Why They Don’t Let Me Outside

[An occasional series about my days at work. See links to other posts at the end of this one].____As an oral historian, my fieldwork usually involves traveling to interviewees’ homes for interviews, transcript deliveries, and other tasks.  Fieldwork to me does not usually translate trees and dirt as it might for others.  Once in a while, I get to tag along for an archaeological site visit, explore a historic building, participate on our public outreach projects, or visit Overhills.  However, it’s been a while since I’ve had to any of those, as most of the oral history project has recently been organizing content and editing the report – desk work. Needless to say, when presented with the opportunity to join a few coworkers on a field trip/site visit/investigation yesterday, I was thrilled.

We happily trekked into the woods in the sunny, 35 degree weather, bundled up and cameras in hand. We found what we were looking for: the former railway bridge abutments and bed. See pictures.

Railroad bridge abutment from the ground.

Railroad bridge abutment from the ground.

So you can see the scale.

So you can see the scale.

Over the river.

Over the river.


I love the cold, taking pictures, historic sites, and being outside during the day. I tend to feel like a little kid on such days. Because of this happy-go-lucky attitude, I nimbly climbed up the steep hill to railroad bed and snapped a few pictures. And then I jumped down about one foot, from part of the railroad bed to another, landing on a pile of dirt. However, as soon as I landed, I felt a shooting pain through my ankle and my leg. Ouch. Because I have resilient, strong ankles and this has happened to me before, I figured it would pass in a few minutes. I could still walk, stand, and within a few minutes the shooting pain was gone and the tingling was dull. I didn’t need to tell anyone, except one coworker.  We spent most of the day outside, walking, during which time my ankle wasn’t really a concern.  As we headed back to the office I could feel my ankle getting tighter. The pain continued to increase for the next hour of work and then on my drive home. I believe I spent my drive home biting my lip. I also realized how much I move my feet when I drive. This wasn’t something I had previously considered.

Upon arriving home, Vinny asked how my day was. I said, it was great, but I think I sprained my ankle. His response, “What were doing at work?”  After removing my boots and socks, I confirmed that my ankle was indeed swollen. And then pain continued to increase. I didn’t think an ankle could hurt so much! Ice was not helping.  I thought that maybe if I moved around like I had at work, it wouldn’t hurt so much. Not true. You probably wouldn’t believe how much this hurt.

Around dinner time, I sat in the kitchen with Vinny and one of our friends. I lost my appetite because somewhere along the way I turned nauseous.  Knowing this was somehow related to my ankle and wanting to get out of the kitchen, I went to the medicine cabinet to get some Tylenol.  I looked at the capsules, thought oh man, I have to swallow these. I need water. I put one in my mouth, leaned against the cabinet, and the next thing I knew Vinny was waking me up on the bathroom floor.  I fainted, apparently, in such a way that it looked like I had hit the toilet in the tiny bathroom and hurt my neck.  (Now that’s one way to scare my fiance and our dinner guest).

Vinny confirmed that I was okay and then I realized that I managed to somehow chew the Tylenol while fainting. That did not taste good, if you’re wondering. The guys got me situated on the couch and within 1 ½ hours or so, I felt much better, hungry again, and my ankle felt 100 times better. Today it’s sore and has a dull pain but nothing like yesterday. It turns out the sprain was more of a mild hyper-extension (so say the preservationist and English teacher).

After all of this, I figure this is why they keep me inside at work (just kidding). While working here I have driven down dirt roads only to be chased by dogs, been lost in rural Harnett County with the gas tank on E and no cell phone or gas station in sight, been stuck in a mud puddle, been trapped listening to crazy medical stories, flung dirt all over myself, and now this. I sound like a lot of trouble, but I’m really not! It’s just always an adventure.


Other days on the job: Johnny, Break Out those Recorders, Those Unknown Photograph Subjects, Abstract Communities, Digital Work: Today’s Problem, Oral History & Me? It’s Complicated, Oral  History Musings, My Ode to Oral History, Another Day in the Field, Playing Archaeologist, 3 Hours in the Life of an Oral HistorianOr just click the “Working” tab under Categories on the sidebar.

4 thoughts on “Why They Don’t Let Me Outside

  1. Erin says:

    haha wow good job dude, that was a fun blog to read though sounds like fun stuff, or as fun as historic preservation can get haha jk 🙂

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