Monday, October 31, 2005


Here I am with my crutches, my daughter (a cat!) my niece Madison and sister-in-law Diana.
I'm dressed up as a guy who runs with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
Like in the other picture here.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My Last Day of Soccer

Today is my last day of watching Italian soccer. My cable company is switching the Italian channel to digital and I don't think it's worth paying a whole lot more just for this, which can sometimes take up a bit too much of my time on Sundays anyway. I'll save my soccer-watching for the world cup in Germany in June. By that time, I may be able to kick a soccer ball weakly myself.

Today I went swimming and did a workout at the Kinsmen. The knee felt OK and the swim felt amazing. I used a pullboy to float my legs, since I can't really kick. I spent some time treading some water in an aquajogger too, and a young woman in a wheelchair came along and was helped into the pool by an assistant. She had really skinny legs (I suppose they wre atrophied), and the assistant strapped a piece of foam between her legs so she could swim. Once in the water, she swam in the fast lane. It was awesome inspiration!

Last night I went to an Ultimate party for Halloween. It was great to see my COQ team-mates, the first time since surgery. I went as an injured bull-runner from Pamplona. Only one party-goer properly identified me!

Jim gave me some excellent tips on taking care of my knee. He was also telling me about the near-certainty of arthritis in my future. Bummer!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Tooth repair

I got my front tooth repaired today. It was chipped from the intubation procedure during the surgery. I remarked to my dentist that maybe I should have chosen the spinal anaesthetic instead of the general (so they wouldn't have had to put a tube in my mouth) but he said he would have chosen the general himself. The chip-repair looks good. He's a good guy even though he has a mullet.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Let's take a look

I have here a variety of pictures to illustrate how my knee looks. There was a lot of bruising down my lower leg. It became pretty apparent the week after the surgery. When I got a fever from catching the flu from my daughter Jillian a week after the surgery, I went to the hospital to make sure the fever wasn't related to any infection in the knee. Luckily, it was just the flu that was causing my fever. After my last visit to the surgeon on October 19, the ortho tech taped up the incision. The surgeon said I could start bending the knee a bit, but it's difficult since the leg is so stiff. I don't use the zimmer much anymore. Apparently, using it can stiffen up the leg for too long and make my leg muscles waste away quicker.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wiring the kneecap

This isn't my kneecap, just a picture of someone else's that I found on the internet. The wiring is similar to mine. Plus you can see the metal staples in the x-ray too, just like the staples in my own knee.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The hospital visit

Saturday October 8

I had a hard time sleeping because of the knee pain and at around 6am I decided to go downstairs to get a cup of coffee. But I could barely move. I laid on the hallway carpet in pain after slowly going down the stairs on my bum like Jillian does. Bev came down and I asked her to call a cab so I could get to the hospital. I grabbed a couple of magazines, a banana, and a water bottle. The cab driver came and by then I could barely get into a car seat. He got a wheelchair for me and wheeled me into the registration area. A receptionist checked me in and sent me to another desk for more information. Then I waited for about half an hour. There were a variety of people in the emergency waiting room, old folks, guys who’d been in fights, drunk homeless people.

I got put into a non-acute ward where they lifted me onto a bed after I put on a hospital gown. This was very difficult. The ward wasn’t quite full yet. I put my clothes on a chair beside my bed. Then some nurses came by and helped me onto the bed. The shut the large privacy curtain around my bed, but my clothes were on the other side of it. At the same time a guy who’d been kicked in the head that night came into the ward and set up in the bed next to me. I’d accidentally put my stuff on the cahir that was in his section. But I didn’t dare reach over and grab my stuff. He was arguing with the nurses and a security guard eventually came and kicked him out. His wife was understandably very upset. As soon as he left I grabbed my stuff and put it on my proper chair. By this time, my knee had swollen up quite a bit. I waited around quite a while in the bed.

Then an emergency doctor, Dr. Yoon, came around and did some tests on my knee. He thought I had bursitis. I went for x-rays. The x-ray tech was a nice young woman and she told me she knew what was wrong with my knee, since she had the same injury when she was a kid, but she couldn’t tell me the diagnosis. I had my banana and a sip of water. When I saw Dr. Yoon again he told me I had broken my kneecap and that I’d have to have surgery. The nurses told me I couldn’t have any food or drink in anticipation of surgery but that surgery that day was a longshot since it was a busy Thanksgiving weekend for the orthopedic surgeons. I tried keeping Bev up to date with the hospital cordless phone but the phone was in high demand a lot of the time. I used my cell phone to send an email. I was hoping she’d get me a Globe and Mail.

I got to know other patients’ cases pretty well since there wasn’t much privacy. The guy next to me had a really bad migraine, so bad that the doctors thought he might have a stroke. He spent the whole day in bed. He even got a cat scan but it turned out negative. Nevertheless, the ER doctor got a neurologist to come in and double check the stroke diagnosis. The neurologist was European and seemed very intelligent. He spent a lot of time with the guy but couldn’t help the patient much aside from re-assuring hime that he had a mini-stroke at the very most. There were two or three native homeless guys in the ER too. They all got the same treatment – getting an appointment with a social worker, getting into “detox”, whatever that entails, and setting up residence in a men’s shelter.

