Hi, my name is Cole and I do stupid things, where doing stupid things can cause debilitating, lifelong injuries.
I always like to provide fun and amusing stories for my readers (how are you two doing, anyway?), but I have to admit, I always prefer it when the stories I tell are true. That twinge of realism really helps bring together those stories where I almost accidentally kill myself (via volcano), get held by armed guards, or kick lions in the dick for sport.
So I turned to my substance abusing guardian angel and asked:
"What sort of reading experience could I provide, that my audience would find enjoyable, but that I could also provide safely, with minimal chance for personal injury?"
"You should hurl yourself bodily down a flight of stairs and break your leg in horrendous, and possibly permanently damaging ways."
I woke up to find myself trapped in one of the lamer scenes from the Saw movies. Or at least my foot and ankle were.I'm beginning to suspect that my guardian angel doesn't offer the best advice these days.
But, ever a slave to the approval of others (even if "others" in this case consists of a fictional entity with a deep-seated substance abuse problem. This description applies, oddly enough, to both my guardian angel and my readership), I went ahead and did it.
Do you love me yet?
There was a bit more leading up to it (hooray for slippery steps!), but the end result was the same. One second I was at the top, and then very shortly after that second, I was at the bottom, and noticing that part of my bone was not—
Well, it's a comedy website. You don't want the details. You probably won't want to know exactly how it feels to stand up and physically feel one of the bones in your ankle slide off the top of the other one. Wait…shit. My bad. Spoilers, I guess.
Either way, emergency services were eventually located, and I was brought to a hospital where I was left to sort of hang out for a good while, my ankle smiling crookedly up at me, and I had time to think about how this was the worst goddamned holiday season ever.
Fortunately I was not left alone for too long, as after some preliminary exams (huh, the ankle that looks like a triplets-pregnant blimp that's beer-bonging Haagen-Dazs might be more swollen then usual) it was decided that, "Yeah, we should X-ray that shit."
So I was wheeled to the X-ray room where I was given a lead dick-guard (no, really) and laid down and let cancer peel back the curtain on my finely crafted (and stupidly destroyed) body.
It was decided that I should put a cast on that thing, lest some unfortunate soul get a glimpse at it and vomit everywhere. (And this being a hospital, that would just be unsanitary.)
The next step was to let the cast harden. Now, in order for the cast to have the proper effect and make sure your body doesn't just up and say, "Eh, good enough," you have to have things lined up as the cast hardens. So, how exactly do they make sure that your busted ass leg is lined up while the mold hardens? Well, if you thought, "Grab and hold tight with all the fury and rage that only a country that once tried to march to Stalin's doorstep and evict him can," then you are both an absolute sadist, and absolutely correct.
It was not an experience I would care to repeat. Two stars on Yelp.
Now, normally when you break your bones, they slap a cast on there and send you home after telling you to try and be less of a raging fuckstick so often. Maybe give you some pain meds that you'll sell to that shifty friend of yours. You know the one.
Unless you need surgery, that is.
Wait, did I say surgery? Because that should have been plural.
Yes, that's right. Not only do I suck at climbing stairs so much that I break bones and get sent to the hospital with an ankle that's so fucked up it requires surgery, but I suck at climbing stairs so much that I break bones and get sent to the hospital with an ankle that's so fucked up it requires multiple surgeries.
It's not a skill that I like to brag about at parties.
The powerfully punctual German medical system decided that they would operate the day after I got into the hospital, at the very least to stabilize the fractures.
So I spent a good chunk of the day not eating or drinking anything to prepare for surgery in a room with two other patients. One didn't speak much, but seemed nice enough when he did. The other (a guy in his mid to late fifties) talked a lot about being in the hospital and all of the misadventures (usually involving drugs) that led him to be in the hospital six times in the last three years. This guy was entertaining, and as the only one in the room who could walk, acted as our caretaker when the nurses were busy.
A nurse came in to prep me for surgery, which involved shaving my leg. She took one look at how hairy it was and told me to do it myself. This is not a fact I am making up for the purposes of comedy. An actual nurse at a real hospital took one look at my freak Chewbacca leg and told me to shave it my damned self. And I did. It looked fucking beautiful. The nurse and everyone else in the room called me "Lady" after that.
Unfortunately, I had to wait until the next day to get operated on, which really, outside of an emergency situation, is still pretty fast.
One of the few English-speaking doctors in the building came to consult me about the surgery.
"We're gonna blow your ass full of anesthesia and then staple metal to your ankle 'til you're ready to do an all-Terminator rendition of the Can-Can" is something not even close to what he said, but oh my God can you imagine?
In reality he discussed the risks, both of doing it and of not doing it, and then described a laundry list of drugs they would be hopping me up on so that they could take out their medical axes and hack me open and fill me with metal.
Needless to say, I was on board.
Down in the operating room the first thing I noticed was that my doctor was Keith Richards. And not in a "sort of looks like him if you squint enough" kind of way, but a "this literally looks like the aging rocker took a break from doing all of the heroin in the world long enough to break into a hospital in Berlin to perform ankle surgery on some borderline retarded American" kind of way. He even wore big, thick, golden hoop earrings. I didn't even know surgeons were allowed to wear earrings.
One of the assisting doctors (a woman no older than thirty with pink hair) asked where I was from in America. I said I had been living in Denver before I came over here.
"Oh, the Mile High City." She smiled.
"It was," said Keith Richards with an enormous smile. "Now it's the Mile Even Higher City."
