Sunday, November 25, 2007

Accidents of youth catch up

One summer I worked at an amusement park. My job was to pour beer and other beverages. Some shifts my job was runner. The runner's duties were to shovel ice from the ice machine in the kitchen and bring it to the various stations, restock cups, and most importantly, change kegs. The problem was that one was supposed to use the kegs with the oldest Julian date. And those? Well, they were at the top of the stack. I had worked out a method in which I "walked" the keg to the edge of the stack. Then I would bend my knees with my feet far apart and let the bottom edge of the keg catch me in my thighs. Yes, I had permanent bruises on my thighs that summer. Then I would let go and just let it drop to the floor. The key was having your feet wide enough apart so that the keg wouldn't drop on them. This method had worked for most of the summer. I had something like two weeks left at the job when one day I didn't bend my knees enough. So when the keg swung back, it landed on the side of my right knee. I guess I should be happy that there was just soft tissue damage. I finally ended up at an orthopedic surgeon a month later because the bruise was still visible and I was still in pain. He determined that I had bruised the soft tissue under my kneecap. (He also couldn't believe that they had me moving kegs since I weighed something like 125 back then.) I had to keep my knee wrapped for about two months. And there was lots of ibuprofen involved.

A few years later, I had a bad spill in a parking lot -- walking too fast in leather soled shoes. My feet just slid out from under me and I landed on my back. Well, mostly on my right side. I knew that I would be bruised. What I didn't expect was the morning a few days later when I couldn't get out of bed because my right leg was in so much pain. I called into work and then called the doctor. Apparently I had overextended the tendon that connects the hamstring to the hip. This is when I first discovered the joy of flexeril. And flat shoes. Another injury that took about two months or so to heal.

But both still come back to haunt me. Sometimes when it's cold. Usually when I spend too much time in a car. Like my drive back from Sacramento during which I spent two hours behind the wheel. I should have known that it was going to be bad when I felt some mild pain last night. Today? There is no comfortable position for my leg. I have constant pain in both my knee and my hip. And there's some limping involved. But I popped a vicodin. Because I promised my aunt some leftovers today and I really do need to create some space in the fridge. But when I get home, I'll probably break out the heating pad. And now? I'm going to look for the bandage for my knee.

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