Oh how the stream of consciousness flows through the night…


The latest incarnation of the happy boy

April 21 2:00 am – it is now day 26 post accident but only day 6th post surgery. I just awoke from a rousing one hour nap ( the plan had been to so exhaust myself that I couldn’t possibly not sleep at least several hours but that appears to have failed). I immediately felt what I fondly refer to as the glacier that currently resides on my kneecap and thus once again bitterly blamed the 24 hour ice machine that I wear almost all the time, but when I reach inside the cuff I realize it’s not cold at all (it cycles on and off) and the freezing is just my mind’s interpretation of the pain. That there’s any pain at all is quite amazing to me seeing how they’re passing massive amounts of narcotics through my system and that I still have two working pain blockers physically attached to me. All in all I do have a rather pleasant buzz going on at the moment other than the glacier which is more of a distant concern than anything right in my face, but more than enough to squelch any thoughts of sleep at this time. I am now on a self medicating routine (in the hospital they wake you up and give you the drugs whether you want them or not)) and everyone warns you not to let the pain get ahead. This is a hard concept to grasp in the middle of the day when my head is pounding with blood and the drugs are making me nauseous and my knee doesn’t feel particularly bad ( just rather uncomfortable) so my first though is the cure is worse than the disease and maybe I just got particularly lucky in regards to the pain, but at 2:00 in the morning the wisdom of this approach becomes very clear – as if I were not experiencing this discomfort through the veil of the various short term and long term painkillers I would be a very unhappy boy indeed and would be currently screaming for my brother Paul (who is in the other bedroom) to come in here and very quickly end my misery.

My brother graciously agreed to come out and help me with this tricky transition from the hospital back to civilian life and clearly had no idea of what he was getting himself into. If you’ve ever had major surgery to any bendable joint or other painful body part you know exactly what I’m talking about and have probably already given up reading this. This is the second time I’ve damaged my knee and in both case the actually damaging was not, all things considered, particularly painful. The surgery on the other hand is brutally invasive and the post op the part that really smarts. In this case, having gone significantly above and beyond the normal call of damage one typically does in a ski accident (still hate using that term because it wasn’t technically a ski accident since I was not actually skiing nor had my board on at the time, but how else do you quickly explain to people why you were sitting 1000 feet on top of a glacier in Alaska if skiing we’re not a part of the equation) the post op is bound to be particularly nasty.

And just a side note inside a side note inside a side note is that I know I must be telling this story in Colorado because at least half of my listeners ask me how the skiing was before the accident – which if truth be told I would probably get around to eventually  if someone were telling this story to me.

Anyway, I think I was doing my usually ranting about how significant my injury is/was (in terms of knee injuries that is) because this is my one point of honor among the walking wounded and dozens of medical personnel I meet daily. While I much rather have simply blown out one or two or even three (quite typical actually – I believe it’s known as the terrible triad) of my knee ligaments, since I have somehow managed to blow out all four I want my extra credit on the patient rehab sympathy score, so that when someone asks me about the what/when in the PT (Physical Therapy for those who have somehow blessedly skipped this experience) clinic – and this one in Vail is the PT clinic of PT clinics (any professional athlete who has had a serious sports injury and wanted to return to his former job stands a good chance of having been here – I could fish for a few names of current clients but the HEPA act prohibits this kind of conversation so instead I just look at the signed professional sports jerseys on the wall  and try and feel a kind of kindred spirit with them)  – there’s the sick competitive side of me that wants, when I talk to some newly met partner in pain to play my trump card and have them feel sorry for me in comparison to their one measly ligament procedure being a mere walk in the park  (now we all know that that’s a slippery slope that I emailed quite a few of you about right before I went into surgery when I saw a feature on the Today show about a paralyzed Boston Marathon runner which immediately shut down my woe is me act – this is just a knee we’re talking about here)

And of course my big trump card, my can you top this, is the picture of the route we fell down the mountain. This is what I show people, the medical personnel when they ask me how I got here. They are always very impressed and of course the next line is invariably “You’re lucky to be alive”. Now while I will joke about many other things in this post/email – what that means to me, how I got there, and what if anything I will do with that concept is a more serious subject for another time that I will thankfully spare you all from (until at least I have condensed it down from the two hour version I inflicted upon the innocent bystanders Kevin and Beth along with my brother  earlier this evening who certainly got more that they bargained for by asking me how it was going).

