July 17, 2010

brace yourself... (pt I)

Saturday was supposed to be a dream day. Volleyball and a return to anyang for perogies. Well I was only able to complete one of those tasks and, yet again I was refrained from having perogies. I think that something is seriously wrong with me and those perogies, whenever i do get to eat those bastards they better be the best damn potato mandu (previous blog post reference) I've ever had.

Anywho, volleyball was supposed to start around 1:30. Several locational issues arose on the way there which prevented the start, and pushed back the end time.. wow that's just not needed, i should be less wordy.. SO we simply got lost on our way there.. It was hot, sticky, and Callie kept asking Koreans which direction the Han river was, they all repliede with blank expressions. I find it funny, it's not like Callie mispronounced anything, she said it perfectly. It must just shock them that weiguks can speak some Korean.

Everything went well. The day was really good. I suck at volleyball, but my height and lankyness help to make up for what I lack in actual skill. If I was short and stubby I wouldn’t be allowed on the court. At around 5pm, I raced to get the ball to the other side of the net, I successfully volleyed it. I gazed at my shot like a piece of art while i was falling down in the sand. My left knee got caught in the guide wire holding up the net post. My gaze was rudely interupted as my body quickly jerked to the left, with my foot planted firmly the other direction. The torque was enough to dislodge my knee, I heard a loud pop, and felt my leg go numb.

I instantly recognized this pain. I’d experienced it twice before. Lets flash back 11 years shall we, to  the game I was named captain of my hockey team, a game in Drumheller, Alberta. Sometime during one of the three periods, probably the first or third considering where the bench was, and that i was close the zamboni doors (wait, you don't care abou that level of detail). Lets use less then. There was a short pushing match in my zone, I slipped and hit the ice on the my stomach, and I couldn’t get up. Despite  all my efforts I could not get up, and my leg was screaming in pain. I slammed my stick on the ice to alarm my goalie, Calvin, that I was in trouble. I remember the assistant coach, Kevin Wilson, reaching to feel my left knee. I will never forget the words he told the coach and my father, ‘yep, its definitely out’ all I could think about was what? What the fuck is out? I didn’t know anything could be out on a leg.

I was rushed out of the arena through the tacky dinosaur mouth painted on the side of the building. Within minutes of being in the hospital, the doctor had given me pain meds, and  in one swift movement he flipped me onto my back and slid my knee into position. It was probably a thing of beauty to watch if you were a medical professional, I sreamed the whole time. I was sent home with a full leg brace. I would call that leg brace my friend for what I remember to be an eternity. I was given the elevator key at school though. I was cool while i had that key, i was not niave though. I was well aware my time would only last as long as my leg remained immobile. It took two months of rehab before I played another game. And one year later I would return to an emergency room.

This time I was truly playing in the boonies. I was playing in Standard Alberta, about an hour from everywhere. The town was big enough for a grain silo, a corner store and a hockey rink. I had just made a play up ice with the puck and took a sharp turn to my left when my leg gave out. I remembered the feeling. It was almost exactly one year to the day that I felt it last. I was smarter this time. I made sure I fell on my back. It took an hour and a half for the ambulance to arrive. I squirmed in pain on the floor of a vacant dressing room. I studied the walls and ceiling of that room for so long that I can remember the layout and and colour scheme. Once I arrived in the hospital I was quickly visited by the docter.

He made quick work of my equipment, he cut up another set of laces, and another sock. He quickly had my knee brace off (the one that was supposed to stop my knee from going out in the first place), and with a quick shot of pain medication. My knee was propelled back into position. I have been told that I requested nothing more than JD to help take away the pain. I’d like to believe I’ve been sarcastic my whole life.

My rehab for my second blown knee had taken FAR less time. I was on the ice within two weeks and playing again within three. I was given a referral to an alternative medicine clinic in Calgary. The doctors name was Dr. Doug Battershill, an ex CFL (Canadian Football) player. He believed that diet and mobility was the way to combat this injury, and I believe him. He was extreme, yet it worked. My knee was extremely strong for 10 years.

I’d like to think that my knee was still strong on Saturday and that the torque I threw on it would have taken even a healthy knee out.

These memories quickly flooded back into my mind as I lay sprawled out with a mouthful of sand last Saturday. I was desperately trying to push the kneecap back into place before my friends advised me the ambulance was on its way. I sat back and tried to relax. The Ambulance ride was unbearable, I screamed almost the entire way, every ten seconds or so the ambulance would lurch a different direction after hitting a bump. All I could think about was that the roads in this country are shit. My uncle could make a killing selling them the required material to correct them. To end part I on a good note, for the first time EVER I was able to hear the ambulance siren. Sadly it was drowned out with screams every couple of seconds.

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