Saturday, September 17, 2011

Man down!! Call everyone!!!!

"Elli is gonna be really pissed when she gets the phone call that I'm in the ER."

"Oh man! Elli is gonna be REALLY pissed that they are gonna cut off my softball pants. These things weren't cheap."

The above were the first two thoughts that popped into my head when I was laying on the softball field with an injured knee

Back in July, I hurt my knee. Pretty bad actually. "Severe patellar dislocation of the left knee" was the official diagnosis. I've never done this before (to this magnitude) and I don't recommend you try it. It hurts. A lot. I don't want to do it again but thanks to the mechanism that is the human body, I've now increased my likelyhood of another dislocation by 50%.

"How'd you do that?" you may be wondering. Well no one knows for sure but there is a theory. I was playing first base in a softball game. The ball was hit to third somewhat slowly so it was going to be a close play. Knowing this, when the ball was thrown I stretched out to my absolute max. I'm 6'5" tall with a 36" inseam. It was an impressive stretch. However, with that long of a stretch, it puts tremendous pressure on the knee joint. So at full stretch, the doctor believes that my knee starting buckling inwards down towards the ground. At that point, all it takes is for your to engage your quad muscle, which I did to keep from falling over, and in doing that it will throw your knee cap out of the joint.

Look down at your left knee. Now imagine the kneecap over on the left side of said knee. That's where my kneecap ended up.

I buckled and went down in a heap. I'm pretty sure I cried out and swore very loudly. Play was halted and everyone rushed over. I wasn't exactly sure what happened myself but when I went to grab my knee it wasn't there anymore. I then felt the cap off to the side and that's when those two thoughts at the beginning of this post occurred.

Someones wife on the other team was a paramedic and knew enough to do two things. One, she shouted to everyone not to lift me or move my leg too much. And two, she called 911. As a tip to others, if you're around someone that dislocates their knee, and it's the first time they've done so, leave them the hell alone! Call the paramedics and let them bring them to an ER to have it set. There could be major damage with a first time dislocation.

Back to me. I managed to keep myself relatively calm. Others were surrounding me to block out the sun as it was one of those uber hot days and the temp was around 93 or so. They managed to get ice on my knee rather quickly and then we all just waited for the ambulance to show. Which it eventually did, however so did a fire truck and 2 sheriff deputies. Everyone must've been bored that night.

I was loaded up into the ambulance and away I went. I never noticed how many looping on and off ramps there were between that field in Arden Hills and St. Johns over in Maplewood, but that ride brought all of them to my attention. Any movement of my foot in either direction sent a whole lot of pain to my brain and I reacted with grimacing. After what seemed like hours, I was being wheeled into the ER bay.

It's a weird thing to look down at your leg and seeing only a quad with no knee attached to it. Other people must've thought the same thing because the looks I got from some of the non-medical staff as I was pushed by were one's of "My God! Did you see that?!"

Once situated in the room, I was hooked up to the heart monitor and blood pressure cuff. My heartrate was in the 90's and my BP was 160 or so over 83. It was safe to say I was having some pain. As the nurses recorded what they needed, I was chastised numerous times about playing softball "out in this heat."

Then the ER doc came on in. I don't remember his name but he's one of my favorite people in the world now. He was younger (I'd guess mid early to mid 40's) and was completely unfazed by what he saw. He had a constant smirk on his face the whole time I dealt with him. He explained to me what he was going to do, which was he needed to lift and straighten my leg and then the cap should just get pulled back into place by the quad tendon. "What if that doesn't happen?" I asked. He replied with, "Well let's just start with this and go from there."

He told me to try and relax, and once he started to straighten and lift my leg I was gearing up mentally for what surely would be a long and painful process. But as I was about to begin slowly exhaling in an attempt to deal with pain, I felt the kneecap pop back into place.

And I started laughing. The relief was exquisite.

He explained to me that next time I do it (NEXT TIME?!!--See above), that I can just do what he did and then follow up with my doctor the next day. Since he was done with his part, I thanked him profusely and away he went. The nursing aid came in and put my leg into a knee immobilizer and shortly after that my nurse came back in. She explained that the immobilizer would be on for one week continuously, even while sleeping, and the second week I could take it off only to sleep. She then offered me 800mg of Ibuprofen and 2 tabs of Vicodin. I honestly wasn't in that much pain anymore and asked if I could just take the Ibuprofen. She did a very noticeable twitch when I said that, and with shock in her voice stated that I could indeed just take the Ibuprofen. She then made the comment that no one ever turns down Vicodin in the ER. The Doctor even made a short reappearance after this to say the same thing. I guess I'm just weary of hardcore pain meds.

So I walked on out of the ER with cut up softball pants and a leg immobilizer on. I was inactive for a little over 3 weeks before I got back on my bike for very short rides. And then just this past Tuesday I made my comeback to the softball diamond. The knee is holding up well but I'm once again wearing a kneebrace on what was once my "good knee", the right one being the one I hurt years ago playing baseball.

Elli has pointed out that they have made great advances in knee replacement surgery. Thanks sweetie.
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