Jim: Concussion. [Michael scribbles out something on the clipboard.] What did you write?
Michael: Nothing. I wrote "bringing someone to the hospital."
Our scene opens with a group of college kids bundled up to the max. We drive over to the upper playing fields, home to a massive sledding hill. The four sleds and inner tube are pulled out of the back of the car and we tromp through the snow. At first, we start up one hill, then conclude it's just a bit too crowded for our taste.
"Let's try over here--that way we can all stay together!" a friend decides.
It's freezing outside, very literally, but there's something magical about all the powdery snow and commotion. Kind of exciting, really.
I wait at the top of the hill with some guy I don't know.
"Go ahead," I say, since I'm still slightly apprehensive.
"No, you were here first."
"Okay, sure." So I sit down on my neon green sled, grab the handles, and edge my way towards the drop off. Boy-I-Don't-Know gives me a push and off I go! I gain speed very rapidly and scream out of terror and delight. Near the bottom, there's this teensy, tiny bump. I grab hold to my sled just a little bit tighter and get some major air when I hit the bump. The sled and I come crashing down at a ninety degree angle and I feel this shock reverberate straight through my back. Suddenly, I can't breathe or move. Aw, crap. Eventually, a crowd gathers around and I'm placed on a sled. The next hour is kind of a blur, but I remember there being tears and phone calls; paramedics and police. I carefully explain that I have asthma and can't really breathe right now, so they ask where my inhaler is located.
"It's in my purse, by my bed," I sputter. "It's red. Both my purse and the inhaler," I clarify. For some reason, this strikes me as really funny and I begin to laugh, which hurts like the dickens. They ask if I can move my toes and fingers--never in my life have I been so grateful for working digits!
I hear the sirens off in the distance. Realizing those sirens were for me is when I think it really began to dawn on me just how serious this is. The EMT's are full of questions and it keeps me distracted while they strap me down to the board. I know there's no chance of falling off the board or of being dropped, but I still hold my breath on the way to the ambulance. My roommate stays with me, reassuring me the whole time that things will be alright. It's in the ambulance that I realize two things: 1) I haven't lost my sense of sarcasm. They ask how I'm feeling and I reply, "Oh, I've never been better. This is great!" (which, I'm pretty sure, isn't helpful) and 2) I'm also extremely polite.
I'm shunted to a side room in the hospital, as there have been multiple car accidents that night. The nurse draws blood and gives me morphine--I've never been happier to get poked in the arm with a thick needle in my life. I take a short trip to the X-ray room, but the scenery doesn't change much. Finally, Dr. Mayberry arrives and informs me that my L1 vertebrae has a compression fracture of about 10 to 15 percent. Oh, joy! Really, it could be worse, but I'm stuck in the hospital overnight on a clear liquids diet.
That, my friends, is the story of how I broke my very first bone earlier this week. Nothing has been quite so eventful as that first day, although I did get fit for the HellBrace. HellBrace and I get to be constant companions for the next six weeks, much to my dismay. I did get to move on to solid foods and my mom arrived in one piece, ever the hero. I've had very understanding teachers and co-workers, but now I get to move on to coping with my injury in real-life situations. I have to admit, I'm going to miss the naps and magazines and cheesy chick-flicks (*cough*Win a date with Tad Hamilton!*cough*) that have filled my hours.
P.S. If I die, I'm going to donate my eyes to Stevie Wonder.
Feel free to share any of your horrific medical tales in the comments!