23 September 2007

Just call me Gimpy

Well, this is certainly not the way I wanted to spend this weekend. Some regular readers (all five of them) will know from my posts on the GOWT forums that I’ve been playing softball in a Friday night league for my new employer, Pioneer Trust Bank. I’ve played for many years, mostly in church leagues, and although I’m not highly talented, I play hard, I enjoy it, it’s good exercise, and at least I’m usually not a liability to my team.

This past Friday night we were playing the first game of a double header. I think it was the fifth inning, and I was up for my second plate appearance, having walked the first time. I think it was a 2-1 count, and he gave me a pretty good one, so I swung, and connected well, and I remember seeing just enough of it to know I’d roped it right into the huge gap they’d left in right center field. I was looking at a double, at least.

Unfortunately, I’d never see first base. About the time the ball was passing over the second baseman’s head, I was writhing on the ground screaming; holding my right knee which was bent at what I’d guess was about a 20 degree angle to the side, and obviously out of joint. I was vaguely aware that my ankle had also popped out, but the knee was the painful one because it stayed popped out for 3-4 seconds.

The ligament involved is the MCL, Medial Collateral Ligament. It runs up the inside of your knee to prevent side-to-side movement.
The injury is most common in football, where players get hit from the side. It's the same injury New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs recently suffered. He's expected to be out 3-5 weeks. Of course, I don't have to get back into "game" shape, I just have to get back to walking unaided again!

The ankle is swollen, too, and has some numbness that I hope will go away with the swelling.
The knee pic just wouldn't come out, my legs are too hairy. :^P

This was the second time my knee had done this. The first time was about 3 years ago, and was much less severe. What makes this one so frustrating is that I was wearing a brace with a metal hinge that was supposed to prevent this very type of injury. Since that one time 3 years ago, I’d not had a problem, and just wore the brace as a precaution. It may have actually hurt the knee worse by holding it out of joint briefly, preventing it from popping right back in.

So here I lay (thank God for laptops), ice on both joints and a set of crutches by the bed. I’ve made an interesting discovery. I love the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Military Channel, those kinds of programs. But they are not made to be watched all day long. They have about 3 different programs each that repeat in sets of three all day long. Once you run through the sets, it’s reruns. Thank God today is football day.

I think I’ve also discovered what it is about my batting stance that makes me susceptible to this type of injury. When I plant my back foot to push off into the swing, I don’t sufficiently pivot the foot to the front, so the stress forces on the knee remain lateral, instead of transferring into a natural striding motion. Unfortunately, I’ve reached this remarkable “DUH” moment too late for this season, and at 42, perhaps too late to recover from a career ending injury, if you can call what I’ve done a “career.”

The really bad part is I am five days from the end of my probationary period at work, so we have no health insurance. My wonderful wife is nursing me very well, though, so unless the swelling doesn’t go down (and so far it hasn’t), hopefully I’ll be able to simply keep the weight off of it and keep it iced for a few days and gradually let it heal. It took about 2 weeks last time, but I was able to at least limp on it almost immediately last time, too. I think this one is going to take a little longer as of tonight, it still can't bear weight. Let’s hope we don’t have to change my name to “Stumpy” (oh yeah, that’s already taken), though I admit, amputation looked pretty good lying on the bleachers Friday night with no pain meds yet! I just hope it doesn't come to this:

PS. Whoohoo to my Blog for its 2,000th page hit!

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