Sunlight Shining Through Cloud

The Pain Of It All

Posted on: March 25, 2011

I’m heavily medicated today and, therefore, will accept little to no responsibility for what follows.


I was playing catch with my 8-year-old son in the backyard way back when.  As I backed up to catch a fly ball, the heel of my right foot hit a serious divot in the grass causing a hyper-extension of the right knee.  In-so-doing, I broke a bone, loused up the ligaments, mangled  some menisci, pissed off the patella and tore up tendons.  In the three seconds it took to fall to the ground, I could only rasp to Jeremy, “Get your mother.”

For the next two hours, it was me and a small paper bag – used to keep me from hyperventilating.  I was in a state of wanting to scream and wanting to cry.  I was absolutely sure that I was experiencing pain worse than that of childbirth.  (I’ve since expressed that thought to many women who, upon hearing it, quietly shake their heads; knowing how very ignorant I am.)

When the good doctors had finished with me, I was sporting a full leg cast and looking forward to months of physical therapy.  I remember it all as if it happened yesterday.

You Decide !


Sometime last year, I passed a kidney stone.  Or was it a gall stone?; I can’t remember.  And the reason I can’t remember is because I’ve forgotten.  And the reason I’ve forgotten is that the pain was so incredibly excruciating that there’s no way I’d ever want to re-live it.  The pain, apparently, was worse – by a factor of ten – than the pain of the hyper-extension of my right knee, though I don’t know how that could possibly be; the memory of the hyper-extension being as fresh as it was.  The stone?  What stone?


And then there was the time the truck ran over my foot.  It was an icy, snowy day in Wisconsin.  The truck got stuck.  But it wasn’t just any truck; it was a big truck…very big.  And it was fully loaded.  And it was on a slight downgrade.

I was doing what little I could to aid in the situation when I noticed that the truck had started moving – wheels locked – on the ice.  I foresaw all kinds of problems with this.  At the top of the list: my foot was being run over by a gigantic wheel.  I believe I said, “Ouch.”  No, that wasn’t it; it was something else, I’m sure.  But I don’t remember.


Many Christmases ago, we had a family gathering at my parents’ home in North Carolina.  We’d all traveled great distances and were quite happily assembled.

At some point, my little brother and I and our sons decided to play some touch football in the backyard.  Michael had always feared me because I was so much bigger than he was as we were growing up.  That would stand to reason; we were nine years apart in age.  But he eventually grew up, himself; only he grew up to be the size of a linebacker – a size I was decidedly not.

As the first play from scrimmage began, Michael apparently figured that full-contact football was a far better enterprise, and he tackled me…

I had hair, then. Oh yeah...and a sling.

…breaking my left shoulder.

Now, I knew it was broken…I heard and felt the clavicle snap.  But I was a man’s man and Michael was my little brother and our two young sons were there and I couldn’t not play football anymore so I continued to play with the broken shoulder and I didn’t say anything to anyone.

Even though I’m right-handed, my passes looked like they were being thrown by a girl.  (Sorry.)  I tried to tackle my brother (did I mention that he was about fifty pounds heavier?) with my right arm while doing everything possible to not fall on my left side as it was a certainty that I would.

We played the first half and went into the house for snacks.  By then, Michael was fully convinced that he’d been mistaken all these years — his big brother was a wuss. He couldn’t figure out how he had been so wrong for so long.


It might seem to you that I am accident prone, but I’m not.  You have read the sum total of my injuries over the duration of a very long life.  And besides the usual childhood chicken pox and mumps and other assorted illnesses conjured up to stay home from school, I’ve been as healthy as a horse.  I never get sick.

Except for this week.

I’ve got a cold.  I’ve been consumed by it.  It’s like – I don’t know how to act.  I’m off my game.  I’m three fries short of a ‘Happy Meal.’  (Sorry, again.)  I can’t think too much because a fever takes over.  I will soon need a trachea transplant due to the considerable damage done by a persistent cough.  I had my broker buy a thousand shares of Kleenex; that’s how many tissues I’m using.  My wife keeps pumping fluids and medications into me and that’s making me loopy.  It’s a wonder I can spel enything correcly.


All of which brings me to the central question of the day:  Honey, what’s in this Nyquil?

1 Response to "The Pain Of It All"

Feel better, Fred. It’s a remarkable phenomenon…this getting old and frail. What was it Mel Brooks said? ?Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when someone else falls in a manhole and dies.”

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