Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oops, I Did It Again

This is NOT a post on Britney. This is a post on where you can find your gastrocnemius. It's also a post about my skills at basketball. Mostly, it's an opportunity for you all to mock me again...

I have a bad history with basketball. I seem to get hurt playing more often than I ought to. On one occasion, I broke my hand without any contact from anyone. I was running, stumbled, and fell. I tried to catch myself with my hand, but didn't place it well. I rolled forward over it and *snap!*.

She-who-is-not-to-be-trifled-with wouldn't let me go to the ER and get X-Rays until I had helped my sister with her resume. After all, I had invited her and she had driven and hour. In fairness, I think she was more angry about the fact that we were moving in less than a week and it meant she had to drive the U-Haul. And lift the boxes. And do the unpacking.

So, what does that have to do with today? Well, we are going to Playa Del Carmen in a month. And I played basketball on Tuesday. And the wait at the ER was 3.5 hours. The middle part? I missed a rebound and the action was heading the other way. I landed, turned, pushed off, and tried to run. I heard a popping sound and it felt like someone pelted the back of my calf with a tennis ball. Then it became really hard to put pressure on it.

My friends all weighed in with their opinions and it was decided that we had no clue what it was. Since I could move my toes, we ruled out broken bones. I could squeeze the Achilles with no pain, so we ruled that out. I iced it for 20 minutes and once of the guys drove my car back to the office. Why didn't I go get it looked at right away? HMO. Since I was capable of driving, I had to go to my after hours care facility. Thankfully, it was my left leg. So, I made the 40 minute drive to the disease factory. The lobby was full of flu victims.

I was told up front the wait would be long, but I got a pleasant surprise. She-who-is-full-of-surprises decided to meet me and help me through the process. I'm not sure how I would have done it without her. She got me things from the car. Questioned the staff on my behalf. She even took the sweaty sneaker and sock off my foot so the nurse could make sure my circulation was OK. Now THAT is love.

After my X-Ray, they were nice enough to let me wait in the hall outside radiology and away from all the flu cases. After that it was just waiting and icing and waiting and shifting position. I finally got to see the doctor and got my diagnosis. X-Rays were clear and there was no reason to believe I needed an MRI. The verdict? A partially torn gastrocnemius muscle. For those who don't know, that is the larger of the two calf muscles. My left calf looks like Popeye's forearm.

The big surprise was that my treatment was NOT to involve ibuprofen or other NSAIDs. Apparently, medial calf injuries are prone to bleeding and they don't want me to get a hematoma. I've been prescribed R.I.C.E. That's Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. I have to stay fully on crutches for one week. Then I gradually put pressure on it for another week. Then I slowly work up the activity level and am back in business by the Mexico trip. This is good news as it means my injury is not life-threatening. If it had impacted the vacation, my life would have been threatened. ;-)