So what I want from the clinic if I’m lucky enough to achieve it – since I’m not noteworthy enough for a signed glory shot of me ripping down some vertical face post surgery (more realistically if anything it would be one more shot of me moseying down some leisurely meadow at Wolf Creek – with David Cole right behind me – don’t worry, that’s an inside joke that hopefully will never get old)  is for the clinic to blow up poster of that shot so that in the future somebody else can ask themselves (as several have asked me) I wonder what line those guys were intending to ski anyway?

Not sure how I got here but I believe I was intending to describe the rather challenging week my brother Paul has gotten to share with me. Now while I know in one way this is something he will treasure and use to his advantage in oh so many future life transactions and birthday cards but I also know the reality of it has not been all that much fun for him and he has certainly stepped up to the plate. I have definitely at times leaned towards making him my manservant because hell, if I’m going to have to pay for this in the future I might as well make the most of it now and he’s never ever (please, please let this be true) going to feel sorrier for me than he does right now. I’ve probably never been more cavalier about my use of niceties like please and thank you so let’s get this out of the way right now; PLEASE and THANK YOU for everything you’ve done for me this week  and my apologies for a couple of those comments about a certain lack of proper focus that in my drug addled mind seemed to crop up during the week.

My brother is a serious smoozer – he loves meeting new people in all sorts of situations and this particular scenario provided all sorts of opportunities. He is also like all the Gilbert boys  a humorist (at least that’s how we like to frame it) and is always looking for opportunities to make people laugh. I assure you this had nothing to do with my drug addled complaints about a certain lack of proper focus at times (and oh yes, we Gilbert boys like to chew on bones a good long while before we bury them). And he has had clearly the best line about my accident in pointing out that I need to rename my blog ligamentfreesnowboarder.com – that’s pretty damn funny if you ask me.

Cause if I can’t laugh at the predicament that I’m now in, I am (excuse my language) seriously fucked. Because according to my calculations I have yet to even graze the hard parts. Maybe I will get lucky or maybe I’m one of the toughest 5’8″ Jewish kids from New Jersey that ever roamed the planet, but for the most part the pain has been conspicuously absent which I think has a lot to do with the pain blocks that are currently attached to me and follow me everywhere because they’re taped on to me with enough tape to prevent what would naturally immediately happen if they weren’t – you would rip them off the the first time you stood up. So while I curse their invasive presence on my body another part of me says be very careful what you wish for because there is some serious pain lurking out there and as far as I can tell it has not raised its head yet (other than the first two nights in the hospital when I begged the nurse to give me Valium and Ambien on top of everything else in my foolish pursuit of sleep or at least temporary relief).

This is not so say I am not miserable and don’t use every occasion to point this out to others. Right now I’m sweating profusely in bed (my kingdom for a shower which can not happen till I lose my blocks), nauseous, bloated with pee and the usual constipation that comes with narcotic use (why people use OxyContin for fun I have no idea although I have heard that if you crush it up and snort it it’s a much better high) and later I will pay dearly for these blissful hours of feverish writing with unbelievable fatigue enhanced by the two PT sessions I have scheduled for later today. But so far, just straight, ” I think I’m going to die and if not wish I would shortly” type of pain – not so much, so keep your fingers crossed because that blog post I think might lack the levity of this one.

I don’t expect anyone to read through all this narcotic drivel (as a matter of fact if you got this far I’m rather impressed) I just knew I wasn’t going to sleep and wanted to do something creative (at least for me) instead of just listening to my oxygen tank drone on like an old B52  bomber. It’s probably time for me to try and either get some more sleep or head to the living room and start the process all over again. As always I want to thank everyone ( and particularly you Paul)  for your help and support and remark again how that has easily been the best part of this experience. I will post this and future writings on glutenfreesnowboarder (at least until I win the big auction for ligamentfreesnowboarder – and oh bless you iPad for auto filling that). So if you’re curious keep checking this blog otherwise you won’t have to worry about getting any more of these novellas in your inbox. I love you all and Happy Easter and Passover everyone!!!

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