Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unlucky Edges

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I woke up late, around ten a.m. I was past my normal time for waking on game day. I went downstairs and everyone else was already up. My mom was out walking the dog, my dad at work and my sister was watching television. I opened the pantry door and it creaked like normal. Inside it smelled of sugar and cereal. I grabbed two “ding-dongs” and went to the fridge. I poured myself a glass of milk and walked into the living room. My sister was watching something on VH1 or something and I wanted to watch Sportscenter. I ate my breakfast slowly and the milk cleaned the chocolate out of my teeth. As I sat there, absentmindedly-watching TV, my mom walked into the house. She was wide-awake after her walk with the dog. My dog’s shiny black coat glistened with snow as she sniffed me and wagged her tail. I walked upstairs after I finished cleaning up my breakfast and I brushed my teeth. I put on some new clothes and looked at my watch, 1045.

We would be leaving for my hockey game soon. We were playing Stoughton at 115 in Stoughton. They aren’t in our team’s league so the game won’t even count in the standings. Our team was in second place in the league and we were in a good spot to go to state. I thought about all this as I walked down the stairs. My sister had left the room so I turned on my XBOX and started to play NHL 00. My mom told me we had to get going so I turned off the game. I walked into the mudroom to pick up my bag and sticks. I opened the door to the garage and walked out. My dad already had the Tahoe running in the driveway. I tossed my stuff in the back and hopped in the backseat. It was a thirty-minute ride to Stoughton and I was drowsy on the way there. I drank a Pepsi and quickly came to my senses. Our team hadn’t played Stoughton this year and it wasn’t even a league game. My mind wasn’t on the game today it was looking forward to the State Tournament.

The rink smelled like any other rink, and looked the same except for the funky locker rooms. The room was small and the walls were purple, the high school’s colors. Everything was going along well and I didn’t have any bad feelings. Our team felt confident as we dressed for the game. Looking across the locker room I saw a sea of blue and yellow Flyer’s jerseys. Coach walks in the door and wits for us to settle down. He starts talking about our mistakes and what we need to do to beat this team. Everyone in the room was stone faced. We got up all ready to hurt some people. Our team slowly pours onto the ice and then explodes in a flash of steel. My old Vapors cut into the ice as I skate around the rink. The newly sharpened blades spray snow into the air as I come to a stop at the face off circle. My muscles loosen up as I stretch out. The team lines up on the boards to do our wind sprints.

My feet move fast as I fly across the rink. I turn my feet to stop, black. No memory of what happened next occurs to me except that I heard a loud sound. I recognize this sound; it is the sound of some one crashing into the boards. There is numbness in my left leg and my brain is frozen. Knowing something is wrong, I move my head to look at my legs. My right is underneath the other and I try to move the left. I see the nub of my femur push on my hockey sock. “Get coach!” I yelled half-heartedly because all of my strength was drained. Coach came over and took off my helmet and asked me what was wrong. “The top part of my leg is broken,” I said. My parents come out onto the ice.

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My mom asks, “What happened?”

“I broke my leg.” I said wearily. Coach and my dad started to pick me up to carry me off the ice. I am shaking and I feel like I hadn’t eaten in days. The pain is overwhelming as my leg dangles crookedly towards the ice. The muscles in the thigh are shaking and twitching trying to stabilize the bone. I am sitting on the lowest seat of the bleachers and Mrs. Loch is holding my leg up and the twitching is uncontrollable. Someone hands me water and I am thankful and I sip slowly as the water calms my stomach. I look over at the small clock on the other end of the rink and it says 11. The game should start in three minutes, but that is the least of my concerns. My dad is getting directions to the Stoughton Hospital and some adults are preparing to lift me up while keeping my back facing the ground. They lift me up and the bone scrapes against itself. My teeth grind together in pain as we work our way slowly out of the building. I am placed into the back of our Tahoe and my mom holds the disconnected part of my leg. The bone is scraping against itself and it is excruciating as my mom holds my leg up. The ride to the hospital was long and included many bumps, unluckily enough.

When the car turns and slows to a stop, realizations flood through my head. I am at a hospital, I should be playing hockey with my team. Why am I here? Why does my leg not work? Soon after the realizations are flooded by red, smelly, awful pain. My head is moving outside of the truck as my mom slides along the backseat. The gurney feels stiff as the CCM shoulder pads I am wearing rest upon it. I scream in pain as the leg is twisted or moved the wrong way. My anger rises as I hear about ten people telling me how it will be okay. I know what’s happening, I watch television. I know that I won’t be able to do anything for a couple months.

