Tuesday, February 8, 2011


So it was lunchtime and I left the newspaper office to go home for a bite. Right outside the front door, just past the sidewalk, is a huge pudle of melting slush. It's less than three feet wide and I'm wearing a pair of black slip-on shoes because my lace-up dress shoes with the extra thick rubber sole and the grips recently lost the aforementioned sole.

But it's less then three feet and despite the fact that I am a 46 year old man in questionable shape for one shining moment I am Gene Kelly and I can not only leap over the puddle I could probably pirouette at the same time and make a three point landing.

Obviously age has made me delusional.

As I leap off the curb the delusion fades and I think instead about Maury Chaykin as Nero Wolfe negotiating a puddle in an episode of the A&E television series. "Whatch out for the..." warns Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin. Maury leaps over the puddle with all the grace of an epileptic walrus. "Woah!" marvels Archie. "You're like Ray Bolger, there"

I imagine I looked more like Nero Wolf than I did like Gene Kelly, nevertheless, the result was not pretty.

As I pushed off from the curb something happened inside my right knee.

It felt like a big, thick rubber band suddenly got stretched really tight and then  just as suddenly let go. A searing hot pain flared in my knee and shot all the way down my shin and up into my thigh.

I landed on the other side of the puddle and had to lean on a parked car for support while I gritted my teeth against the pain, which was not going away. A passing woman made some comment about the awful weather. I couldn't make sense of what she said so I just smiled and nodded, trying to cover up my agony and trying to remember how to draw breath.

I managed to hobble across the parking lot to my car. Then I had to drive and having to press the accelerator was sheer agony. I gritted my teeth all the way home.

Sleeping was difficult last night. I couldn't stay in any one position for too long so I tossed and turned all night.

Now at this point I should back up and admit that my right knee has been bothering me since the summer. We had a lot of house guests and I spent a fair amount of time moving furniture in preparation. I just figured I had twisted it wrong and was waiting for it to heal. Some days it was better than others. As summer turned into fall and then into winter the pain persisted and I had just about convinced myself that  had arthritis and chalked it up to age, But this incident convinced me I should see my doctor.

I managed to get to my doctor's office this morning. The nurse weighed and measured me and, to my dismay,  confirmed that I more closely resemble Nero Wolfe rather than Gene Kelly.

My doctor is a very tall South African man. He pulled and prodded at my leg while I gasped in pain. When he was done he scheduled me for an X-ray and told me that I had likely damaged the anterior crusciate ligament. He was a little concerned that it might have snapped which sound really nasty and which looks really hideous if this graphic I found on the internet is to be believed. I hope this is not the case.

Either way the doctor told me not to do anything too strenuous for the next little while. "Don't be climbing up banks or anything," he said. I said I wouldn't but didn't tell him that I very likely wouldn't be doing that anyway. He also said to put some ice on it and take some Advil. I'll pass on the Advil. I willl do the ice, but I'll save some cubes back to drop into a double scotch (or two).

So that's where I am. The practical upshot of this is that a wet foot would have been preferable and it's not likely that I will be doing any dancing with Cyd Charisse in the near future.

I've been here and there. I've drawn a lot of pictures. I've written a bit, too. I'm not good at this self-promotion thing. Look, you want to know about me? just visit these websites. Okay?


Pat Tillett said...

Funny story, but too bad you had to hurt yourself. I feel your pain! I've got a ruptured ACL myself. I've had it for several years. It doesn't hurt anymore, but I have to be careful because it isn't as stable as it should be...

Kal said...

What is it with you and I and our devilishly handsome South African doctors? I suspect you were in too much pain to ask him about tomatoes?

You tell a good story btw but I feel bad for your pain. I am lucky to have massive muscles around my knees and despite my broad expansive girth, I have never had any trouble with them...and that is from years of pounding them on the gym floors playing floor hockey.

I bet I just jinxed myself.

Next time TAKE THE SLUSHIE and stop trying to fly. Our wings can't support our weight anymore.

Paladin said...

I feel your pain, M.D. - literally. I spent too many years shoeing horses for a living, and my knees feel every bit of it. I think they call it a cruciate ligament, because whenever you do anything to it its ex-cruciate-ing.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that it will mend with a little TLC. Push comes to shove arthroscopic surgery is pretty amazing these days and recovery times aren't as bad as they used to be.

M. D. Jackson said...

Thanks, guys! It's already feeling a bit better now although I do walk with a pronounced limp.

Kal, It was actually on my mind to ask him about tomatoes, but when a big man has your leg in his hands and can cause you excrutiating pain with the lightest movement, I thought it best to stay quiet. Seriously the man is like Jason Momoa, but neat and trimmed with a South African accent.

Maybe next time.

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