That was an ice patch, not a puddle. Before he knew what happened, before he knew anything had happened, he was on the ground. His shoulder hurt as badly as anything he could remember. Broken? Try to move it — a sickening squelch as it slides back into the socket. OK, let’s try to get up. His foot is caught between the water bottle and the seat post, somehow — how could that happen? — the bottle is in sideways, oh crap, at least there is no pain there.
“What have I done? How bad is this?” Somehow he is on his feet posting to Facebook.
Oh you lunatic. Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve! A minute ago, not even, he was sailing along on top of the world. Two musical services, they sang and everybody loved it, himself especially, and his choirmates. In those beautiful moments, he would have died for the choirmates! What a bring-down.
Pretty long way home from here. It would take hours to walk. Ride? Let’s try it. He thinks he can do this. Downward pressure doesn’t seem to hurt. There’s a lot of black ice on this side street — what was he thinking — his wife had offered to come get him. “But it’s a beautiful night!” Oh you idiot.
Out at the main road, ice pretty much gone because of traffic. Let’s try it. Might not be too bad. OK, carefully…
That’s a pretty steep slope down. Don’t chance it. From here walking would take about an hour. He can do that.
Home. 2:30 am. Bike in basement. How had he managed that? Thing sure hurts like a bitch now. Not like at first, but bad enough. Upstairs, his wife is sleeping, doesn’t want to wake her — shit! — he can’t get his shirt off.
“WHAT!?” Fully awake now.
“I fell. I can’t get my shirt off.”
She helps him off with his shirt.
“Oh my God! That looks bad! Is it broken? Do you want to go to the emergency room?”
He hasn’t seen it yet. He goes to the mirror.
“Holy shit! That looks bad! No, it ain’t broken. I can move it, see?”
“Should we go to the emergency room?”
“I’m exhausted. It’s not as painful now. It isn’t going to get any worse. Let’s wait until tomorrow.”
Most of the doctors and many of the staff are sporting Santa hats. “It looks separated but the x-rays don’t show that.” What does that mean? He has no idea. Discharged with instructions and a prescription for Tramadol.
Next day he was intending to go to work put it’s so painful he’s nauseous. Calls in to work, makes an appointment with his GP’s office for that day, drops a Tramadol, sleeps until it’s time to go. No more Tramadol. He doesn’t want to sleep all day.
His regular GP is on vacation so he is seen by a colleague.
“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m an engineer.”
“So you sit at a computer all day?”
“No, I am often out on the shop floor doing various things.”
Yes, reaching and lifting. The colleague tells him to take a week off then start physical therapy.
Calls in to work, he’ll be out all week — doctor’s orders!
PT, three weeks in. No noticeable results yet. The therapist has him lie on his back and extend the arm straight out. He moves it outward to a 45 degree angle and lets go.
Fortunately the therapist was there to catch it. Very concerned.
“Are you going to see your GP soon?”
“I’ll email him, I’ll call and leave a message…”
Dr. S: “This looks like a third degree separation. It’s been, what, two months? It might be too late to do anything about it! Why didn’t they send you right to an orthopedist from the emergency room? ”
“How should I know? I’m not a doctor! Ask that colleague of yours!” Thinking, Dr. S always was a pessimist.
Two weeks later, at the office of Dr. M, orthopedist, who treated an injury to the same shoulder in 2013.
Dr. M: “What’s going on?”
He takes off his shirt and undershirt and shows the guy what’s going on.
“As you can see I did a much better job of destroying it this time.”
(To the nurse) “Do we have the x-rays?”
Dr M go out and studies the x-rays.
“You have two options, a good one and a bad one. One is surgery.”
“Is that the good one?”
“No, that’s the bad one.”
“What’s the good one?”
“Get on with your life. Go back to Aikido and get back on your bike. Ease into it, that’s all. It’s always going to look like that, but then again symmetry is over-rated.”
He’d had visions of having to spend is life doing nothing more strenuous than choir. He’ll take it. Symmetry is over-rated. Asymmetry opens the possibility of cool nick names. At a party an old friend starts calling him Quasimodo.
He has become Quasimodo.
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