33 Going On 13

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My friend Melissa invited me to play in a softball league this summer, and I was interested in playing. I knew that it would be fun to meet new people and it would be good exercise.

What I didn't realize is that i'm no longer 13 years old.

While warming up on Sunday at Hoboken High School Veteran's Field, we were playing catch on the track that surrounds the baseball field. The track was made of some kind of rubber nylon, and the baseball field was
astroturf. We were on the track, and off to the side of the track was a warm-up pitcher's mound, sort of like a makeshift bullpen, for player's pitchers to warm up while the game in in progress.

Someone threw a ball past me, and I ran after it, it skittered on the hard rubber track towards the warm up pitchers mound. I wanted to stretch my legs, and ran full speed to catch up with the ball, I was full of energy and bounce. I saw the pitchers mound and a thought popped into my head to jump off the top of the pitchers mound, which was about 2 feet off the ground. It wasn't anything more than just me thinking it would be fun to jump off the pitchers mound, land and get the ball. It worked perfectly, I was easily 4 feet in the air, soaring like a long jumper in the Olympics. What I didn't realize was how far I was going to launch, after months of working out at the gym I was much stronger than I have ever been in years. This newfound strength was something I was very proud of, until this moment.

Unfortunately for me, I didn't have soft sand to land in, like a long jumper. I had hard ground which was quickly rushing towards me, and my velocity and speed was tremendous, I don't think I jumped this high in since I was a kid playing in the backyards of Richboro. I knew in mid-air, that I was in big trouble and braced myself for the impact.

My knee went one way, my ankle went the other way and I tucked and rolled to prevent more damage. When I got up I immediately knew that something was wrong. I waited about 10 minutes and noticed my knee was swelling and I went home.

I put some ice on my knee, and it swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. I couldn't bend my knee, and the pain was very intense if I lifted my thigh up and let my calf hang down. My roommate Kristen was home and was extremely helpful when I got back. She was super sweet and I really appreciated everything she did for me - she would get me water and ice. She helped me get to my room and went out and bought me Motrin for the pain.

As a kid I sprained my ankles all the time playing basketball or skateboarding. I never sprained a knee before. I was kind of worried because I have seen people tear their MCL or ACLs in football all the time.

I went to the St. Mary's ER late Sunday night, after it was more than apparent that my leg was in bad shape. I needed crutches because I couldn't put any weight on my leg and I also needed painkillers to stop the dull pain.

Kristen was asleep and Jon was out of the house. I called my friend Matt and he came right over with a taxi to take me to St. Mary's.

St. Mary's turned out to be one big joke.

I think I could have written a comedy series about how my visit went to St. Mary's. When Matt got me there, it was 11pm and they were changing shifts at midnight. So there was no real concern for the guy who was clenching his teeth in the waiting room in pain. They didn't see me until midnight. Matt waited in the emergency waiting room for me.

When they did see me they first took x-rays to make sure I didn't break anything. When the x-ray guy wheeled me into the room, I was holding my calf to prevent it from moving - he pushed me into a chair by accident and hit my leg!! I yelled in pain and he was saying "What? What? What did I do?"

I'm writhing in pain and let out between clenched teeth "MY LEG! OH GOD!"

He sheepishly replied, "Oh, sorry about that. I didn't see."

What a fucking moron.

They get me into the x-ray room which looks like it hasn't been changed since 1950. The cables on the machine were frayed and I swear to God the machine was 50 years old. Taking x-rays of my leg wasn't a lot of fun because I was taking the lead vest and covering my groin area - I needed to protect "the boys".

Yea, I know, its TMI (Too Much Information).

He did his thing and got me back off the table, which was like a comedy routine of me trying to not leg my leg dangle and him trying to get me into the wheelchair. I'm 6'3.5 and weigh about 205 - this guy was 5'10 and probably weighed 180 - he was having a hard time trying to hold me upright.

After the x-ray debacle they get me to the common bed area of St. Mary's. Each bed was full and they were seperated by curtains. To my right were an elderly couple. One was named "Frankie" and the other was named "Shirley". Shirley was in the bed and she was claiming to be in a lot of pain.

I was sitting on the bed, calmly waiting for a nurse to show up while my leg was throbbing in pain.

