I know, old folks like myself should stay away from “Extreme Sports” LOL ☺
Actually – and you may remember that in the ‘Lend Me Your Ear’ video I was wearing a cast – not so long ago I did in fact foolishly smash brittle bones against an unforgiving pavement.
It was a Saturday night in downtown Olde Naples, the ritzy 5th Avenue district, and I was pedaling leisurely down the sidewalk, dodging rich geezers in Palm Beach slacks wearing loafers without socks draped arm in arm with smiling trophy girlfriends.
In fact, it was one such raven-haired beauty in a slinky black dress that was my undoing…
Never turn around to stare at a girl’s ass while precariously weaving through a crowd on two wheels.
The back wheel of my bicycle bucked and shot straight up when at the last second I ill-advisedly squeezed the front brakes way too hard.
In what seemed like slow motion as I plunged headfirst toward oblivion I attempted to minimize the impact with a graceful tuck ‘n roll.
I mean, like, stunt riders do that in the movies, don’t they?
Visions of that killer ass shattered into a zillion shards of pain.
The ambulance screeched to a halt in front of the Emergency Room where they X-rayed and tightly wrapped my right wrist with an ace bandage. The pain of the fall was bad, the pain of just positioning my arm and wrist on the X-ray table – and, later, binding it – was excruciating.
Little did I know that it was going to get worse.
Like I say, it was Saturday night, and I needed to see an orthopedist, one approved – [and of course I didn’t have my provider list with me!] – by Blue Cross Blue Shield. So ER told me to take 2 aspirin and sent me home until Monday morning when I could locate my own private physician.
The swelling began. The ace bandage was way too tight. The agony was unremitting.
Little did I know that it was going to get worse.
In the Doctor’s office two days later I studied the plaques and diplomas on the wall. He was only slightly older than I was and had apparently from the citations been a combat physician in Vietnam.
I didn’t register the significance of that fact until it was too late.
Again, just trying to stretch my wrist flat on the X-ray glass was unbearable. Minutes later he scooted the film into the frame on the wall, flipped the light switch, smacked his lips & declared it a “Smith’s fracture.”
That didn’t mean anything to me, whatever that was, so I just sat there with my throbbing arm and twisted wrist extended awkwardly out on the stainless steel table.
Dr. Miller – Roger Miller, from Rhode Island – pulled a chair up facing me so that his knees were almost touching mine and seemed to get strangely quiet. He very gently, almost absentmindedly lifted up my right arm, cupping my right elbow from underneath with his left hand and very tenderly supporting the entire length of my injured arm with his forearm.
I noticed (but didn’t really register the significance of) a slight glance and nod to his assistant, a rather burly guy, who pulled his chair up parallel to mine and casually locked his arm over my shoulder, pinning my elbow to the table with his forearm.
Dr. Miller, again very gently, clasped my injured right hand with his right hand, as if we were greeting & shaking hands…
They say that even in the fog of war some inner part of your being can sense what is about to happen before it happens.
He slid his hand slowly back and forth across mine as if to get a better grip – and even blew on his palm to eliminate any sweat or slippage.
Suddenly I looked up and saw that his eyes were perversely focused on his next move.
Before I had a chance to react Dr. Miller jerked my crooked wrist out, up & around, and dropped it in one smooth motion onto the tip of those two bones, the radius and ulna, where it normally belongs.
My screams raised the dead in the morgue in the hospital across the street, and every muscle in my body began to spasmodically jerk and convulse in an adrenaline fit. My teeth chattered violently and I flopped around on the floor like a fish out of water for probably 10 minutes. Still shaking uncontrollably, my skin turned blue as my temperature dropped and the next thing I remember is being tightly wrapped in a drab, olive-green army blanket.
All this time Dr. Miller said nothing: no warning, no explanation, no apology.
Eventually he put my forearm in a cast and sent me home.
The patients in the waiting room, who had obviously heard my screams, gave me a petrified look as I walked out, no doubt wondering what they themselves might soon be in for.
A week later I was back for an X-ray so Dr. Miller could check the progress. “The bones are not lined up as cleanly as they should be,” he said, shaking his head, “I’ll have to operate and insert a pin or else you’ll never have full mobility.”
Without a moment’s hesitation I told him he’d better quick schedule the operating room for that afternoon and put me all the way under or I was going to buy a .45 and we were going back to the battlefield, just him and me.
On subsequent visits, after the operation & a two-night stay in the hospital, he was very friendly and acted like nothing was amiss. “That’s the way we did it when we were under fire in the rice paddies,” I could imagine him thinking.
I went to see him several more times. And we almost bonded, sort of. He had some pet theories about Ancient Greece – and, knowing my background, plus me being a captive audience in his office – would ramble on and on about Socrates & Plato.
I mean, like – how can you carry a grudge & snuff out a ‘lover of wisdom’!
Do I still ride my bike? Of course – just not around pretty girls in tight dresses!