And then he handed me my oxygen tube. I am absolutely not shitting you.
I would describe the next part, but seeing as I was unconscious, that would be hard. All I know is I'm sure they took careful aim with their rainbow cutters and covered the spot with a healthy application of medical kittens when they were finished. Or whatever it is they do during surgery.
I woke up to find myself trapped in one of the lamer scenes from the Saw movies. Or at least my foot and ankle were.
Seriously though, it's tough to appreciate without seeing it all without the bandages off, but it's seriously just some screws that look like a hurried nurse picked up at Home Depot earlier and then screwed into your fucking leg, nothing hiding or guarding that fact. And of course the whole thing is rigidly supported by a structure that I can only accurately describe as "the devil's actual Tinker Toys."
So, with all that metal sticking out of my leg, I couldn't rightly go home, now could I? So, does that mean that they were getting ready to perform another surgery? Yup. Well, not planning, per se. You see, they refused to schedule me until they could secure a blank check from my insurance. My insurance was not big on issuing a check in the amount of "however much the hospital needs for a new MRI machine." So, there was a lot of back and forth, with me and my busted leg being the mediators.
It was a huge, dumb situation that lasted over a week, but the important thing to remember was that my insurance company was actually the good guys. I know, right?
So what did I do for that week? Well…
As much as when you're a kid you want to stay in bed and just dick around on the computer forever, it kind of sucks when you have to stay in bed and dick around on the computer. Not that it's been a total waste. Have you ever played Burrito Bison? Damn that shit is fun.
The doctors and nurses here are pretty much the nicest people in the world. Hell, I mentioned wanting to eat only the healthier food on my tray, which one time included a tomato, and one of them brought me back a small basket full of tomatoes. Super cool people.
But, in keeping with the trend of half of them acting like Scrubs was a documentary, they also never cease to amuse.
Meals ranged from "only counts as fish in the strictest, technically legal sense" to "clearly just plucked up off the floor from the Play-Doh factory."When one of the doctors was changing my bandages (a very sobering process that involves them vigorously rubbing a sanitization wipe oh my God directly around where the screws go into my fucking legs holy shit) he was almost done wrapping it back up when his cellphone rang. I jokingly asked if he wanted me to hold the bandages while he got that. He not jokingly said yes.
He spoke a bit fast so I didn't catch all of it, but I can assure you it was not a completely work-related call.
The next day when consulting with a different doctor (one who actually spoke fluent English) about when exactly they'd be able to remove the Autobot Penis-Pump from around my leg, we came around to how they were having some difficulties dealing with my insurance. I'll get to that in a second, but the important thing was that the doctor said, "But don't worry, we won't send you home with all of that shit still on your foot."
A doctor said that! Haha! Fucking awesome! No medical terms like "Removing the medical instruments," just, "Well you got a bunch of shit there. We'll take that shit off."
Most of my time over the next week and weekend was spent focusing my energy on not wearing pants, and sitting in a bed that was so comfy it seemed to obey my very thoughts. So, you know…I guess you can mark that one up in the "victories" column.
The internet was great, once I got it to work, which proved to be a hassle, largely because you had to pay for it. But for reasons lost to the howling halls of madness, you couldn't pay for it at the hospital. Or online. In all actuality, everyone in the hospital seemed very confused about the fact that the hospital had internet, despite several prominently displayed pamphlets advertising the wonderful internet the hospital had. I attribute this to some sort of horrendous infestation of memory-devouring parasites that burrowed underneath the hospital. That, or since the hospital has a private internet connection set up for staff, they hadn't really needed to worry about it very much. But it's probably the memory worm thing.
In the end, a friend of mine who is so nice and helpful that I'm honestly starting to suspect that she pretty much by definition has to be a product of my own ravaged and diseased mind, called up the internet's phone line and spoke with the operators directly. Using some sort of divine might that can only be attributed to having a connection to the lifeline of the universe itself (and/or asking really nicely), she got me a free week of internet. Twice. I should get her a really nice present.
Feeding myself wasn't a problem, because all of my friends constantly brought me food when they visited, which varied in a truly bi-polar fashion between not healthy (chocolate! Cookies!) and healthy (literally the entire produce section of a medium- to large-size supermarket). And even when I wasn't eating the fruits of friendship (see, that was adorable, and the title of my new children's book—it's about breaking your leg horribly) I had the nourishment of the hospital to rely on.
Meals ranged from "only counts as fish in the strictest, technically legal sense" to "clearly just plucked up off the floor from the Play-Doh factory." So…I guess my point is, thank you very much to all of the people who brought me real food.
I had a few roommates over the weeks to share in my glorious lack of pants. All of them were old German men who couldn't speak a word of English. Which made for great practice of my German skills, but since they also followed the (apparent) time honored German tradition of absolutely refusing to speak slowly or simpler when asked, it was still kind of difficult. The only exception was the third guy I had the day before my second surgery. He was actually super nice and sweet so I won't even make some sort of derivative joke about my time with him.
So, after getting screwed around for a bit and having my surgery needlessly delayed, I finally got the last surgery I needed, and everything went perfectly well and there were no more problems whatsoever and in fact my leg is fine with no lasting damage.
Did you buy that? No? Because you've read my articles before and know that things tend to go horribly wrong around me when there doesn't seem to be any reason for them to? Good.
Find out how fucked up my second surgery went in Part 2 of "The Clusterfuck Saga" here!