So… I fell over (Injury Update Blog 1)

So… I fell over (Injury Update Blog 1)

Around a week ago, I (Luke Hughes-Bunger, Community Chaplain) took a slip while working in our home. I was pulling some network cables through the wall, and as I was grabbing another tool, stepped on a wire-puller that had been left on the floor. On our hard wooden floors, this had no traction, and my full weight came down on my right ankle and foot as the buckled underneath me.

I had twisted my right ankle, which was certainly painful, but also felt something “pop” in my right foot which was a much bigger concern. Immediately, I knew something was not right. I was in extreme pain, and could not put any weight on my foot or ankle, which began to swell immediately.

We went to the hospital for x-rays, and to figure out how bad it really was. We were also due to fly to Chilliwack for a doctors appointment for Ruth a few days later, and so needed confirmation I’d be good to fly, if nothing else. After a few hours in the ER, I saw a doctor, and we were initially encouraged that there was no broken bones or obvious dislocations, and it appeared just to be a bad sprain or soft-tissue injury.

I was told to keep it elevated and iced, and that it should begin improve in the coming days. However, still, something didn’t feel quite right. When I mentioned where was hurting, the location and intensity of the pain clearly seemed to concern the ER doctor who assessed my injury, as he went back and checked, and rechecked the x-rays multiple times while I was there. He couldn’t see a fracture, but was obviously not entirely convinced by this either. So, I was told to keep an eye on it, and watch for certain warning signs, but otherwise, there didn’t seem to be anything more he could do.

So, reassured that it wasn’t anything more than perhaps a nasty sprain or pulled muscle, we flew to Chilliwack for Ruth’s appointment. The flight was unusually uncomfortable, but the staff couldn’t have been more helpful, and we made our way to the hotel WorkSafe had booked for us, which was incredibly comfortable. Even if it wasn’t going to be quite what we’d imagined, we settled in for a nice few days away (even if it was going to be peppered with doctors appointments).

The following morning, however, I received a series of frantic messages from an unknown number

A quick google search later, and indeed, it seemed that this was likely to be the case.

The “lisfranc joint complex” is a series of bones and ligaments in the middle of your foot that connect the midfoot and forefoot, which help create the “arch” in a person’s foot.

Telltale signs of a lisfranc injury include swelling on the top of the foot, and bruising on the bottom — the warning signs the doctor had already mentioned, and both of which I was already beginning to notice.

I’d first noticed a small bruise on the bottom of my foot even before we’d left. But, it was much smaller than the photos I’d seen online, and, naïvely perhaps, I’d just assumed it was just where I’d stepped on the tool. But by the time the doctor had messaged me, the bruising was already much more pronounced, and there really wasn’t any other explanation. But before we jumped to conclusions, we still had to confirm.

After returning from Chilliwack, we took ourselves to the hospital in Fort St. John for a follow up CT scan, and, after sending the scan’s to the specialist radiologist in Vancouver to be sure, the doctor confirmed — it was definitely a lisfranc injury which would require surgery to correct.

What’s Next?

As lisfranc surgeries are both rare (accounting for just 0.2% of all fracture and dislocation surgeries), and relatively complex, they are not performed in Fort St. John.

There is a doctor in Prince George who can perform the surgery, and so now, we are waiting for him to contact us about when he can fit us in.

We will need to travel to Prince George for the surgery. Ideally, according to the ER doctor here, they really want to be able to perform surgery within no more than 14 days after the injury, in order to avoid further complications, meaning it is likely I will need to travel down at some point this coming week.

We do not yet have a timeline for precisely when this will be, or any idea about the practicalities of getting down there given Ruth’s own recovery after her fall (the furthest she’s driven so far is Fort St. John, and even that took a lot out of her). But as soon as we know more, we will definitely let you know.


Recovery from this injury can be a pretty long journey. Typically, there should be a period of 6-8 weeks following the surgery where there is no weight bearing on the foot, at all. My foot and ankle will be immobilized in a non-weight bearing cast during this time, followed by another 4-6 weeks in a weigh-bearing cast or boot. Realistically it could be more than 3 months in a cast, before I can begin rehab proper. Full recovery can take more than a year, even after this, pain can remain, and arthritis is always a risk.

How does this affect Hudson’s Hope Chapel, and Community Chaplaincy?

In the short term, probably quite significantly.

