How I Learned To Cope With Being A Cyborg.
Oh, how I wish it were that severe. I wish I had cybernetic implants – that would make a much better story! Like I lose my arm in a car accident, but the doctors switch my chart with an Army experiment, and I wind up with an Energy Pulse Cannon surgically attached to my shoulder.
I wish it were that cool, but the truth of the matter is that last year I was in an awful car accident (loose term – I was on a bike & was hit by a car going 30) and my hip was shattered. Not broken – shattered! A series of breaks occurred in the acetabulum, or ball and socket joint of the right hip. What happened was, after the car hit me, I went into the air, and the resulting impact with the concrete road below me caused the ball to be forced through the socket, breaking it in about 5 places. The funny thing was that, with all the adrenaline pumping through my body from the impact, I thought I was fine. I tried to stand up – let me say that again – I tried to stand up and put weight on a SHATTERED HIP. Needless to say, that was an unwise decision that had almost immediate consequences, not the least of which was falling on my left (unhurt) side with a resounding, “That hurts! That hurts! Oh my God, that hurts!” Thankfully, I was only on the ground for a few seconds before two kind people came and helped me to the side walk so that traffic could continue on as normal. By now, I was going into shock and was experiencing temporary blindness from my body sporadically distributing blood all around. See, going into shock means that you have been hurt so awfully that your brain is scrambling to try and make sense of what happened.
Unfortunately, this wore off a few minutes before the ambulance arrived, so I was in a great deal of pain for some time.
I could not sit, not even on my left side, because any weight applied to my right side, even shifted weight, resulted in sharp spasms of bone pain. I feel the need to qualify the pain as “bone pain”, because when it comes to physical pain, few injuries hurt worse than those affecting bone. In order to remedy this affliction, two gracious bystanders propped me up so I could stand with my weight on my left foot. The pain wasn’t gone, but it was significantly diminished. Eventually, the ambulance came, the paramedics strapped me to a gurney, put me in the back, and pumped me full of enough morphine to make Anthony Keidis’ mouth water.
In the hospital, I was put under a great deal of stress. I was asked many questions from both doctors and police officers – since this was a hit-and-run, so this was now a criminal investigation. These questions were difficult to answer, mostly because I had just had a traumatizing experience, but also because of the copious amounts of medical-grade painkillers that were currently surging through my veins.
Then, they had to pop my leg back into place. To do this, they gave me some kind of drug that literally knocked me unconscious for five minutes. Here was the strange thing: I was aware of what they were doing to my leg, I could feel everything, but I just did not care. I heard a power drill, and it did not phase me in the slightest. I don’t know exactly what they gave me; I just know it’s a hell of a drug.
I was in the hospital for a week and a half. My surgeon, Dr. Michael Stover, was not in Chicago at the time of my accident, and I had to spend a week in traction. For those that have never had the pleasure of being in traction, it is where doctors drill a hole into your leg, insert a quarter-inch thick steel pin through the hole, and surgically attach weights to your leg in order to keep the ball out of the socket to prevent more damage from occurring. So I had ~40lbs of weight strapped to my leg through a weird apparatus for a solid week. To make matters worse, I was zonked out on opiates the whole time, which completely dries out everything, so I was uncomfortably backed up for almost that whole time. But that’s another story all together.
Before I start sounding too down, in the week between my accident and my surgery, my dad dropped what he was doing & came up to stay with me. My mom & sister came up as well, despite the fact that my sister was in the middle of planning her freaking wedding. A bunch of my friends paid me a visit as well, and I am eternally grateful for all the love and support that came my way. It did wonders to keep my spirits up. Thank you to everybody.
My surgery went very well, or so I’m told. I was under the knife for approximately 10 hours, but from my perspective it went by in a blink. Dr. Stover used about 12 stainless steel surgical pins to rebuild my hip joint. All I know is that I woke up with a foot-long scar on my abdomen, and the traction pin had been removed. I was psyched because I thought thus meant my ordeal was done.
Unfortunately, I had to stay in the hospital for another 3 days because they couldn’t discharge me until I could walk under my own power while using a walker. It took me almost a full day just to sit up without passing out. It took me two days to build up enough strength to walk down a hallway with a walker. That’s how messed up my hip was. Long story short, I finally got discharged & my family took me back to Houston to recover for the next 6 months.
Between January and June 2014, I essentially learned how to walk again. My brain knew how, but my right leg needed to catch up. There were times when I legit thought that I was going to have a limp for the rest of my life. However, thanks to the diligence of the physical therapists, as well as the love and support of my family and friends, that is not the case. I am an excellent walker.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of my hip surgery, and I feel great. My hip works very well, though I occasionally feel it when it’s cold. I still have trouble going up and down stairs, but that’s related more to my being fat than to my RoboCop leg.
This was way too long of a post, and it doesn’t read as disjointed. Happy days, everybody!
-Your friendly neighborhood Cyborg.