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.

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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 !

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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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