Depending on when we need to travel to Prince George, and how long we need to stay there post surgery, there could definitely be 1 or 2 more weeks where we will be away, and therefore unable to meet for church. If we’re here, I plan to host our church on Sunday, but it’s hard to guarantee this at this time.

It also means we will need to be ready to travel down at short notice, making it difficult to schedule anything much in advance. It’ll be hard to book any meetings or events until after the surgery is complete, and we have a more clear recovery timeline. You’re always welcome to stop by and visit, of course, but we may need to leave at a moment’s notice, or may not be up for visiting, so if we’re not around, don’t be surprised or offended.

However, once we’re back, post-surgery, our hope is that not too much will change.

Once surgery is complete, and we’re back home, we’ll be able to begin to meet once again for our weekly worship services. I can do this sitting down, and it will definitely be good to worship together, and see people regularly.

While I won’t be able to walk or drive for a while, many of my community roles will also continue. I can continue to open the thrift store with Ruth on Tuesday’s and run our coffee house — just don’t be offended if I don’t stand up to welcome you when you come in!

I can also still perform most of my community chaplaincy duties like spiritual guidance and counsel, and pastoral care, prayer, one-on-one visitation, etc. either from our home (if you can get to me) or remotely, via Zoom, phone, etc.

In-person visitation may be a little more difficult initially, but once we begin to figure out what is, and isn’t possible, and find alternative ways to move around, I am sure some things will be doable too. There are plenty of mobility aids that are designed for this kind of injury, and help people regain independent movement after surgery, and as soon this is complete, I’ll be looking into what will works best for me. Once we’ve found the right fit, I’ll definitely be able to move around a little more freely, even during the initial non-weight-bearing period.

As far as other events go (weddings, funerals, etc), my commitment is that I will work with you to ensure something is possible.

Anything that I can do seated, on crutches, or using some other mobility aid, I am happy to do. If you’ve got an event in the calendar, or have something come up, please reach out as soon as possible, and I’ll work with you to figure out what is, and isn’t feasible at your venue. But as long as you’re happy with the fact I’ll potentially be in a cast, and seated or using a mobility aid, and I can physically get there, I’m still very happy to officiate your event.

If that’s not suitable or appropriate, then I can also work with you to help secure alternative officiants who may be able to perform your service too. There are several other people I know in our region who may be able to assist, and would be happy to put you in touch with them.

How to help?

The main way people can help is prayer. This makes the biggest difference, I am convinced. Please pray for a miraculous recovery, for wisdom and guidance about how we should proceed, and for the doctors and specialists making the decisions.

There are also some unexpected expenses that have come as a result of this. First and foremost, we are still waiting on my MSP coverage to be confirmed, following my change of role and status here in Canada. While we (and the hospital, and Health Insurance BC) are all hopeful that this will be confirmed soon, and will be covered under our MSP, right now, all of this is still technically being accounted for as a self-pay treatment. If things don’t go our way, the ER visits, x-rays, CT-scan, and, yes, even surgery, may need to be paid for out of pocket. Please do pray that this gets resolved quickly, as it is a huge additional stress for us at this time.

Even assuming Health Insurance BC are ultimately able to cover our direct costs, there are likely to be a number of indirect costs that will also add up, including travel expenses, accommodation in PG if Ruth and Isobel need to stay overnight, cost of pain medication, purchasing suitable mobility aids, and ongoing physiotherapy and rehab once the casts come off, to name just a few. Right now, my only source of income is donations and sponsorship, so if anyone feels that they wish to support us financially, even if only short term during this time, you can do so via our giving page.

I am hugely thankful to everyone who helped us get on top of our yard, and cleaned throughout our house while we were away — it was a huge blessing to come home to. Weekly cleaning tasks like vacuuming and mopping are among those tasks that could be a little difficult for a while, so if anyone is able to assist with that, especially before our Sunday services, we would appreciate it immensely.

Beyond that, limited mobility and inability to put weight on my foot means it is likely that I won’t be able to be quite as on top of things like grocery store shops as I’d like, and standing in front of the stove may prove difficult. If anyone feels able to provide meals, especially during the first few days after surgery, we would definitely appreciate it.

Additionally while our plan is very much still to host lunch after our Sunday service, at least for the first few weeks, they will definitely need to have a bit more of a pot-luck feel. If anyone is willing or able to take point on planning this, and putting together a rota of who will be responsible for bringing what, that would be much appreciated — please reach out and we can begin to put this together.


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