Thursday, July 29, 2010

Career Ending Injury

Here's how my celebrated amateur sports career officially came to an end - getting wheeled off the field on a stretcher.  Tuesday night while playing flag football, I was running a pattern across the middle when someone rolled into my leg, causing my knee to bend in directions it's not meant to bend.  I'm not sure exactly what happened since I was looking back at the QB and never saw it coming, but I'm assuming somebody just tripped and rolled into me.  What I do know for sure is that I looked down and saw that my right knee was dislocated.  My knee cap was to the right of where it was supposed to be and my tibia was to the left of where it was supposed to by.  I immediately grabbed my knee and shoved both bones back toward there normal location and they popped back into place. 

I'm not sure how long it took the ambulance to get there, but it seemed like an eternity.  Luckily for me the drivers went to the end of the field where they had to drive over about 10 speed bumps to get out of the parking lot, providing a lot of jostling fun on the way to the hospital.  At the other end of the field they could have driven out onto a surface street with no speed bumps.  The game was at Juanita High School and Evergreen Hospital is about 2 miles away so it was a quick trip there once we got going. 

Despite the fact that the ER was surprisingly empty - I didn't see anyone there that didn't work there and most of the employees looked a little bored - I was there for over an hour.  In that time they took my pulse and blood pressure, and 4 x-rays.  They told me no bones were broken but they have no idea as to the extent of the soft tissue damage.  They slapped a brace on it to immobilize it, told me not to put any weight on that leg and that I would need some crutches and could buy some at any pharmacy.  They wrote me a prescription for crutches and wheeled me out the door in a wheel chair.  My phone was still in my car, and since I don't remember anyone's number off the top of my head, so they wheeled me over to a phone and gave me the number for a cab.  Overall I have to say I'm quite disappointed in the level of care provided there for which they will no doubt bill my insurance company several thousand dollars. 

I have an appointment with an orthopedist on Monday and don't know how much more I will know then, but at least some more.  At this point I'm just hoping I won't require surgery.  Based on the diagram of the knee I found online, what I saw when it was dislocated, and what it feels like, I'm pretty sure there is damage to the medial collateral ligament (the inside part of the knee).  Hopefully it's not completely torn, although right now it feels as though, if I were to put any weight on it, it would immediately buckle and pop out of place. 

The good news is that as long as I don't move around much and keep that leg elevated, it really doesn't hurt much.  The real pain is psychological.  After spending about 10 minutes trying to get my sock off, I am frequently frustrated by how difficult it is and how much effort is required to do things that would normally be trivial.  I can't even go into the kitchen and get something to eat or drink because I can't carry anything while on crutches.  And thinking about the probability of never playing football again, and never being able to run without pain again is pretty hard to come to grips with.  I just hope the orthopedist I was referred to is good.
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