Monday, November 10, 2014

The ghosts of stitches past

*** Friday, December 13, 1985 ***

My knee shortly
after my meniscus
repair 3 years ago
It was a relatively typical Friday at college.  My creative writing class ended and I had nothing to do for several hours until my volleyball class.

On Mondays and Wednesdays I had computer class after writing.  Even on those days I would head to the gym early to get a little extra v-ball time.

I loved the game, and I was pretty good. 

The teacher in the early volleyball class liked having a few of us from the later class because she could divide the class into four equal teams.  Fridays I could spend the full 90 minutes ... the warm-ups, the drills ... serving, diving for balls, spiking and blocking.

Well ... I wasn't supposed to practice the blocking.  The teacher was taking a liability risk having me in the class, and blocking can be a little dangerous if one is not careful. 

But I liked blocking.

I scooted to the defensive side of the net and stuffed spike after spike back onto the other side of the court.  The timing, the feel ... the thud of the hit followed immediately by the thud of the block ... hanging in midair for a moment before landing on the wooden gym floor ... until ... 

It is amazing how many things can go through your mind in a fraction of a second ... it is amazing how long a fraction of a second can last.

He jumped, eyes focused on a perfect set.  I elevated to meet the attack ... hands together ... extended over the net ... pressed as far to his side as I could without touching the net.  

He hit.  

I blocked.  "Stuffed again!"  I tried to keep my thoughts to myself, but sometimes the words blurted out.  "Ha ha ... love it!," I said as I watched the ball bounce off his shoulder.  "Maybe Burger King today.  Wait ... what's he doing?"  I thought.  "Naah.  Stay on campus."  My eyes snap off the ball and look down to check what he was doing.  "Shit!!  Moron!! Damn!"  

The fool had slid under the net to get out of the way of the next hitter.  Apparently he forgot I needed to land.  He looks up at me ... he looks scared.

"OK ... What do I do?  I weigh over 200 pounds ... he weighs what ... 130 ... maybe."  My brain is beginning to spin out of control.  "Do I land on him? ... A sandwich from the cafeteria ... That would hurt him pretty bad ... Can I avoid him? ... I wonder if they have any more of those cookies ... Maybe coffee ... If I try to avoid him I might land wrong ... What if I hurt him ... What if I get hurt ... I don't really need coffee ... "

I felt gravity pull me back toward him.  

I tried to miss ... I widened my stance hoping I would ... maybe wind up straddling him.

I almost did.

My 28 year old surgery scar
Don't be distracted by the ugly foot
with the deformed pinkie toe
My left foot caught his right shoulder and all 200 plus pounds pushed my leg beyond my teetering foot.

I heard the pops ... two of them, like gunshots.  They rattled my body.

I crumple to the floor staring at a foot that is facing more than 90 degrees from where it is supposed to.  "I've never seen the bottom of my shoe like this before ... Oh shit ... Oh shit, shit, shit."  

I looked at all the shocked faces.  A couple people turned their heads at the sight.  The moron who caused this was just standing there looking at me.

I so wanted to hurt him ... hurt him in bad ways.

I looked back at my foot ... at the bottom of my foot knowing my leg was not pointing it that way.

"Is someone going to help me?  I don't feel any pain ... Is someone going to help me? ... Why?"  I began to glare in anger at the idiot.  "Is somebody going to help me?" I finally said aloud.

This injury was a new adventure for me ... I mean, by far it was not my first injury, or even the first that required actual medical treatment.  That list would go on for pages and include things like coffee cups, barbed wire, moving vehicles and bowling balls. 

This was the first time I needed surgery to repair the damage I caused ... and the first time I needed to rehabilitate from an injury.

I hated everything about it.

My torn meniscus 3 years ago
This does not imply that I have enjoyed other injuries ... injuries suck in general.  Surgeries suck in general ... although you do get some interesting medications that make you feel all kinds of strange, but that doesn't make the experience fun.

So why am I even talking about this?

Not too long ago an injured employee brought in an update from her surgeon ... and it was the same surgeon who did my ankle surgery in 1985.

The same man that told me I would never run or jump again, I would always have a limp and I would need cortisone injections every 6 months or so ...

He was wrong.

This was the only injury that happened during some form of athletic exertion, so it sounds much mor impressive than saying I stepped wrong on the rocks at the beach or I doslocated my toe when my foot hit the door frame that someone put in my way. 

And ...

... I am making another trip to the surgeon.  Not the ankle surgeon ... I am seeing the orthopedic surgeon who did the meniscus repair on my left knee about three years ago ... because ...

I am so incredibly talented that I managed to tear a different part of the same meniscus that he made so clean and pretty last visit.  I do like this doctor, but I would really rather not be going through this ... again.

The procedure I
will once again enjoy
Like with everything else, it is one step at a time ... or in my case, one limp or stumble at a time.

So ... especially for my previous counselor ... I am looking at the bright side of things.  I will get to take a nap, feel really high, maybe my knee will stop hurting and I will likely get some fun meds to take home with me.

I should have my first appointment soon.