Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blunt Back Trauma for Christmas

It was Monday morning - Christmas Eve day - and my wife had gone out early to the grocery store to do some last minute shopping. She returned around 8:00 and when she came in with bags of groceries - I put on my shoes to help her bring in the rest.

When I stepped outside my first thought was, "What a beautiful day. The sun is shining, its warm (about 45-50 degrees) and it looks like all the ice on the walk has melted." Then I hit the first step going down the porch and my thoughts were:

"Oh shit - black ice."
"Hey look - the sky."
"Oh boy this is not good and this is going to hurt."
"AARRHHHH my back!!!"
"Can't.......... breathe..... fuuuuuuuck!!"
"Thank God I can move my legs."

When I hit that first step my leg slipped right out from under me. I must have been going down the stairs at a good clip because my momentum cause me to fly up in the air a few feet. I landed so hard on the stars that I bounced to the pavement where I lay in excruciating pain, unable to talk because I was unable to breathe. All the air had been knocked out of me.

It was a good five minutes before I was able to sit up. Then get up. My wife (who was right behind me all the time and saw what happened) examined my back, helped me into the house, helped me take off the sweatshirt I was wearing (it was now soaking wet from me laying on the wet walkway) and then helped me to the couch where I was to remain basically for the next 24-hours.

I got up twice during the day to go to the bathroom. I could barely move and each step was accompanied by significant pain. I must have ate 16 Advil during my time on the couch. I drank very little because it hurt to raise my head to drink from a cup. Being couch bound meant that my Christmas Eve was ruined. No going to church to watch the kids in the Christmas play. No going to my brother's house for our traditional family Christmas eve get together.

My wife explained my absence to my siblings and their families at the party and my brother John (a paramedic) called me to check on my condition. His first concern was that my trouble breathing could have been caused by broken ribs. When I assured him that I didn't have broken ribs (unfortunately - I know how those feel) he said sounding relieved, "Simple blunt trauma to the back then."

Blunt trauma to the back? That didn't sound so simple to me. In fact the word "trauma" coupled with "back" sounded painful. And it was painful. I'm a realist though and I know some injuries may be painful but really the only thing you can do is give them time to heal.

On Christmas day I made an effort to shuffle around figuring that even minor exercise would be good. The kids and the wife loved their presents and I ended up spending a good portion of the day in my office reading and avoiding getting roped into playing Guitar Hero III which had monopolized the front room TV from the time it was unwrapped.

By the afternoon I was feeling well enough and determined enough to make sure I fulfilled one of my traditional Christmas responsibilities - going for Chinese food so that my wife (who works so hard to make Christmas a success) doesn't have to add "cooking dinner" to the rest of her responsibilities. I was able to make it to the restaurant but my oldest daughter had to come along to carry the food.

Anyway - that was my Christmas.

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