Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finally, I have something in common with Tom Brady.

Too bad it isn't his salary. What I mean is, for the second time at the beginning of a school year, I have injured my right leg in a ridiculous manner.

You may remember that an unfortunate encounter with a granny cart while merely doing my laundry left part of my shin cored down to the bone and the entirety of me holed up in the hospital for some time after the wound went septic. This time, it was also a fairly innocent event. A little trip to the beach at Cape May, NJ for a couple days, to be exact.

I mainly booked a couple days at the beach because I had my annual forceful yearning to swim in the ocean. However, when we got there, the surf seemed rougher than I expected. There was even a cluster of surfers catching some actual curling waves - not a usual site on many placid New Jersey shores.

At this point, a disagreement broke out between Mrs. Nator and I that went something like this:

Me: Well, going for a swim now!

She: Honey, I'm not sure you should. I don't see many other people in the water.

Me: (Not seeing warning flags posted) Well, it looks a little rough, but we're right here in front of the lifeguard's station. I'm sure it will be fine.

She: (Wading in a bit with me) The current is really strong. I don't think you should go out. Stop going out so far!

Me: Yes, it's strong and pretty cold. I'm kind of surprised. I haven't seen it like this before here. But I really want to go swimming! That's what we freakin' came here for, so I'm going in!

She: (Gripping my forearm) Don't you go in there! It is not safe and I don't want you going in there and getting hurt!

Me: (Flailing) OHMYGOD I AM NEARLY FORTY YEARS OLD AND I HAVE BEEN GOING TO THE BEACH SINCE I WAS A BABY! I THINK I CAN FREAKING HANDLE A LITTLE ROUGH SURF FOR CHISSAKES! LEAVE ME ALONE!

At any rate, she won the first round, but as soon as she dozed off, I went back to the water. Where she found me at the edge and accused me of trying to sneak away and scaring her to death, with me responding that I thought she heard me go and I wanted to swim, Goddamnit. Repeat argument 1, with less politesse.

Fast forward less than five minutes. I have stormed partially into the water. A giant wave comes and smacks me in the side of the knee while my foot is planted in the sand. I hear a distinct "click-CLICK!" as the joint bends unnaturally sideways and I go down. "That's probably not good," I muse to myself, then spend the next five to ten minutes flailing in the surf, letting wave after wave spin me around while the lifeguards repeatedly blow their whistles at me (gee, thanks), because I'm not sure I can get up.

I do get up. I can walk - wobbling and painfully, but I can. I have swelling and some trouble with stairs and walking long distances over the next few days, but with ice and rest it gets better. Until the first week of class, when, while innocently walking across the floor in the animal lab center, my knee completely buckles under me, leaving me on the floor in the doggy position, keening in pain in front of everyone.

I agree to go to the doctor at the urging of the folks in the vet tech program, who reasonably enough don't want me toppling over and flinging animals. I get an xray. The doctor thinks I'm fine and can go back to doing whatever. He says I could get an MRI, if I want. I decide to do it, just to be safe.

And I have a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

I will have to get surgery, eventually. Right now I'm trying to opt out of it in order to complete my final year at school. Lots of people make it around just fine for some time on torn ACLs, as long as they don't have very athletic things they have to do. The problem is, I have to get my doctor to sign off on a list of physical activities I have to do for class, such as stoop, lift 50 pounds, turn and balance. I also have a job where I'm carrying things, including live animals, and running around and on my feet for 10 hours at a time. I'm not sure if/how this will all work out.

So, if you've been wondering why I haven't been posting lately, there it is. I'm trying to work this out and keep up with a so-demanding-it-makes-my eyeballs-bulge-and-my-brain-weep-angels'-tears course schedule. Wish me luck... and don't go in the water!

4 comments:

Heather said...

Oh. My. OW.

Thinking good thoughts for you and hoping you can get through this year without having to have the surgery.

Are there orthopedic devices, like braces or wraps, that could help? What about PT? Anything non-surgical that will keep you upright, mobile and not in pain? I hope so!!

Hang in there!

(Oh and PS - my folks were down the shore in Cape May at the end of August, so if you thought you saw someone that looked like my mom or dad, you probably did. Not that I wish for anyone to have to see my mom in a bathing suit, mind you...)

claire said...

Oh Holy Shit.

No wonder you haven't been around. That's HORRIBLE. You POOR POOR THING. I strained my ACL 8 years ago and i could hardly walk for a month. I still feel it when it when it gets cold out. I can't even believe you're walking around on that.
Holy crap, i hope you have good insurance and an understanding department (at school).

oneofhismoms said...

I thought I heard a really loud "I told you so" coming from the general direction of your apartment...

next time listen to your honey. She's a very smart girl.

That said, I'm sorry you hurt yourself. We have an elevator here. You should come visit. Hint hint.

FirstNations said...

the one cool thing about this (and I mean 'cool' in a Mutter Museum kind of way) is that you might end up getting it replaced with cadaver tissue. isn't that cool? seriously, isn't it? dead person tissue goopin' around in your knee there? every time you take a step...'remember meeeeeeeee...take caaaaaaare.....i gave my liiiiiiife so you could waaaaaaaaalk....'

i know you feel better now.