So I was originally going to title this one “The Story of My High School Graduation” but this is such a long story that spans further back than just that one moment. You could consider my graduation the end result of this story but in light of everything else I just find that particular moment to be a great conversation starter. I’m getting ahead of myself though. The real story starts way back when I was eleven years old and only just getting in to Jr. High.
–A quick note: This story may come off as being a little depressing or even a little harsh at times. It is in fact a story where I get very seriously hurt and I indeed went through a great deal of pain. That being said I tell this story because I honestly find it entertaining. I’m not telling this to be somber or to garner pity. Rather, I’m telling this story because it is a large part of my life I find this series of events to be legitimately amusing.–
During November of my 7th grade year my oldest brother decided to bring his ATV out to our house. At this time we actually lived on a farm surrounded by empty fields so we had plenty of room to drive around and have fun. On that day there were four of us out riding, my oldest and youngest brothers and my father. Now, my oldest brother is about 9 years older than myself so we didn’t exactly grow up together. Occasions like this were rare and so we tried to make a kind of special day out of it.
After a while of riding around we kind of got bored and decided to make things a little interesting by playing a little game. Here’s the thing, my family gets very competitive and I’ll be the first to admit that we don’t always think things through with our little games. So we settled on something really simple. You see, there were apple tree in my yard and the apples at this time of the year were all off the trees and starting to get a little rotten. We decided that we would all take turns riding the ATV but instead of keeping track of time we would instead throw apples at each other. When you get hit by an apple twice your turn is up.
Now, I don’t know if you know what it feels like it be hit by a rotten apple but it hurts, a lot. These things were solid enough to throw easily but soft enough to leave a decent sized welt when you get hit. Given that you would be on an ATV and going at a fairly decent pace your chances of getting wounded were even higher at that point.
So eventually it came around to being my turn and I had eventually gotten hit once. Having felt it once was enough so I was doing everything to avoid getting hit. I should probably mention that this was my first, and as of now last, time on an ATV. So I was weaving in and out of the barns, sheds and the field so that I’d be harder to hit but eventually they caught on. As I was coming around our rather large tractor shed my dad comes running out the other end ready to throw an apple. The only reaction I could think of being an inexperienced driver was to turn as hard as I could to avoid it. I took it way too sharp.
The whole ATV flipped over. It flung me onto the ground and then preceded to roll over onto my right leg. Now I don’t remember too much from that moment, all I do remember is laying there clutching the ground in pain and trying not to pass out. I was also aware that at that point a good chunk of my right shin bone was no longer located within my body.
The next week or so was spent mostly in a morphine induced haze until what I believe was my fourth night there. The doctor that had operated on me had come in to my room in the middle of the night. Now when you’ve just crushed your right leg they insert a tube into your leg to drain away the excess blood. This thing had been in my leg for several days at this point. The doctor just walked in, said absolutely nothing, went over to my leg and in one swift motion yanked this tube right out of my leg. Just so we’re all on the same page, the skin begins to heal after a certain amount of time and at that point it had began healing itself around the tube. So this freaking guy just walked in and pretty more tore my leg back open. I freaking screamed in pain, as I think anyone of us would, and all he did was turn to me, pat me on the head and go “Awww”, and then he left! He just walked out and I didn’t see him again till I got the cast off six months later.
I “walked” away from this incident having to spend 3 months on crutches, six months in a cast and a shiny new metal plate screwed into my leg. Over the next seven or so years I of course got used to walking on my leg again and living with this rather kick ass scar on my leg. Seriously this thing it kind cool. So for seven years the whole incident had been reduced to nothing more than an interesting story and I just carried on with life as usual. Until senior year.
For the course of the summer between junior and senior year I had been experiencing somewhat frequent pain in my leg. Having the occasional ache wasn’t that out of the ordinary but by the end of the summer it had become a constant thing. So I went to get things checked on and an interesting thing about this test is that they inject this sort of ink stuff into my blood and then monitor it through a special camera. I’m not exactly a doctor so if ‘m butchering that explanation then I’m sorry.
Eventually this test showed that an infection had built up in my leg and the safest way to deal with it was to remove the plate and clean the infected area. At that time I had actually been in my first major relationship and so they were there with me during my operation. In retrospect that may not have been the best idea given what happened next.
Apparently during my operation the doctor came out to my family and told them that my throat had been filling up with a lot of blood. Here this doctor had put the breathing tube in incorrectly and it had cut along the back of my throat. I had gone back several times to get my throat checked up on and every time I was given the same response. They basically told me that they didn’t mess up and I must’ve been sick at the time of the surgery. I wasn’t sick. They refused to admit their mistake and to this day I have a scar down the back of my throat that occasionally gives me more of a hassle than even my leg does.