After what seems like hours, my gurney arrives in a room. The nurses tell me about how they are going to lift me onto a bed and I am not listening, just gritting my teeth. Another wave of heat and mind blowing pain screams through me as nurses lift me onto the bed. Finally I can relax a little. The nurses put a few pillow under and around my leg to hold it in place. I am stripped to nothing and an IV is put into my right forearm. Some nurse is telling me about what is flowing into my veins. After some questions, a doctor comes into the room and tells me about how I can’t go into surgery because my stomach is too full. I trust him because if I were to choke on my own puke during surgery, there would be many complications.

The pain is going away slightly as I relax and my parents talk to the doctor outside of the room. I lay waiting smelling the medicated smell of injury, pain and death. I have no idea what lies ahead so I decide to focus on what is happening now. A little girl and her dad walk into the room split into two by a sheet. The girl had been ice fishing with her father and gotten cut. While her father was pulling out the auger, he accidentally hit her as she reached down for a piece of ice. The girl had to get stitches and she was so little and innocent. Her voice wavered as she spoke to the doctor and she sounded very afraid. The doctor put the stitches in and they were on their way after they filled out some paperwork.

The little girl’s close encounter with an auger kept me busy for a while. I felt bad for the little girl as she was only about four and had to get stitches in her head. At roughly one-thirty in the afternoon, my dad came back into the room. He explained to me what was wrong and what could be done to fix it. My dad told me that I could either have a rod or a plate put in my leg. I hadn’t really thought about how the leg would be fixed and these solutions, for some reason, surprised me. My dad continued and said that a plate would most likely be used because with a rod, since I am young and haven’t stopped growing, there is a chance that it could mess up my whole hip. This would then require an entire hip replacement. My mind snapped, I felt so horrible and alone at that moment. Even though I knew everyone would help me through this, I felt like the most unlucky person in the world at that moment, like every possible thing that could go wrong, went wrong at that moment.

After about an hour more of sitting, I was taken into surgery. They put some warm blankets on me and told me to breath deeply out of that tube thing they put over peoples’ mouths. They told me that I was breathing air, but they lied. It had a sharp taste to it and I was out like a light in a few seconds.

I woke up around six-thirty and there was a large woman standing by my bed. She was preparing to put some blood circulators on my legs. She commented on my awakening as did my parents. They asked mindless questions and my dry mouth answered them just as senselessly. After the lady put the circulators on my legs, she showed me how to work the lights, bed, and television. Well, the light controls didn’t work and the TV channels only went up. That night was the worst I have ever experienced. The circulators kept me awake, as did the automated blood pressure machine that took my blood pressure about four times an hour. I had to pee constantly and I would wake up every once and a while and press my morphine drip button.

The next morning I had to get dressed which was hard. After that I ate some horrible hospital food. A short while after I ate, a short man came into my room with a set of crutches. He worked with me on sitting, walking and using stairs. Then my surgeon gave my mom a medication that we filled on the thirty-minute car ride home. The next few days were horrible. I had to sit around all day and I couldn’t even lift my own leg. The medication worked except that I had to eat it in pudding or water because I have a gag reflex problem. I can’t swallow something without chewing it first. On top of emotional shock and inability to move, I had to do homework. I suffered through three days of sitting at home and the Thursday after I broke my leg I returned to school.

Eight days after I left the hospital, I went back to Stoughton for a checkup. The last of the bandages were taken off and the x-rays looked normal. I was to come back six weeks later.

The next six weeks went by slowly and it seemed like I had been on crutches all my life. During these six weeks, my dad had broken his upper femur and my hockey team won second in a tournament. I was dumbfounded when I found out about my dad. My mom and sister and I went down to see him at Saint Mary’s. He was going to be fine and didn’t need anything to be done to it as long as he was careful for the next couple of weeks. I went back to the doctor in Stoughton and e told me that I could put half of my weight on it for the next three to four weeks. Then I could gradually progress and ditch the crutches.

Going through this whole thing has really changed me. I know what it is like to be unable to walk and I have gone through surgery. Breaking my leg taught me to depend on other people more and that I cannot go through life without injury. I have also learned that having small blades on your skates is never a good thing and that you should always buy new ones if they are worn down.

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