Well, it finally happened

I broke a bone. Unfortuately, it happened on a long-awaited European trip. Thursday night, while entering my hotel room, I tripped over a threshold/my own feet in the dark and landed with excrutiating pain in my left leg. I thought it would be better i the morning, so I went to sleep. The next morning, I could not put weight on my foot and it had a deformity. Off to AKH in Vienna, the 2nd largest hospital in Europe. The xray revealed broken lateral and medial ankle bones. A plaster cast was placed and my trip was over.
However, the airline I had tickets with would not let me fly until Monday at the earliest. I had to leave Vienna and continue by train to Munich.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6839 posts

What a bummer:( Do you have medical/evacuation insurance? They might be able to arrange for you to return home first class, so you have extra room for your leg.

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

Part 2 In Munich, after much-appreciated help from a non-English speaking Turkish woman who refused my offer of payment, I checked into my hotel, where they were also happy to help and resigned myself to a weekend indoors. I did have one card up my sleeve. I called another airline, who had a non-stop flight the very next day from Munich to Chicago, and even booked a round-trip flight, with return to Munich next spring, so I could save money. That customer service rep (from United, surprisingly) was an angel. I made it back to Chicago yesterday and have an appointment tomorrow to determine if I need surgery.
I've discovered that most people, when they see people struggling, are only too happy to help. There are are a lot of really beautiful people on earth, and I can only ask all of you to offer assistance if you see someone who needs it. You will be rewarded handsomely.

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

Unfortunately, Michael, I did not have travel insurance, but I was only charged 250 euro for my hospital bill, which my insurance company here will reimburse me for. I was able to reschedule my untaken return flight from Berlin to coincide with my flight to Munich next year for a fee. I also found out American Express, which I will apply for soon, will reimburse for costs of taxis, ambulances, etc abroad.

Posted by Randy
Minneapolis, MN, USA
1508 posts

So sorry to hear that, Emily. It could happen to anyone. You have handled it with grace and were assisted by kind people everywhere (including rational medical fees in Europe and rational behavior it seems from home insurance coverage and airlines). I'm glad to hear you weren't subjected to the $5,000 or $50,000 or $500,000 in "evacuation fees" people love to warn others about. It seems all you really needed was some kindness and level-headedness. Now you have the certainty of another trip to look forward to!

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6839 posts

Emily was very "fortunate" (for lack of a better word) that the break wasn't more serious. Had it been more severe and required several rows of seat to be pulled up, a special cot installed, ambulance services, and a nurse.......I doubt the airline would have been so "level headed" about it.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo
653 posts

Emily, the airline may not have wanted you to fly so soon for medical reasons (blood clots, etc.). I think you are very fortunate that everything worked out so well, and enjoy your next trip!

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3582 posts

A 'simple' broken ankle wouldn't require evacuation; that's reserved for multiple injuries, heart patients - patients that require medical personnel to accompany them. That's what costs tens of thousands of dollars. A broken leg that must be kept horizontal (3 coach seats or 2 first-class seats) would also be covered by trip medical insurance. Emily, I'm so sorry about your ankle AND your trip! I'm also glad your newly-broken and newly-set ankle didn't swell to the size of a watermelon. It happens. The point of insurance is that this would have cost me about $50-60 - period. Luckily, you could use those round-trip tickets next year...and I bet you're going to be painstakingly careful with those lovely lumpy, bumpy doorway thresholds. As will I; thanks for the reminder!

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
6839 posts

"...A 'simple' broken ankle wouldn't require evacuation; that's reserved for multiple injuries, heart patients - patients that require medical personnel to accompany them. That's what costs tens of thousands of dollars. A broken leg that must be kept horizontal (3 coach seats or 2 first-class seats) would also be covered by trip medical insurance...." As long as you can get a doctor to sign-off on it, evacuation coverage will "kick-in" for a broken ankle. While it wouldn't require seats to be torn up, the the evacuation company would have made arrangements for a first-class seat for the extra room. I know someone who broke an elbow overseas, and they were given a first class seat for the extra room as well; covered by the policy. For a severe leg break that needs seats to be uprooted, my insurance company will not cover that...I have specifically asked them. At least in my case, only separate evacuation coverage would pay for it.

Posted by Emily
Chicago
256 posts

Thank you everyone for your kind words. I had surgery on my ankle Monday and am now recuperating at my wonderful boyfriend's apartment, as my condo is a 3rd floor walkup, not too easy for someone on crutches. I didn't really need to elevate my leg on a seat while I flew because the plaster cast really compressed the ankle and provided a lot of support. The in-flight pillows did the trick, and my aisle neighbors were very helpful in assisting me with arranging them.
Ankles are not too difficult to break-everyone watch their steps!!!!

Posted by Eileen
Texan in CA
3582 posts

I'm so glad you're on the mend, and wish you a speedy and complete recovery! You've still got places to go, and things to do. Yea for your fantastic nurse, too - he doesn't know just how important his help is to you, but you do :-D I've had some wonderful 'aisle neighbors' - in fact, one of them recognized me weeks later at HIS restaurant in Paris! It's a Small World; be nice to your 'aisle neighbors', because you never know when you'll see them again... Watch those raised thresholds and uneven cobblestones!