So here I am after the surgery with a non-metal shin for the first time in years. I’m going to take a little side note and tell you about how they close these surgical openings. They don’t stitches. In fact over the course of my life I’ve had eight surgeries(only four on this leg) and I have never once had stitches. No, instead I get staples. Yeah, staples. They’re not just you basic paper supply staple either, oh no, these are thick heavy duty staples. These things are stapled into my leg to hold shut the wound.
Now, the interesting part is when they come out of my leg. The doctor doesn’t use a fancy tool that removes them painlessly. No, he uses pliers. Legit pliers. He grabs on to these staples, snaps them in half and then proceeds to twist and pull these little bastards out of my body. Yeah, they tickled.
For a few weeks after getting off the crutches and out of the cast everything was fine. Then I started having pain again. This time it was constant and while I had numerous doctor visits after that it remained this way up until around my birthday. At this point the pain was so bad that I wasn’t able to even attend school but I didn’t want to return to my original doctor so I consulted a different man.
Now, apparently the infected area had not even been cleaned. The metal plate was completely removed but the doctor had forgotten to clean the infection! The hell is wrong with this guy? Like, this guy is the reason I distrust doctors and hospitals. The sheer level of incompetence was just staggering and unfortunately those marks made from his mistakes remain to this day as I have already stated.
So, I underwent my second surgery of that year and it turned out that the infection had gotten so bad that they needed to actually shave away the bone. This left me with a shin bone that was far thinner than it should be and couldn’t exactly hold up my weight. Even further, the bone wasn’t healing as quickly as it should. Meaning that even after I got my cast off and such I was still walking on a leg that I really really should not have been walking on.
This brings me to my high school graduation. I woke up that morning in terrible pain, worse than I had been in usually. I actually begged my parents to let me not attend the graduation because it was just too much for me to handle, but seeing them that disappointed made me reconsider. Of course reconsidering cost me my leg again.
I was limping pretty badly that morning, which was nothing new as I had been doing so for the entirety of my senior year. As the ceremony began we walked down the aisle in pairs to reach the front stage where we would be seated. As I was walking in I heard a rather loud SNAP and I stumbled a bit. I hadn’t fallen to the floor but I knew what had happened. The girl waling next to me ask if I was OK. I answered through my teeth, “I think I broke my leg.” She laughed.
Believe it or not I actually continued through with the ceremony, the whole time I was standing on the ungodly painful broken leg. Afterward, I immediately passed up all of my friends and begged my parents to take me home after telling them what had happened. They wanted to go to breakfast instead.
So there I was sitting in the restaurant completely quiet and trying to force down my breakfast. My older sister offered me Ibuprofen to relieve the pain. They might as well have been placebos given my state at the time and if anything was going to relieve that pain it’d have to be one hell of a drug.
I actually lasted three days before going to the hospital. During those three days I was conscious long enough to attend two graduation parties for my friends(I had cancelled my own). By the third day I could hardly get out of bed. The pain was excruciating and it was enough to convince me to finally drive to the hospital.
The doctor had told me that I was the first person he had seen to go that long on a broken leg without medication. Trust me, sleep helped. He decided that even if the bone was reset it still couldn’t support itself so they opted to insert a metal rod into my leg this time. So the cut open my knee and slid in a very strong rod in front of my shin bone. This thing is honestly my only claim to coolness. I mean, how many people can boast about having a metal leg bone. It’s like being a less awesome Wolverine.
I remember going out and telling this to my friends and making up all of these stupid jokes about it. My friend Bill once made the joke that if you kick my shin then you can have one gift granted. Trust me, that’s not something I tell everyone I meet because you would be surprised at how many people really try to kick me. Then you have the moments like sitting down and watching Kamen Rider with my brother and joking about how invincible my new leg is. We would just joke about me cruising around town and attempting to Rider Kick people. Jokes like that have always come up about it and honestly I think it’s kind of fun at times.
And really that’s why I’m so at ease about this. I can look at these incredibly painful moments of my life and I actually kind of dig it. I mean, I have my problems with what’s happened to me but the fact that I can sit down and tell this story and entertain people with it just makes it kind of awesome. I know, I’m kind of getting full of myself but I feel like if I couldn’t joke and write about my own shortcomings then this whole situation would’ve ended up looming over me. I’ll be honest it really did for a while. I’ve had my moments were I’ve cursed my life for what has happened but sitting here and writing about it or even just joking about it with my friends has turned a terrible experience into probably one of my favorite stories to tell about myself.
I hope you guys found some entertainment in this as well. As I said, sometimes it’s good to just laugh about yourself. So here’s until the next bit of craziness.