Shirley was non-stop complaining to Frankie. When I say non-stop - I mean that EVERYTHING she could complain about she did. Here is a sampling of what she said...imagine Tony's Mom, Livia Soprano's accent, she sounded exactly like her.

Shirley: "Frankie! Rayse tha bed! Naw fix tha phillow!"

Frankie: "Ok. Ok. What's sa matta?"

Shirley: "Mhi back HURTZ!"

Frankie: "Take it ease. Take it ease."

Shirley: "Nhurse? Nhurse? NHURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Frankie: "What's sa matta?"

Nurse: "May I help you?"

Shirley: "I doan't want yeu! I want Naomi! The uther nhurse!"

Nurse: "Ok. I will get her."

Shirley: "Frankie. FRANKIE! Put tha bed down. Mhove this phillow. Get me mye hankerchief. I need to goh to tha bathroom."

Naomi: "Hi. What's wrong?"

Shirley: "I took a wuter pill at 4pm and I keep goin to tha bathroom. I'm in a lot of pain. Can't yeu do somethin about that?"

Naomi: "The doctor is looking at your potassium levels now and we can't give you anything at the moment until we finish with that reading."

Shirley: "OK, thank yeu." (for some strange reason Shirley took a shine to Naomi and was nice only to her)

For a good part of an hour I listened to Shirley complain non-stop. Raise the bed. Lower the bed. Fix the pillow. Frankie do this. Frankie do that. She would tell Frankie nurses and doctors today aren't like they were 50 years ago. Frankie was the level headed one and kept telling her to stop antagonizing the nurses. I wanted to shake his hand and tell him he deserved a medal.

Me? I'm just sitting in my bed thinking, "Is this for real?" I calmly wait for my nurse to show up and at one point I was about to yell, "SHIRLEY YOU AREN'T THE ONLY PATIENT IN HERE!!!"

Her non stop complaining and her extremely irritating Jersey accent were grating on my last nerve. But I kept my trap shut for once.

The nurses were very nice to me. Every other word out of my mouth was "Please", "Thank you" or "I appreciate that." Whereas Shirley would taunt the nurses and scream to get attention. Shirley also would break down into tears and sob next to me.

Lisa called me at 12am while all of this was going on. She was with me earlier in the day at the Arts Festival (see previous post), and when I went to play softball, she fell asleep.

She heard my voicemails when she woke up and came right down to the ER. It was nice to have her there, and Matt went home when she arrived.

The doctor examined me and said that I didn't break anything. They put my leg in a brace and gave me some crutches. Plus I got a nice painkiller called Oxycodone which keeps me happy. I called out of work for the next few days and I have an appointment with an orthopedic doctor on Wednesday to see if I have any ligament damage.

Right now i'm lying in bed and chilling out. I'm catching up on some lost things I wanted to do and playing with a new digital camera I just got delivered. Maybe I will take some action shots of me in the crutches for everyone.

During this experience everyone has been extremely helpful. Kristen, Jon, Lisa and Matt were all there for me when I needed their help. If I didn't have roommates, and lived alone I would be having a much, much harder time trying to get things done.

I hate this feeling of helplessness. I never felt this way before. Getting down the stairs takes me a solid minute of using the crutches and my good leg one step at a time. Making breakfast was an ordeal because getting to cabinents, the refrigerator and the pantry was all upper body strength - I would move around the countertops with my arms and one good leg anchoring me.

So now I wait for my next appointment with the doctor to find out how much damage was done. Lisa took the day off from work and is going to drive me to see the doctor. Stay tuned and I will update when I know the latest news.

Of course I expect that I will have more time to update the blog and play on the internet. So I got that goin for me.

2 Comments

Hi Furey,

Sorry to hear about your leg, hope the doctor has some good news for you.

My friend is a nurse and she told me how she treats patients like Shirley. She becomes extremely attentive to them, she hovers over them, becomes really friendly asking really personal questions.....till it gets to a point where the patients are freaked out. It shuts them up for a bit, and the other patients are happy. Though I don't suppose that'd work with your pal, Shirley there. :-D

Thanks! I wish I had a tape recorder so I could have written the dialogue verbatim. I kept thinking of Livia Soprano next to me grumbling, crying and berating everyone around her...

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on May 3, 2005 9:38 AM.

5-1-05 Hoboken Arts and Music Festival Pictures was the previous entry in this blog.

Doctor, Doctor, Gimme The News... is the next entry in this blog.

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