… for not posting today. Yesterday morning I was wakeboarding with some friends on a gorgeous, empty lake, planted the nose on a 180 like a noob, and planted my face into the water an instant later. It happened so fast there wasn’t time to blink. any wake-boarder has done their share of face-plants, eye baths, etc., and I’m no different, gallons of water have been pasted on my face. But this particular fall was different.
By a freakish accident of physics the fall was unusually symmetrical, and instead of partly slicing into the water with one shoulder or another, the perfect belly-buster hyper-extended my back violently for a split second and SNAP, I felt something give in my lower spine. I didn’t know what had happened for sure at the time, but it seemed prudent to assume the worst. Later I learned the bottom right rib cracked where it articulates with the spine at the lumbar-thoracic symphysis, plus tore some muscles including part of the diaphragm.
It knocked the breath clean out of me and for an instant I saw jagged shooting-stars. Right away even before surfacing, I carefully wiggled my fingers and toes, feet and hands, fortunately there was no tingling or numbness. I remember floating there face-down in agony and thinking, of all things, I have really good insurance. It’s a real-world nasty observation on the US healthcare system that that’s what came to mind. But getting back into the boat and then crawling up a very long flight of stairs chased that comforting thought away with intense pain. I thought that would be the worst part, that after getting up away from the lake and into a comfy car seat the rest would be downhill.
Wrong! The one hour drive to the emergency room was the longest one hour of my life. It was like a string of red-hot coals were shoved deep inside the lower flank. Breathing became progressively more difficult.
Because another thing I didn’t know at the time was my chest was filling up with blood and the lung was collapsing. By the time I managed to get checked in, get a CAT scan and X-rays, and have them read, there was half a liter of fluid between my right lung and the pleura. At which point the ER staff at the smaller facility did call an ambulance and whisked me off to the trauma center at Brackenridge hospital in downtown Austin (Where the nickname for myc ase quickly became “The Wakeboarder,” which I was kinda proud of). By then it was clear there was no damage to the spinal canal, plus I was chock full of Dilaudid, so I wasn’t nearly as worried about permanent injury. But even with IV narcotics coursing through the veins it hurt so bad I kept hoping I would just pass out.
One cool thing, they gave me the CD ROM of the CAT scan, so as soon as I can figure out how to get it on video it will be posted and any of you medical guys and gals can have a look. In the meantime, even with 20 mg of Oxycontin in me, it hurts like a mother fucker. Posting may be light for the next day or two.