Ghost injuries weird, but make good tales


For as long as I can remember, I have been a klutz. I can fall standing still and injure myself almost without realizing it. That was the case this last week when I realized my ankle was hurting. I pulled down my sock to find the skin over my ankle bone was swollen to the size of a baseball.

The next morning, I had my husband wrap my ankle before we left on our semi-annual trip to Kansas City for the NASCAR races.

I hobbled through the weekend courtesy of the wrap and a good dose of ibuprofen.

My ankle still hurts and I’m still hobbling around — except now it’s at work.

The silly thing about this injury is I have no idea how it happened. Obviously I twisted my ankle walking on the street, stepping off a curb or even walking around my own home, but the incident apparently wasn’t big enough to stick in my mind.

Even more silly than not knowing how I injured myself is the fact that this isn’t the first time — and no doubt the last time — it’s happened.

One injury that comes to mind is a bike accident that sent me to the emergency room without any pain and with little blood.

It was the summer before fifth grade and my classmate, Danielle, was staying overnight with me while her parents were out of town.

She had brought her bike and was excited to attempt the big hill north of my house.

I preferred to ride on the straight and flat gravel road south of my driveway and had never even considered going up the hill.

But not wanting to appear a chicken, I agreed to my friend’s plan for tackling the hill. We biked and walked to the top of the hill and prepared ourselves for the ride down.

We started down, and she immediately began to peddle faster and fly down the hill. I applied the brakes, slowly creeping down the hill.

As the wind started to blow through my hair, I realized how fun the rush of going downhill actually was.

Then panic set in.

I slammed on the brakes and came to a stop along the edge of the road, with a slow tip and a sort-of fall.

I climbed off my bike and investigated my limbs for injuries. I thought I had come away unscathed until I flipped over my right arm and found a 2-inch long cut that exposed the fat under my skin.

My immediate reaction was to start screaming, even though there was little blood and it didn’t even hurt.

My friend was already far down the hill at the edge of my driveway and my mom was up by the house, so no one heard me.

I picked up my bike and started walking to the house. When I finally reached the driveway, my mom heard my screams.

Knowing I am prone to injuries, my mom told me to sit on the toilet lid and she would be there in a minute to get me a Band-Aid.

I knew a Band-Aid wouldn’t fix it, but I was too panicked to argue, so I made my way to the house.

When mom came in, I flipped my arm over and watched her face go white.

She immediately packed me, my friend and my brother into the vehicle, and we sped off to Bradshaw where my dad was at a fire board meeting.

One of the firefighters came out and looked at my arm.

“Yup, she needs to go to the ER,” he said.

“I kind of figured that, buddy, but thanks for the advice,” I said to myself.

At the hospital, the doctors were amazed that I hadn’t cut any arteries and had created an injury that didn’t bleed.

After two layers of stitches, some drugs and a big wrap on my arm, we went back home.
The next day, my parents looked over my bike several times, trying to figure out how I had cut myself. They couldn’t find anything.

As I hobble around the newsroom today, I remember that incident — and many other similar “ghost” injuries — and laugh.

There have been stitches and scars, and sometimes blood and pain. But there’s almost always a story to tell.


Shay Burk

Veteran Tribune reporter Shay Burk writes whatever is swirling around her mind each week. Read her columns on Tuesdays for her humorous thoughts on everyday life.

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