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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Unplanned Rest: How I Ended Up in Rehab

So, I know what you are thinking: His love of and indulgence in craft beers and bourbon was bound to lead him there sooner or later. Nope, it was a new re-dedication to exercise that got me to rehab. A parking lot entrance with a high curb, a rental street bike at the wrong angle, and speed, with the addition of a concrete surface and (Newton was right) gravity. All that.

I enjoyed Chicago a lot, and during the week I spent at ISTE2018 I rented bikes from DIvvY and had so much fun with that that I started incorporating the Nashville version of it into my daily exercise plans. On Friday morning I had worked out on the stationary bike at McCabe Community Center, then I rented a bike and tooled around a bit on the greenway path surrounding it and the golf course. Saturday, despite high and humid heat, I went straight for the bike, parking at Charlotte Avenue and 46th Avenue North and riding the greenway from there, passing through and along the Nashville Community College campus and then to Target on White Bridge and back through Sylvan Park after retracing my wheels. Sunday morning I set out from a parking space in front of the community center

to go all the way around the greenway trail, and I did. My bike even sported my alma mater's logo.

Panorama from the bridge at Old White Bridge--as a kid this was the road between West End and Charlotte
train track under bridge
I loved this view--see the graffiti under the bridge
It's beautiful back there, but I won't be back there for a while. Here's why: I finished my ride, pushing the heavy bike up that last hill around at the North end of the trail by the golf course, and was about to rack the bike when I looked out Murphy Road. I thought, let's just ride up to my granny's and later my mom's old house and take a close look at it. I drive by it nearly every workday during the school year and this would give me a closer, slowed-down chance to view it. 

Past the round-about, I picked up some speed and decided on a whim to turn into the parking lot in front of the now-defunct Local Taco. I veered in that direction, only too late to realize there was a 2 inch curb at the entrance. I caught that curb at speed at a bad angle, bounce off it and back onto it, and over went my bike. 
I clearly remember thinking I was in trouble, tucking my head into my left shoulder, the higher one, and hitting the curb solidly on my right hip, knee, and elbow. Once I came to a stop I moaned, pulled out from under the bike, and stood up. The pain was incredible, deep, and certain. I shifted weight to my left foot and tried to catch my breath. I was leaning on the bike, looking up eastward Murphy Road, and seeing a slight lady in tee-shirt and shorts hurrying my way with a large leashed dog. She got to me and asked if I were okay. Long story short I gave her my car keys, pointed to my car not 40 yards away, and asked her if she would bring me my car. When she did, I asked one more favor, would she rack the rental bike? She did. "I'm not sure I am okay with you driving," she said. "I'm okay," I replied, the adrenaline clearly in charge. "I'm heading to St. Thomas ER." I muscled myself around the car to the open driver's door and got in. I drove. On the way to ER I phoned Lee Ann, "Don't be mad at me," I started off...
At the hospital I phoned ER from the parking lot. During the drive I realized I was injured more seriously than I had thought. Initial x-rays failed to show the damage, then a Cat-scan did. I had broken my acetabulum, the cup that holds the ball of the femur, that large leg bone that dogs so love to chew on. 
As one doctor described it, I slammed so hard on the pavement that the femur acted like a hammer and impacted so hard into the acetabulum that it created two large breaks in it. However, the x-rays showed that it was not "disaligned," which means in short that surgery was not indicated in my case. I would need to stay off of it for some weeks, but no surgery, "probably."

The nature of the injury required I be transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where "they have a trauma unit that deals with this kind of injury all day, all night long." If, as was still possible, surgery was indicated, their doctors did it several times daily. 

Off I went in an ambulance. The driver asked me a number of questions to gauge my awareness in light of several doses of morphine. When he asked, "Who is the President of the United States," I responded, "Do I have to answer that?" He told me he got similar responses every day. I complied, but I did say "Donald J. Drumph," to keep my pledge not to speak or write the evil one's name. #resist 

The nice ambulance attendants rolled me right into ER and they put me on a bed in the nearest room. The clock said 9:50am. I would be in this room until around 11:00pm. While there, I ventured out once for one more session of x-rays, these a much longer set which included new angles; once for a CATscan; and finally to go to a room in the hospital. They attempted around 5:00pm to send me home with drugs and crutches, but I failed so painfully and miserably to walk on the crutches, my hip spasming with any motion no matter that I kept from putting weight on it, that they resorted to plan B--get a room.

In the room, I was told not to eat or drink anything after midnight in case doctors decided to exercise the surgery option the next day. After a mixed night's sleep, I awoke to medications and blood work and spent much of the day waiting. I worked on blogging ISTE18. Around 2:00pm I was informed I could eat: no surgery! The attending team had prescribed immediate rehab, we decided on Stallworth (only blocks away) and an ambulance was ordered. One nurse said that in the 3 years she had worked there she had never seen anyone so fast-tracked out. 

I arrived at 3202B in Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Center around 4pm, and began a series of schedules to get stronger. When a Physical or Occupational Therapist told me to do 20 reps of any exercise, I did at least 25, sometimes 30. When I did a timed session on the tabletop hand-cycle I inserted one-handed sets and sprints. When a tech was called away for some reason and I finished my assigned activity I repeated it or did another one my position would allow. I worked hard. Today, it's my "Independence Day," and I finish this as I am awaiting the discharge papers to return home. Lee Ann has borrowed or bought all that I need to function at our home and you can rest assured that I will keep pushing. I have to be at school by August 3 and teaching in my temporary portable lab by the first of the next week. I'll do it. Thanks to all my friends and family and to literally everyone at each of the three facilities that nursed me through to the path of healing. In all my time this past week there has only been one doctor, nurse, tech, or service person of any sort who seemed any less than completely present and dedicated to caring and helping. I won't point that person out, because everybody has a bad day and who knows what challenges that person was facing that day/night. #kindness #bekind
flag waving, hoping for a new America post-Drumph

4th of July fun (Channel 2, Nashville)

Going ahead and posting and will clean up later. My ride's here. Play this game:

Where's Scotty?


Gus by Scott Gardner Merrick  I wear these navy slacks I found behind O'Shaugnessy's, in the dumpster there. And they'r...