Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Nutcracker and Different Strokes

Friday was the first day to bear weight on the ex-fix while I walked around work from meeting to meeting to meeting to meeting to meeting. As the day progressed, I noticed a common theme throughout the many comments my co-workers were making.

"Tony, I think you're leg is bleeding."

Sure enough, they were right. Both sides of the proximal k-wire were draining much more fluid than normal.

I threw my leg up on my desk and rested it on the two black metal circles surrounding my leg to try and get a better look when I made two important observations:
  1. When my ex-fix hit the desk, the metal circle around my leg moved, bending the k-wire by several millimeters.
  2. The nut attached to a screw holding the metal circle to the large half screw in my leg was loose. In fact, when I touched it, it only took two spins for it to fall off of the screw.
This was a eureka moment. It explains the sounds and pin site agitation I've been having for the last few weeks. I imagine I knocked this nut loose after a small fall a few weeks ago. Because the metal circle was no longer held in place tightly around my leg, it was free to move and bend the k-wire as I walked around.

I neglected to blog about the fall because a) it's embarrassing, and b) my parents would freak out.

I called up Dr. Jeng, again on a Friday afternoon, again late in the day, and he called me back at work to talk me through the problem. I explained the situation and he instructed that, when I got home, I needed to grab a size 10 wrench and get to work stabilizing my ex-fix.

This guy rules.

He also wanted to see pictures of the bleeding and the loose nut to evaluate the situation.

While I've got a good collection of tools, I only have one wrench. And, I think I stole it or neglected to return it to my Dad when I moved out of the house for college (sorry, Dad). Turns out, it was the right size for the problem at hand -- a size 10!

We examined the pin sites on both the medial and lateral sides to see if there were any problems. The movement of the k-wire all day had broken up the scabs and caused the bleeding, so it's a minor setback.

After sending the pictures over to Dr. Jeng, he responded:
Looks good. watch pins closely over next couple of days. hopefully should cool off after the frame has been better stabilized.
Now that the ex-fix is stabilized, it feels much better to walk around in it.

Before I continue on with an extremely funny anecdotal story from last night, I wanted to let some of you know that I will be making a few detailed posts in the coming days on what you need to do to prepare for an external fixator and for surgery. My wife is an ICU nurse, so I've been lucky to have her experience and knowledge. If she hadn't been around, I would have been clueless. So stay tuned.

Now on to last night's story.

These are three of our good friends, from left to right, Crystal, Alison, and Katy.

The guy in the Adidas shirt is Paul. He's dating our friend Michelle, the blond to the right behind Katy. These pictures were taking during Alison's surprise going away party last weekend.

Last night, our friend Binoy, shown here celebrating a touchdown pass for the Buffalo Bills, threw another going away party for Alison. At some point in the night, I'm not sure when, Katy, the Union Boss of the circle of girl friends up here, decided to pull a fast one on Crystal.

She told Crystal that Paul used to be a child actor on a TV show, Different Strokes.

Crystal bit immediately.

No one in our group of friends, except for maybe Troy, is old enough to remember this show. I had no idea what the show was about or who was on it.

Throughout the night, Katy colluded with several of our friends, including Crystal's wife, Troy, to help build the case. Even Paul got in on it, telling Crystal that his parents forced him to be a child actor on this show.

Troy , who is originally from Australia, solidified the belief when he explained to Crystal that while growing up in Australia, he received two TV channels. One of them only showed American shows, including Different Strokes.

"I think that's Dudley, the neighbor."

I helped out by drafting up an email to a friend to brag about how I was at a party with an actor from Different Strokes. Before I sent this fake email, I showed it to Crystal and asked her, "I heard there was someone here from an old TV show, Different Strokes?"

Instead of saying she didn't believe it, she instantly started bragging about how smart Troy is.

"Oh yeah! And Troy even picked him out as the neighbor, Dudley, because he watched it growing up."

Needless to say, we were all having a blast with this.

Not having seen the show, I was curious to see how closely Paul resembled this character, Dudley. It was time for Google.

As you can clearly see, the answer is a resounding, "nope." Dudley was played by an actor named Shavar Ross. Shavar, as you can plainly see, is black. Paul, as you can plainly see, is white. There is absolutely no resemblance between Paul and Shavar.

Katy, Troy, and I laughed for approximately twenty minutes before we could get ourselves composed. We were all in tears.

This evening, I brought it up again with Crystal. I asked her, "you should look up Paul on the internet to see when he was on that show, Different Strokes."

About two minutes later.

"Dudley's black!"

We all started laughing for about another twenty minutes -- except for poor Crystal.

As Crystal discovered the extent of the prank, Troy was sent to the dog house for playing an integral role in pulling the wool over Crystal's eyes. He's facing a $50 marital fine. I told him I could help arbitrate and get his fine reduced.

Man, I love my friends.


  1. How did I miss the whole thing about Paul?!?!

  2. I hope this was on purpose:

    "...including Crystal's wife, Troy."

  3. Whether or not it was on purpose, it is funny.

    Lindsay -- as a general policy, we leave you out of all Different Strokes pranks. Sorry.