This is about a lesson I learned last Sunday. And like any other lessons in life, I learned it the hard and painful way. That is, to never, ever, imitate what you see in the movies.
Ok, I’m exaggerating. I never actually got to perform a half axle while ice skating with my family. But the damn movie’s the reason why I even thought of trying to ice skate in the first place. It was my first, and definitely the last.
To cut the long story short, I took my family to Mall of Asia (the biggest shopping mall in Asia) last Sunday (to my kids’ delight), a day after we saw “Blades of Glory” on DVD and decided to give ice skating a shot. How hard could it be? I have rollerbladed before, so I figured, it’s just a walk in the park.
A park in hell, that is! Darn skates just won’t keep steady! I found myself clinging on the tiny wall protrusion surrounding the rink, hanging on for dear life for the first 30 minutes! And when I finally mustered enough courage to let go and start actually “skating”, it happened. I slipped. On the way down, I heard, and felt my knees snapping like a broken twig. It happened so fast that I couldn’t even remember whether I twisted my leg, or hyper-extended it. All I can remember is that I fell hard on my lower back, my big, fat ass sitting on my right leg. And then, pain. Unimaginable, excruciating, mind-numbing pain. I let out a loud groan. Loud enough to catch everybody’s attention including a grandma wearing a hearing aid shopping for new lingerie on the 2nd floor of the mall. Skaters started to rush toward me. Among them, a pair of the mall's ice skating crew. I swear I could’ve known what the guys were thinking when they saw my condition - lying on ice, my right leg buried under my bum, contorted in a ghastly manner - I swear the words “Oh shit” were written all over their faces. Or maybe, "dude, you’re so screwed.”
To cut the long story shorter, rescue came and helped me get back on my feet, sans the skates of course. I realized that I have managed to get on the farthest corner of the rink by clinging on the wall for 30 minutes, which makes it even more difficult to walk back to dry land walking on ice with only my socks on. I couldn’t stand the cold for 5 minutes. I was afraid that my feet would get frostbite (I remember the butler in “Mr. Deed’s” quite vividly). And so I sat on ice again, murmuring the words “frostbite, frostbite” to the medic who rescued me. Soon they handed me a pair of slippers. On the way out, I felt my knee snap for the 3rd time. So I screamed again. What irked me was that the crew actually told me that I should just try to walk out of the rink because “it won’t look good” if they put me on a stretcher. If not for the unthinkable pain I was dealing with, I swear I could’ve told them, “I don’t care if I look like a fucking moron, or if my accident causes a commotion, just get me out of here fast! It’s fucking freezing cold, you asshole!” (pardon my French) but I didn’t. A few minutes after, I found myself on a wheelchair, sitting (while still grimacing in pain) in front of a guy wearing a white coat. Finally, a doctor! I was taken to Borough Medical Clinic on the 2nd floor, where I had my leg X-rayed. Unfortunately, I was told that the radiologist just went home, so the doctor (who is by the way not an Orthopedist) read my x-ray results. Then he told me that it “seems” I was fortunate enough not to have broken or fractured any bone, and that the swelling “might” be caused by torn ligaments and muscles. He then bandaged my knee and told me to put ice on it, go home and rest.
To cut the long story even shorter, the day after I got the accident, I woke up with excruciating (I’m beginning to lose words describing how painful it was – by the way, it still is) pain and even more swelling on my right leg. Then I remembered the doctor (who is not an Orthopedist) telling me to have it checked by an Ortho. He also said that an MRI would help determine what ligaments were torn and what to do next.
That same day, I called up Medicard (my health card provider) and asked a referral for an Ortho near my place. They then told me that since the injury is still fresh, I can go straight to the ER and have urgent treatment. So I went to St. Luke’s Hospital where 3 certified Orthopedists (finally!) assessed my condition. They took numerous (7) x-rays of my injured leg in various positions. Afterwhich, one of them showed me one of the x-rays and explained what really happened to my knee. Now, I may not be a doctor but it doesn’t take one to conclude that my right knee is a mess based on the x-ray he showed me. He said I have patellar subluxation – a condition where my patella or knee cap is dislocated from its groove and because the ligaments supporting it are torn, hence the painful snapping sensation everytime I try to move. Damn you, Dr. Not An Orthopedist! Just when I thought it’s just a torn ligament, now a busted knee cap playing merry go round on my leg? No fair! To prove his point, he asked me to lie down and straighten my injured leg. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel anything. Then he asked me to bend it slowly. I did. And then it snapped again. At this point, I have learned to control the volume of my groan depending on where I am and who I’m with at the moment. And since I’m in a room full of sick patients, macho doctors and cute nurses, I tried hard to muffle my scream. In my mind though, I was cursing.
And so, it happened. My Blades of Glory moment has turned into a “Gory” event. Right now, I’m wearing an immobilizer, a leg splint-type of device made of neoprene, Velcro straps and heavy metal sheets. The purpose of which, is to keep my leg straight at all times, since the Ortho described my dislocated patella as “very unstable”. He also told me that I have to wear it, and rest my leg for at least a month. The moment I got home, however, I took it off because it was very uncomfortable (imagine walking, sitting, lying on bed, riding on the car, and taking a tricycle ride with your right leg fully extended). But I was wrong. The moment I finally unfastened the last Velcro, my knee snapped again. By then I was already in the living room so I turned the groan on full volume. Doc was right. Always on it is.
Beware, the Immobilizer!
Today, six days after my accident happened, my knees are still swollen. It doesn't always hurt anymore, but it does get bitchy every morning. I am scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday and I still can’t make a schedule with my Physical Therapist because of the swelling. My new Ortho said that after the MRI results are revealed, we will then be able to know if my knee needs surgery.
I hope not. But then again, every time I look at the heavy, itchy, uncomfortable immobilizer tightly fastened on my knee, I’m thinking I’d rather go under the knife than spend one month with this monstrous device wrapped around my walker. Not to mention that I have to walk around using a cane. Come to think of it, it’s quite cool playing Dr. House. You can get grumpy and stubborn and people will give way. You are after all, disabled.
Whoever said the famous lines “stick and stones may break my bones” obviously forgot to include the word “ice”. At the end of the day, I can only blame one person for my ordeal.
Damn you, Will Ferrell!