It began on a great Sunday, no Patriots game to watch till Monday night, time to get our Christmas tree and maybe if it was dry enough set it up in the house. Big plans that all went to an immobilizer.
The tree was up and lots of our decorations were brought out for decorating the house. My task was to get the extended spout water can. An easy task, check both sheds and find it. It was in the back shed and I walked up the little ramp, no more than 2 feet high and almost level as it is extended so the slop is not that steep.
Coming back down I slipped, tried to catch my balance, put my instincts in place and tried to brake myself. Problem is it was like racing down the street on your bike, pressing the front brakes and going over the handlebars. I don’t have handlebars so instead my left quad tendon snapped sending over and out in excruciating pain ravaging through my body.
It was the worst pain I have ever had and once before I had a similar incident but that time it was an Achilles tendon. This time I went down screaming yelling for help but of course it is winter and the windows and doors were shut and my family could not hear me. After what seemed like a long time I thought I was having a heart attack and the pain continued. I reached for my cell phone in my sweatpants pocket and for once I did not have it with me. I carry it everywhere and if it were waterproof I would have it in the shower with me.
Luckily my neighbors Gerda and Don Pasquarello did hear me. Don an emergency room doctor at Beverly Hospital hopped over a fence and checked to see if I was having a heart attack. He was relieved to hear it was only my leg as he thought he was about to start chest compressions.
After surgery last Tuesday I am on crutches and in an immobilizer for at least a month, then I go to a smaller brace, physical therapy and hopefully full repair in the next few months.
Surgery is not new to me as I had my tonsils out when I was around two in my house and was operated on in a high chair. I can still remember the group of medical people coming in the house, me in my pajamas and then one of them opening a can and telling me to take a whiff. I screamed, jumped up and down and then woke up blowing bubbles. The only thing I could eat was ice cream for several weeks.
My association with physical pain began when I was a little kid as my appendix would kick up every once in a while and I would have severe stomach pains. My stomach pain went away after I had emergency surgery at age 14, four days before my freshman prom. My date came by to see me in the hospital as another friend of ours date got sick so those two got together.
The closest I ever came to being a jock was when I went to a couple of practices for the freshman football team. I was jogging around the field when stepped in a hole and cracked a bone in my ankle. That big NFL contract was left on the field at the Garfield Junior High in Revere.
From there is was sort of clear sailing till 1978 when I was playing racquetball and something snapped. I went down and almost out while my friend John Premack massaged the area and the severe pain subsided. I spent most of the Blizzard of 78 in a full cast, with a bent right leg and I used crutches to get around for 8 weeks then a walking cast for 5 weeks. Only thing funny about that is I was in my walking cast on route 93 for a tanker explosion when the cast got wet from the foam and I had to go to the surgeon to have it rebuilt. He was not happy but he admired my determination.
I got out in the blizzard one night as Chip Hoar the public relations person for his National Guard unit came to my house to take me and my camera out to see the damage. Of course I was like dead weight and they had to drag me through the snow to put me in the back of the army truck and take me around. We went to Hull to see the damage on Nantasket Beach then we went to a three-alarm fire on Dorchester Avenue in Boston. I had brought a portable scanner with me so we knew more than we were assigned to know.
After that there was 4 hernias, wisdom teeth and of course some other foolish issues your body develops.
I am so lucky as I have my awesome wife Debbie taking care of me with the help of my physical therapy daughter Molly watching every step I take and my RN daughter Hannah helping me with my medication.
A reminder to my readers, don’t go anywhere without your phone. You don’t have to answer it but it will be there in case of an emergency.
Thankfully all of my surgeries and illnesses have only been inconveniences and I will be back out there chasing news or whatever else this old body can do next year and hopefully for many more to come.