training jumps on the floor, and after one of them she didn’t land very well. She felt an acute pain in her foot, but not in the normal place – somewhere in the middle, as if she had strained it. Well, trauma is a normal thing for a person doing sports. It will pass, she thought. But it didn’t. She was training on the ice, and it hurt so bad that she had tears in her eyes. Her coach noticed that something was wrong, and asked her what was going on. She told him that she had slightly injured her foot, but that it was nothing to worry about.
It didn’t get better the next day, and she was now limping even when she was just walking. Her coach noticed it and was furious – she had a huge competition coming up, and had to train every day. She had to go see a doctor to check her foot. He did an x-ray but didn’t detect any problems there. She could return to her training. But the pain didn’t go away. She didn’t deliver, and her coach was furious. He even said that she was lazy because she didn’t manage to make a simple spin. She was not lazy – she was just in pain! She burst into tears and told her coach about her problem.
He thought that a second opinion would be useful, and made an appointment with a specialist he knew. And you know what? The same result! But still the situation got worse. It was hard to walk, let alone skate. She had no visible trauma, so she had no excuse to refuse going to training and letting everyone down – her coach, her parents, and herself.
But once after a particularly high toe loop, Jill landed and understood that she couldn’t take that pain anymore. It was there that she understood that there was no way for her to go on training, even with all the motivation she had. Her coach was really scared on the one hand, and pissed at her on the other, convinced that she was just pretending in order to get some rest.
Her last chance was an MRI. Her coach made an appointment, and she went there certain that she would again receive the all clear as usual. The checkup went on for six hours, and the conclusion was horrible. She had a stress fracture in one of the navicular bones. Basically, a navicular bone is a tiny bone in the top part of your foot, and the stress fracture meant that it had been broken because she had trained too hard, and it simply became fragile. It would have required only a short period of healing, but it had happened already several months earlier, and as it had never been cured, the bone fragments were all around her foot!
She was operated on; the surgeons practically reconstructed her foot from scratch, and she had to learn to walk anew after the operation. And that medical error cost a lot to many people – her coach, who lost his best student; her parents, who made all those sacrifices in vain, and Jill herself – the work of her life was ruined, and her dream to be a big skating star will now never come true. The good part of it was that she is still alive, can walk alright and hasn’t become disabled, but to be honest it’s so damn hard for her to be positive now!