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.

Comments

  1. #1 Donna B.
    February 18, 2010

    You have my utmost sympathy. I fell on my right knee several years ago and it was one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced. For months. Reading your story makes it hurt again…

    I wish you a speedy recovery.

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    February 18, 2010

    Two? Maybe I didn’t pick the best day to remind her I wasn’t going to get her a dog.

    Glad to hear the surgery went well. And I definitely remember working to type “anesthesiologist” while on Vicodin.

  3. #3 Jared
    February 18, 2010

    “phlebotomist” is also a fun word…

    Hope the leg heals well.

  4. #4 Paul S.
    February 18, 2010

    It looks like you spelled anesthesiologist correctly every time you used it, which is not easy for me even when I’m fully alert.

    I’m hoping for your quick and thorough recovery.

  5. #5 Hank Fox
    February 18, 2010

    Best of luck in recovery, Greg.

    One day you’ll cross the Rainbow Bridge and there will be your kneecap, young and healthy and happy to see you.

    Oh, wait, that’s for people who’ve lost a dog.

    Um … well, anyway, I hope you get well soon.

  6. #6 Lou FCD
    February 18, 2010

    You may have blown the triple lutz, but you’re still doing ok with the triple lulz.

    I hope your recovery is speedy and thorough, Greg.

  7. #7 mrcreosote
    February 18, 2010

    may have failed the triple lutz, but nailed the total klutz

  8. #8 Enoch
    February 18, 2010

    I am glad you noticed the underappreciated are of the guy with the sledgehammer as opposed to the guy with the saw.

  9. #9 Dr. Stan
    February 18, 2010

    They were playing Traveling Wilburys music and I could hear the clinking of glasses. I think they were drinking margaritas.

    Rats. We’ve been found out.

  10. #10 Paul
    February 18, 2010

    Turns out BP goes up, but not as much as you’d think.

    I guessed it would go down, because of all the bleeding :)

  11. #11 dragonet2
    February 18, 2010

    All about the lulz. I’m glad for you.

    My hubby has congenitally bad knees, we have no insurance right now (I got hired into a new job but because it is a three-five month post did not give insurance, though the money is okay and it is 10 min. from home).

    We had severe, repeated snow storms here over the holidays, and he spent many hours shoveling the drive just enough to get our cars out. One of his knees got really pissed off over the issue, and then got more pissed off about a week and a half ago. No fall involved. Fortunately, wearing his knee brace and going to sleep with his leg elevated and ice on it has made everything that was irritated and inflamed start to heal. So for now we’re going “Whew” and praying I don’t get furloughed in June. (If I go to six months I will get insurance, it’s a requirement. And yes, it’s a federal government position.)

  12. #12 george.w
    February 18, 2010

    Wow… you have my sympathy. Hope you feel better soon. And you spell really well even stoned.

  13. #13 a2zme
    February 18, 2010

    Good Grief Gerty! (Ok, Greg, then.)
    Enjoy the nice drugs, do what the nice doctor(s) say, have fun in physical therapy when the time comes. And keep your stick on the ice.

  14. #14 Rorschach
    February 19, 2010

    They were playing Traveling Wilburys music and I could hear the clinking of glasses. I think they were drinking margaritas.

    You’re wrong :

    Anaesthetist’s Hymn

  15. #15 NJ Wedding Photographer
    February 19, 2010

    Greg – sorry to hear about the knee. Get well soon. Does this mean you will be stuck near your computer blogging more often? Free time is a great thing — use it wisely.

    PA Wedding photographer

  16. #16 Katkinkate
    February 19, 2010

    So sorry for your painful injury Greg. Hope they’ve given you some good drugs. At least by the time you’re trying to move around on your feet again, the ice should have melted. Listen to the nice doctors, ignore the cranky ones and do what they tell you if it sounds like it makes sense. (Disclaimer: Katkinkate is not a medical professional and any advice given should be treated as her personal opinion).

  17. #17 Phillip IV
    February 19, 2010

    “Ooh… you’re a baby.”

    I’ve always wondered why grown-ups seem to think babies need constant reminders of that. But I’m glad to hear it looks like you’ll be walking around sooner than Huxley, after all.

  18. #18 Swami
    February 19, 2010

    Greg,

    In the wake of these “atheist firing squad” and Salty Current fiascos, perhaps this is God’s way of telling you to break out the knee pads for a time and learn some humility.

    I wish you a speedy recovery. Doctors say no, but Vicodin and Chardonnay never hurt me…Awk Awk Geek Geek

  19. #19 Simon the Infidel
    February 19, 2010

    If you have problems spelling anaesthesiologist when stoned, why not do waht we do and spell it anaesthatist? See, much easier!
    And get well soon.

  20. #20 Simon the Infidel
    February 19, 2010

    Yeah, I know – spotted it just as I pressed “post”.
    With respect, “what” is quite a difficult word to spell.

