Doctor accuses woman of lying after she sprains her ankle sitting on her chair at work

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I sprained my ankle at work one Thursday afternoon when I was a bank teller. Even though it happened many years ago, I remember it was a Thursday because I felt disappointed to get only Friday off with sick pay before being forced to return to work on Monday morning.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that working in a bank seems to be the last place someone would sprain an ankle. The way it happened was admittedly odd. In fact, the way I sprained my ankle at work was so odd that the emergency room doctor who examined me accused me of lying.

Why would anyone lie about spraining their ankle at work?

As I mentioned, I was at work on a Thursday afternoon when it happened. Since I was short, standing five-feet zero inches, and the bank tellers sat atop high office chairs that looked more like bar stools, I had to get creative when climbing onto my seat.

I'd walk toward my high stool, turn around, hook the high heel of my right shoe onto the base of the chair and hop atop the seat in one smooth movement. Only on this Thursday afternoon, the movement wasn't as smooth as I expected.

My foot got caught thanks to the same high-heeled shoe I'd been using to rocket myself into a sitting position atop the chair. My ankle twisted, and I felt an immediate burst of pain from my Achilles tendon to my mid-calf.

I didn't realize exactly how much damage I'd caused until an hour later when I slid off my chair onto the floor and landed on my right foot. "Well, that's not good," I thought.

After hobbling around for nearly an hour, I'd had enough. "I have to go to the emergency room," I said.

When I explained to the emergency room doctor that I'd hurt my foot as I was attempting to sit on my chair at work, he immediately accused me of lying. I tried to explain the situation, my high-heeled shoes, and the height of the chair in question, but he wouldn't listen.

He examined my ankle and declared it was a sprain, but he sent me for x-rays just to make sure I had broken no bones. Fortunately, my bones were all intact.

The emergency room doctor wrote me a note excusing me from work until Monday morning, meaning my sprained ankle would afford me a single day off with pay.

I could have gotten a single day off with pay just by calling my boss in the morning and telling her I was sick. So I don't know why the doctor seemed so upset with my perfectly honest description of how I'd hurt my ankle.

He didn't offer me any prescription medication or suggest using crutches or a cane, but sent me on my way with just the note for work and the uneasy feeling that he thought I'd done something wrong.

What do you think? Why could the emergency room doctor have found my sprained ankle story so distasteful? Comments are welcome.

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