Monday, August 29, 2011

How To Have a Terrible Day

I occasionally -- no, I obsessively worry about "crossing the line," with these blog posts. My friends, family, and co-workers all read this blog. These people all mean something to me in my life and I want to try my best to keep my posts tasteful, informative, and honest.

I've had to, however, pull the, "well, at least it's an honest post," card quite often.

To everyone that reads my blog, you need to understand where the posts' tone, style, and substance comes from. Most of you probably already know, but for you new followers, look no further than the narcotic pain medications prescribed to patients with impressive injuries such as my wrecked ankle.

These drugs, when used appropriately, usually take care of the pain. Unfortunately, they have many side effects -- including constipation and making me look like Martin Prince from The Simpsons.

When you've got a giant external fixator attached to your leg, and the muscles in your foot, ankle and calf haven't had a chance to do some work in weeks, you start to suffer from amazing atrophy twitching. Not surprisingly -- because it's the worst time of the day -- these atrophy twitches tend to occur in the morning while I'm asleep in bed.

So what's it like? It's difficult to describe. Staying with the Martin Prince theme, this picture is a very accurate depiction of what I usually look like when I wake up with an atrophy twitch in my externally fixated ankle.

So let me give a shot at explaining what one of these twitches does to you. Imagine your foot, ankle and calf muscles decided it would be totally radical to chug thirty Red Bulls in five minutes. According to Red Bull's website, when my foot, ankle and calf muscles chugged those thirty sweet energy drinks, they:
  1. Increased performance
  2. Increased concentration and reaction speed
  3. Improved vigilance
  4. Stimulated metabolism
  5. Makes you feel more energetic and thus improves your overall well-being
However, according to my patient testimony, here's what I believe is actually happening:
  1. Increased pain -- going from 0 to 120mph in 1 second
  2. Increased concentration on pain and no way to react -- except screaming
  3. Improved vigilance: my ankle is out to murder me
  4. Stimulated Spunky from her slumber
  5. My well-being was neither improved nor enhanced
When something traumatic like this happens to me, it's difficult to get up until I take my medication and sit and wait for the magic set in. While I'm waiting, there are occasions when the classic race between "the call of nature" and "narcotic relief" take place in my bed, and nature tends to get out in front and hold onto a substantial lead.

Enter the bedside urinal we brought home with us from the hospital.

Now let me tell you one thing. When I first saw this by my bedside at my second surgery, I was petrified. I've never:
  1. Urinated in front of people
  2. Urinated while laying down
  3. Urinated under severe pressure ("Pee in this cup or we'll insert a large tube in your penis.")
  4. I've never measured how much urine I typically produce in one session.
When we came out of the PACU into my final room during the second surgery, my Mom was hanging out with us. She asked about the bedside urinal and I, of course, opened my mouth. Trying to make a joke (which is never a good idea when you are heavily medicated), I told my Mom it is a bedside urinal and she can hold it for me -- referring to the bedside urinal. Unfortunately, and probably inevitably, that is not what everyone else in the room thought I meant.

So a few days ago, I get a Red Bull twitch. After being vigilant and increasing my reaction to the pain, I determine it's business time. Now, remember, I'm groggy. I have just woken up from a deep slumber because my ankle downed a million red bulls and decided it was time to dance the night away in my ex-fix. I reach for my bedside urinal and pull it toward the fire hydrant area to proceed with the operation. Unfortunately, the last jerk to use the bed side urinal did not clamp down the lid.

While Brooke, bless her heart, empties out the bed side urinal when it becomes full, she cannot get every ounce or drop of fluid out of that disgusting jar. Occasionally, there are stragglers. Free riders.

The Start of The Terrible Day

So, as I reached over for the jar and made the move for the fire hydrant, I noticed a light, spotty, cold splash across the crouch of my shorts.

"Is that water?" I asked myself -- mainly hoping it to be true so that I could buy myself some time before the inevitable sank in. It was about two seconds later when it sank in.

Expletives were declared, expressions were emoted. Cries of, "Why me?" and "Holy Moses Smell the Roses," echoed through our new apartment.

I just started my new day by technically peeing on my lap from a pee bottle. Now am I going to cower down into a ball and whimper all day and night?

Hell. No.

Yes, I just came this close to peeing in the bed with a previous day's leftovers. But I'm going to take this like a man. I am going to go out in that world with a level of confidence through the roof, ready to take on anything -- just as soon as I get a change of shorts and a shower.


  1. I cannot believe you said that to your mom. Absolutely hilarious...and totally messed up. Mrs Meehan must be one special lady to have put up with you all those years.

    I am officially adding "holy Moses smell the roses" to my expletive repertoire. Kate informed me last week that I say "holy schmokenolies" on a regular basis. Nothing like being called out by a two-year-old.

  2. I always thought of you as Ralph Wiggum.

  3. Don't worry, it happens to Joshua if he had too many juice boxes before bed...i like that you just shrugged it off and met the world head on. Keep up the good attitude, and don't worry, I'm sure your mom is not too traumatized.