Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How I dislocated my knee

Because Malach wanted to know.

Fall of 1979. I was hanging out at the Fairfax Ice Rink with some friends, having fun as young folk do who are not yet old enough to drink. We were a bunch of 'good kids,' all in the band, all (or mostly all) Honor Society kids, and headed into our senior year with bright bright futures way over the horizon.

Nerds and geeks, all. Never was there better company. I love me some nerds.

So, we were skating along, like you do at a skating rink unless you know that there are kids out back smoking and necking, which I did not, and because I was then, as I am now, somewhat of a showoff (though in later years I've tempered this significantly), I decided to demonstrate how I could, while travelling at a high rate of speed, go down on one knee, spin around, and come on back up in one smooth, elegant, Torvill and Dean-type movement.

The going down and spinning worked really well. The coming back up, not so much. Something happened on the dismount, and I put a wee tad too much pressure on the knee joint. This was, as it turned out, a bad thing. You see, knees aren't really supposed to bend INWARD. When they do, a soft wet 'pop' can be heard as the patella gives up trying to stay attached to its various ligaments and shit and goes snapping around toward the BACK OF YOUR LEG.

It was the 'pop,' and the accompanying instinctive 'uh-oh' that kept me from getting up off the ice to which I had fallen after the popping and uh-ohing was done with. I just KNEW something was wrong. The knee felt all squishy and wrong. My friends tried to get me to stand up, but there was no way; I think they thought I was showboating, until one friend saw how pale I was, at which point they got all helpy instead of mock-y. It might have been the low growl of discomfort I was emitting that clued them in, I don't know. Fortunately, I was much more sylph-like in those days, and with a friend under each arm holding me up I was able to get off the ice and limp to the show room, where it because instantly apparent that my knee was swelling.

How did I know this? Well, my jeans were stretched TIGHT around that knee, even with the leg straight. Not at all normal, and just a touch worrisome.

Uh oh. Heckfire and darnation! Red alert.

Fortunately, my buddy Kai's Dad was a doctor, so we went trooping over there (did I drive? I think I may have!), where I THINK Doctor G cut the jeans off that leg to get a look at the swollification, pronounced it a significant issue, and called my folks to come get me. At something like 10 o'clock at night.

By 10 o'clock the next morning, I'd already passed out once. Seems the body knows when something is really wrong, even when the brain says "of COURSE you can go to the bathroom by yourself! You're FINE!" Good thing my Mom was there to catch me as I tumbled off the piano bench (which was 3 steps from the bathroom, and about as far as I could go once the constellations started obscuring my vision and that long black tunnel appeared to swallow my soul), because for sure I would have clocked my head on the keyboard and added injury to insult.

So that's the story of how I dislocated my kneecap. I left out the really grody bits. Like the draining. And the bruising. And the random knee failures that occurred for years afterward, sometimes spilling me onto the pavement when the whole thing would go pear-shaped and collapse under me.

You can thank me for my self-restraint in the comments. ;)

And have a great day.

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