Monday, March 22, 2004

The 16 Year Curse

For 16 years, I was able to boast that nothing bad had ever really happened to me, injury-wise. I'd never been to the hospital for anything, very rarely went to the doctor for anything and was hardly ever sick. And then I hit 16.

I was in co-ed gym my sophomore year and we were playing team handball for the week. I was chosen to be the goalie that Monday morning. If you've never played team handball...there's a ball that someone throws and tries to get it into a goal that's being guarded by someone holding a large white pad. I don't know if it's usually played with a volleyball but that's what we were using. This guy on the other team, one of the Cohr's twins, whipped the ball at the goal and I expertly deflected it with my pad and tossed the ball out to my teammate. My teammate immediately threw the ball towards the opposite goal as hard as he could and caught the guy that had just thrown the ball at me in the head. He dropped like a rock and was unconscious before he hit the floor, bleeding from his eye.

Of course everyone was concerned for his well-being so I didn't think it was a good time to mention that my thumb really hurt after that last save I had just made. I kept it to myself and didn't tell anyone until I was in the locker room. I mentioned to my friend Ana that I thought I had broken my thumb. She told me it was probably just jammed and to shake it out. I shook it. I almost passed out from the pain. Button-fly jeans were all the rage then and I couldn't even get them fastened, my thumb hurt so bad. I had to have Ana do it for me. Luckily lunch was the next period so I went to the nurse's station before meeting Shanon in the lunch area. She told me it was jammed and gave me a baggie of ice.

I showed my thumb to Shanon and she said "Oh, that's broken! Look how swollen and bruised it is already!" Sure enough, my thumb looked like a roll of Bologna and was purple, black, green and yellow. Looked really nasty. I stayed in school the rest of the day, keeping ice on my thumb. I told the nurse what Shanon said and she scoffed. SHE was the nurse, right? I called Mom at work and had her pick up Epsom salts to soak my thumb in. The nurse swore it would be better by the morning.

The next day Derek was in the Walk For Mankind and we went to pick him up about 4. My thumb was so swollen and hurt so bad I thought I was going to puke. Mom & Dad took me to the Emergi-Care and the doctor took x-rays. Guess what? It WAS broken! And not just that but a RARE BREAK on the joint! He thought I might have to have surgery and have a pin put in it! Luckily, that didn't happen! I was in a cast for 8 weeks and ended up having to be the nurse's assistant since I couldn't dress out in gym. She never mentioned that she didn't know what the hell she was doing when it came to my thumb!

So, after that, I never got hurt anymore (not seriously, anyway), still never went to the doctor and rarely got sick. And then last year I hit the 16 year mark again.

We had gone up to Parker for my cousin's birthday party. They have a trampoline in their backyard. We all thought what fun it would be to go jump on the stupid thing. At first, it was me, Mom and my sister-in-law, Heather. That was kinda dumb in retrospect, having three people bouncing around at the same time but we lucked out and no one got hurt. Mom got off and Heather & I started doing old cheerleading jumps. I hadn't been a cheerleader or had a reason to do any of those jumps in 16 years! I was pretty rusty but I was doing all right. Heather did a dutch and I tried that one. Didn't do so well. Figured I'd give it one more try. I was at the edge of the trampoline and I jumped up, did a pretty sucky dutch and came down directly in the center, the bounciest part of that evil contraption. It sent me flying at a speed that I'm sure was way over the trampoline limit.

The trampoline is set against a huge wooden deck. I was heading straight for the deck and figured I was set to slam into it with my face. I had a vision of what I'd look like with a broken nose and I panicked, pulling my body back. Unfortunately, when my body fell backwards, my foot was underneath the cloth part that covers the springs so my foot didn't come with me. The pop echoed throughout the neighborhood. I thought it was broken. It looked like someone had shoved a softball underneath the skin.

I ended up being just a sprain but I had to hobble around on crutches for two toes looked like little vienna sausages from the swelling...the bruising circled my leg up to just underneath my knee...and I couldn't do any of the exercise tapes I'd just purchased. What a pain that turned out to be! I would have rather broken my thumb again!

Now I'm afraid to see what's waiting for me when I turn 48...the injuries seem to be getting less extreme...maybe I'll just lose a fingernail or something.

But I will never play team handball again and I'm sure as hell never getting on a trampoline again!!

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