Friday, March 15, 2013

Flashback Friday #13 - Broken

I may not have many personal accident stories like some other people, what with their multiple broken arms, noses, and possible fingers thrown in for good measure - but the one story I do have usually takes the cake when dishing out injury exploits. Eight years ago, almost exactly to the day, I broke my right femur while competing in a high school track & field meet. I was a sophomore at EHS and it was my second year on the varsity track team. My first year I played it safe and only competed in a few short distance running events, but at the start of my second year I had the brilliant idea to try out for the long jump event. At first it was pretty fun to run down a short track and jump into a pit of sand while looking like a bird who just had its wings clipped, and it also was a nice break from running practice twice a week, but it all went sour on Thursday, March 17th, 2005. It was the first home meet of the season and it was the first time I was going to be allowed to compete in the long jump event. I was very excited all that day during school and when I finally found myself staring down the short piece of rubberized track at my sandy pit of a destination I was still in a state of tense energy. I was given the all clear and started my run. I got to the end of the track, jumped, and.....CRACK! I was totally confused. What just happened? Did I break the sand box? Did it break me? I had a mouth full of sand, no feeling in either of my legs, about 100 questions, and 20 people hovering around me with no answers. After a moment I did start to realize what had happened, that I had indeed broken my leg. It must have been the adrenaline but I swear I was not feeling any pain. Maybe some uncomfort because I had started to gain some feeling in only my left leg while my right was as useless as a an empty hose, but not pain (that came later). I was even carrying on somewhat regular conversations with the EMTs once they arrived and gave my fellow teammates the thumbs up as they wheeled me to the ambulance. I think they all thought that was quite funny later. Once in the ambulance I was greeted by a fumbling male nurse who had a terrible time finding my vein for the IV. He made the horrid mistake of telling me it was his first day! I! I have no words. Someone finally took over for him and we were on our way and I was soaking up two full doses of morphine! Also, my mother, who was probably more frantic than anyone at this point, had to run to her car and literally chase down the ambulance since no one told her what hospital they were going too! I mean red lights and everything - Go MOM! Once at the hospital we had to wait for a real room after I had x-rays (shown above) and that's when the pain hit. It was probably the most pain I have ever felt in my life and I hope that will remain true. The x-rays revealed that I had snapped my right femur in half and thank God it was clean break too. And thanks to modern medicine and science the doctors had a plan! They wanted to stick a titanium rod in my leg and secure it with cross pins at my knee and hip (shown above). I was gonna be the bionic man....for REAL! I was in surgery the very next day (Friday) and I was able to go home Sunday morning. The next week was spring break so I was lucky to not miss any school (yes, I said lucky to NOT miss school, I was a weird kid). I went back to school on crutches and had people sign them because I had no cast. I still have them hanging on my wall above my window with the rod. But to wrap things up I was on crutches for a couple of months and had the rod in for a full year. I was even able to run with it during the following track & field season. No long jump that year though. I eventually had the rod taken out and had to go back on the crutches for about a month since my bone was hallow and regrowing the marrow (the human body is amazing). This saga in my life is certainly one of the most memorable and life-changing. There are more stories that spin off of it but I think I will leave those for another day. The photos above show the before and after x-rays (the after ones showing the rod in place), me doing my homework while on crutches (my shirt says I do all my own stunts!), and the rod and pins (no I did not choose a purple rod but it is one of my favorite colors so I was ok with it). The strangest thing in all of this was that I never set off any metal detectors while I had the metal in me. I wonder how that worked....Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this journey with me. Keep it REAL!

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