  21. #21 MadScientist
    February 19, 2010

    Traveling Wilburys? Now there was a strange group of musicians … and half the group probably had more drugs on a regular basis than you’re getting right now. I thought most people would have forgotten the group (though the individuals are still well known) since it was virtually impossible to find the album after Roy Orbison died.

  22. #22 Monika
    February 19, 2010

    I wish you a speedy recovery!

    I know how you feel, I managed to break my kneecap too some years ago. Best of all, it happened as I was on my way to buy kneepads, you know, the ones for inline skating. Oh well, gave the docs and nurses a good laugh.

    Oh and I found something for your crutches: ;-)
    http://www.thecrutchbag.com/
    http://www.fetterman-crutches.com/accessories.html

  23. #23 Mike Haubrich
    February 19, 2010

    Good luck with the speedy recovery, but isn’t this all part of your plan to be transformed into a cyborg body part by body part? Aren’t they going to replace this knee with a robotic one?

  24. #24 Theo Bromine
    February 19, 2010

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery. (Note that both an[a]esthetists and anesthesiologists contain atheists within them.)

  25. #25 SplendidMonkey
    February 19, 2010

    The ice seems especially slippery and plentiful these days. Be careful out there! Hope you recover quick!

  26. #26 Mike5
    February 19, 2010

    I didn’t realize that they used emacs to control the anesthesia machine, but it does make sense in a sort of machine-that-goes-ping kind of way.

  27. #27 Paul W.
    February 19, 2010

    OK, so maybe it wasn’t SC.

    But remember your other knee. We know where it lives.

    The atheist firing squad can drop you anywhere, any time.

  28. #28 Erin
    February 19, 2010

    Those triple lutzes can be tricky! Glad surgery went ok – hope you have a speedy recovery!

  29. #29 traci
    February 19, 2010

    Hi Greg! feel better soon! sorry to hear about the knee.

    FYI – Moika sent the info on the gel handles – they seriously are a good idea. But…. I have been on Canadian forearm crutches for 45 years. These would be great, but the company never responded to me. I got carpol tunnel from long usage. Now I use bicycle handles on the grips and wear padded bicyle gloves. You might not think you need them – but you’d be surprised.

    Also I have known of people using the kind of crutches im sure they gave you – the kind you get when you break your leg. They can be very dangerous. Have know people to pull the muscle loose that is under the arm. Pad the crutches with towels.

    And finally – glue sand paper circles, not real rough or it will kill floors, onto the bottom of your crutches to help safeguard you in this weather.

    Hope I helped, traci

  30. #30 Uncle Glenny
    February 19, 2010

    Isn’t there a market in Japan for some kind of body armor to protect against falls?

  31. #31 SplendidMonkey
    February 19, 2010

    On the other hand, triple klutzes are easy.

    p.s. beware of crutches on stairs, no one told me how and you can end up with a broken skull in addition to a broken knee.

  32. #32 Phil
    February 19, 2010

    Dude hope you get better soon.

  33. #33 daedalus2u
    February 19, 2010

    Put in for one of those handicapped parking stickers right away so you can get it while you are still disabled.

  34. #34 Interrobang
    February 19, 2010

    Goodness, how horrible. My condolences. Get well soon! Good luck with the physical terrorists, too.

    I’m half ashamed to say I’ve never laughed so hard at someone’s descriptions of their injuries before, but trust me, it was entirely how you said it, not what you said. Having had six surgeries now, and oh dear squid please don’t put me under again, I’m begging you, I may never be able to use emacs again…

    Take care of yourself!

  35. #35 Jason Thibeault
    February 20, 2010

    Well that explains the Facebook thread that left me scratching my head the other day. Best wishes, sir.

  36. #36 louise
    February 20, 2010

    ouch. you make it sound cute though! hope that knee gets mended as good as new soon!

  37. #37 Pierce R. Butler
    February 20, 2010

    Having passed the Official Initiation, you are now one of the Knights Who Say Knee!

  38. #38 Comrade PhysioProf
    February 20, 2010

    Jesus fuck, dude. That sounds fucking painful. Enjoy the opiates!

  39. #39 Woof
    February 20, 2010

    BT/DT, sorta: Went off a ladder and busted my pelvis 15 months ago. I highly recommend a spiffy little pill called Dilaudid.

  40. #40 infi
    February 22, 2010

    Sorry to hear it, Greg. May your knee heal quickly and fully!

    As a follow-up to my last post on your thread of much silliness, the church arsonists in Texas have been caught. Seems they were former Baptists, although one had a Nietszche quote on his Facebook page. I expect that will be put into the No Spin Zone blender soon.

  41. #41 infi
    February 24, 2010

    A follow-up to the follow-up above. Worst fears about the arsonists came true:

    Atheism Books In Home Of Texas Arson Suspect

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