Yes, I fell and busted my knee on the ice. I don’t want to go on and on about it, but here are the more important details:
It made a loud noise. I might have preferred a minor contusion, hairline fracture of the ulna, a cracked rib, and a minorly damaged knee rather than all 200 plus knee-pounds of force bearing down on that one little poorly designed bone. The patella is severed into two parts: A part consisting of one part and a part consisting of a tablespoon of oatmeal.
There are already conspiracy theories developing. A student who didn’t want to take the exam I was carrying at the time of the incident threw the ice on the ground just before I got there. Someone from Nature Network salted the clouds so we’d have a tiny ice storm localized in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. My favorite is that I was knee-capped by Salty Current. But none of these are true. I just slipped, and I apologize in advance to anyone who feels that I have blamed them for … ice.
I was collected quite literally like one collects a fossil one plans to pick apart in the lab. My leg was stuck in a 90-degree angle, and by the time the ambulance drivers were ready to load me onto the stretcher I had frozen to the pavement in fetal position.
After they peeled me off the pavement, I could see a blue anti-shadow where the maintenance people, under the close supervision of the college security forces, had spread de-icer on the barn door, as it were, outlining my livid body.
Soon after admittance to the emergency room, they put a wrist band on me. It says “Fall Risk.” … Now they tell me!
Then eventually came the surgery and all that goes with it.
How may ways can someone as stoned as I am right now spell anesthesiologist? Especially me? I’ve noticed that anesthesiologists are always funny. And surely, they have the hardest job of all in the medical field, bringing each patient close to death then yanking them back to the land of the living just in time. Like using emacs editing commands.
For the visible heart lab at The U, they have a pig in surgery that is shown to visiting students. The anesthesiology is explained over a period of about 10 minutes, showing how it essentially kills you but that’s OK because you are on a heart-lung machine, and all the drugs that work contra each other to produce the desired effect, and even this simplistic explanation of what they are doing is quite complex, and requires reference to a dozen fancy expensive machines and about a hundred kilometers of tubes, cables, and wires.
Then they talk about what the surgeons will do the heart. “Yeah, we’re going to cut it in half while it is still beating!!! Cool!”
But I do not disdain the surgeons. I am sure their job is hard too.
So, the surgery itself involved a spinal and a drug that did not necessarily make me unconscious but did make me very likely to pass out at any moment. I think I did, and in fact, I have only one or two memories of the surgery itself. I remember waking up facing a large blue-green wall. I was strapped to a crucifix. On the other side of the wall, I could hear the operating staff. They were playing Traveling Wilburys music and I could hear the clinking of glasses. I think they were drinking margaritas. I tried to escape my bindings and almost did but then some guy reached back over the blue-green wall and tightened the straps.
Post op was better than pre-op (and in fact I’ve avoided detailing some pretty miserable stuff).
Hint: When you are working with an Occupational Therapist, do not have your wife nearby hanging around with the cute baby that everyone pays attention to. “Ooh… you’re a baby.” (Thump) “Look at the cute baby.” (Thump).
The “thump” in the background is me falling on the floor and no one noticing it because they are paying attention to the cute baby.
I’ll be laid up for a month or so, and I don’t recommend any of this to anyone. But there are people who are much worse off. Julia lost two grandmothers this week. When I talked to her on the phone from the hospital bed and told her all the gory details regarding my accident, she laughed and said I was really funny. It is good to place these things in perspective.
Oh, and I now have a record of how my blood pressure changes in relation to blogging activities. Turns out BP goes up, but not as much as you’d think.