Slowly and nervously, English teacher Jessica Wilkerson proceeds down the aisle in her flowing white wedding dress, afraid to trip or make a mistake. She has been preparing for this day for several months. Wilkerson tries to maintain a confident posture despite her limping.
Just two weeks before her wedding in February, Wilkerson suddenly fell as she was leaving a restaurant, breaking her ankle.
“I was scared that [my ankle] would affect the wedding,” Wilkerson said. “After I got the injury, the doctor said I couldn’t walk on it, but I figured that whatever damage I did to it during the wedding would just be fixed during surgery.”
Her surgery was scheduled one week after her wedding. Afterwards, Wilkerson had to apply for disability leave, unable to come to school for nearly 10 weeks.
“I was scared to miss work because I have never been out of work before, even though [I was] getting paid for it,” Wilkerson said. “I still hadn’t been out of the classroom for that long to leave my students so it was just really nerve-racking, scary, and frustrating.”
During her absence, she digitally sent lesson plans to her substitute. While working remotely, Wilkerson also attended therapy to ensure a timely recovery and resume teaching as soon as possible.
“I had to go to physical therapy for six weeks,” Wilkerson said. “The best part about it was that they [would] massage your leg, but other than that, but other than that, I was [only] able to [put on] a shoe for the first time after therapy.”
Despite the incident, Wilkerson said that she was content with the way the wedding turned out, and that she was unable to feel the pain from her ankle throughout the wedding.
“I don’t know if it was adrenaline, Tylenol, or how tightly [my ankle] was wrapped, but I didn’t feel it at the wedding,” Wilkerson said. “I still had the best wedding because I married my best friend. [My ankle] didn’t take away from the day at all. Now, we have a funny story to tell our grandchildren.”