Another guy came in after cutting his eyebrow while playing basketball. A resident gave him stitches. He wasn’t in the ER for too long. The last guy who came in was in bad shape. He had got his finger caught in his truck tailgate. He came in, screaming that his finger was just a bunch of ruined tendons and bones and blood. The resident who examined him didn’t know what a tailgate was. The guy was understandably frustrated. His wife and two young kids came in but they were shooed away. From what it sounded like, he was probably going to get an amputation.

A resident, Jon, came by to check up on me and I recognized him from Ultimate. I had met him before at a teammate’s party for medical residents. I remember when I met him at the party I thought he was a good guy because he wasn’t getting drunk and incomprehensible like all the other residents! Unfortunately there was not much he could do for me, as I just had to wait.

Bev came by and brought Jillian, who was sleeping, and she also brought the newspaper. By that time, it was fairly late in the day. The nurses asked if I had anything to eat or drink and I mentioned the banana. The nurses sent me home as there was no chance of surgery. They told me to call the next day about a surgical appointment. Karen the nurse gave me a prescription for Tylenol 3’s and another nurse put my leg in a Zimmer brace and gave me a quick lesson in crutches. We got a taxi and went home. Colin and Jenia were there already. They got some takeout from Doan’s and we ate, but I was so hungry from not eating all day that I ended up going to bed hungry. Plus Colin got beers and I had one, and it knocked me out pretty fast. We played crib and Bev won. Jenia went to bed early since she is a couple of months pregnant.

Sunday October 9

I called the OR administration at 9 and they said they’d call back after half an hour, otherwise I should call them if I hadn’t heard from them. I called them back after forty minutes. The woman on the phone said I should come to the hospital at my convenience.

I got Bev to pack some stuff up for me but then the hospital called again and said I should come quickly. I asked Bev to drop me off, since she was going to be busy with Thanksgiving dinner. I had to walk a long way with my crutches to the administration desk. They gave me my x-rays to take up to the third floor operating rooms. I carried the x-rays and all the paper work in my hand while trying to operate the crutches, and it was very difficult.

I had trouble finding the orthopedic ward. I had to ask a passing nurse for some help - I was worried about tiring myself out from the long walk with the crutches. When I made it into the ward, they had me undress quickly and rushed through some more of my case history. I was portered over to the OR and it was a nice ride, looking at the sunny hospital atrium through the hallways on my back. At the OR, I talked to the anesthetist about the choice of anesthetic, spinal or general. We also talked about eyeglasses. She opted for general anasthetic. The surgeon that was going to do the surgery was Dr. Sharfenburger, who had sold me her old Honda civic a long time ago, but instead, a Dr. Bury was to do the surgery.

I was put under and woke up in the recovery room an hour and a half later. Everything was blurry at first. I was put into a hospital room with a guy, Roy, who had broken 9 ribs while trying to stop a car from rolling into a wall. Bev came by on her own and I signed out a phone from a lady who takes care of such things. I received morphine shots every 4 hours. Later that evening, I was moved to a different room. Colin and Jenia came by and dropped off a movie (The Life Aquatic). I must have had a different nurse check on me every couple of hours. My sleep wasn’t that great and I woke up at 6am when a hospital worker started to unpack a large cartful of stuff wrapped up in crinkly plastic. Plus the guy in the next bed was throwing up all night. He didn’t sound too good.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The fracture

Thursday October 06, 2005 Fell off my bike while coming back from dropping Jillian off at daycare. I had the chariot in the back and I was riding on some new asphalt. I picked up some speed to beat a car to the 4-way stop ahead of me. I must have come out of the clipless pedals when I stood up since the bike might have become unstable or jerked back a little with the chariot creating some extra resistance. I hit the road in an instant. I tore a hole in the right knee of my bike pants and also roughed up my jacket and ski-gloves. I didn’t feel that bad and I played lunch-hour pick-up soccer right afterwards. I took it fairly easy and there were lots of subs, but I wasn’t playing that well. Then I went to work at the northside office and took it easy that night. Friday October 7 I worked at Southgate without any problem. At night I went to the east-side soccer center for the “Fun Cup” engineering-firm indoor soccer tournament (I played with Bill’s old company, UMA). I played OK during the first game and then started to tire for the next. The third game I played goal and it was a pretty intense game. Near the end of the game I jumped at a ball and my knee began to hurt quite a bit. I could walk on it but the play around the net was hectic. I kept waiting forever for a whistle but it took a long time. I asked the ref to sub off. I didn’t play for the last five minutes and when it was time for beers afterwards, I just went home. I could drive OK but my knee was starting to swell a little. I put some ice on it. Bev and I got into a bit of an argument. She had big plans for thanksgiving weekend and I suggested that she try not to over extend herself. I went to bed in a bad mood.