This another Pat related story.
Pat being, perhaps, my best friend. At least one of them. I have to add Kevin and Reggie to that list out of sheer longevity. We have had many different shenanigans over the years.
Titanium Collar Bone…. that is Pat’s fault. Or at least related to Pat’s influence. It was at my friend Mike’s bachelor party five or six years ago. Pat, Sean and my self all drove there together. Sean, in some moment of clairvoyance and precognition, turned to Pat and myself and said “With the two of you together, One of you isn’t going to make it back, or at least get hurt bad.”
Alright, maybe those weren’t his exact words, but it was along the lines that either Pat or I would get really hurt on this trip. We’ve been known to get a little competitive when we’re together. We can push each other, which usually led to stupid things happening.
However, surprisingly, the first night there was awesome and shenanigan free. A day of home run derby at the local Little League Field and some drinking and grilling for a solid night. Nothing crazy at all.
Unfortunately somehow I must have consumed some red meat somewhere accidentally. Because I woke up sick. Not hangover sick, but ridiculously sick. I had some serious vomiting going on and just didn’t feel like moving. When everyone got together to go play Ultimate Frisbee I didn’t even move. Bed was my friend.
This is the part of the story where Pat, being Pat, pushes my button. He walks by and slyly says “pussy.” Being the proud human being I am, even though I felt awful I got dressed, ran down the stairs and proclaimed “No man calls AJ a pussy!!”
We got to the field and chose teams. Of course Pat and I were on the same team. Now we were all pretty bad from what I recall. But about half an hour or so into the game it was pretty apparent that I was dragging. Pat turned to me and said something that implied my manhood was missing. Or it could have been something like “you sandbagging son of a bitch.” Whatever it was he said, it sure as hell got me annoyed enough to know I was going to catch the damn frisbee on the next play. You know, cause it’s Pat, and I can’t let him call me out.
So I run down field and the frisbee comes flying my way. I dive to catch it and make an amazing catch. It is one of those catches that gets better with age. It was probably two feet off the ground, but now, years later, I can with all certainty tell you that the frisbee I caught was cutting the tips of blades of grass. It was that low. Meer centimeters off the ground. And I somehow wrapped my fingers around it and caught it. It was that amazing.
I do a log roll after I catch it, knowing in my mind that was an amazing catch and full well intending to stand up, slam the frisbee down, and shove this catch in Pat’s face (even though we’re on the same team). However I don’t make it that far.
As I go to stand I hear bones grinding. HEAR them grind. In my shoulder. And immediately lay back down.
Everyone gathers around and they ask what’s wrong. My collar bone, its broken I say. I get silly questions like, “maybe you just dislocated it?” When you hear bones grinding every time your upper body moves, dislocation is a far memory.
Strangely, even though I’m sure it killed, I don’t remember the pain. I remember the noise of the bones grinding. I kick my legs nicely while immobilizing my upper body.
When we realize that no one knows where the nearest hospital is because we are in a cabin in the Poconos. A call is made for an ambulance and everyone proceeds to stand around me hemming and hawing while I’m on the ground staring at the sky because moving my neck makes my bones grind.
After a few minutes everyone starts laughing. I notice a camera coming out and pictures being taken. I pleaded to know whats so funny, figuring it is me, and someone finally tells me. “There’s a used condom right by your head.”
That’s right. My amazing catch landed me right next to a used condom. Some more pleading by me and someone moves the condom with a stick far away from my face.
The rest of the story goes quickly from here. An ambulance shows up. They make me sit up (more bone grinding) and I get taken away in this amazing ambulance that actually says “In honor of Albert” on the front of that. I got a personalized ambulance. How many people can ever say that.
In the hospital there is some kerfuffle because Pat overhears me naming Sean as my emergency contact. I picked Sean purely on location. Sean lived ten minutes from my apartment in Buffalo, Pat an hour and a half. None-the-less that moment was rubbed in my face multiple times.
I get some sweet pain medication (oxycodone) and was told by the x-ray technician that I did a really good job breaking my collar bone. She told me I broke it into three pieces, where as most people only break it into two pieces. Essentially I had a big chunk of my collar bone floating around in my shoulder not connected to anything. I told her that when I hurt my body, I need to do it big or it doesn’t count.
Back at the cabin, I take my first pain pill and everyone takes off for some frisbee golf and other activities, leaving me alone in the woods in a cabin, with an shoulder brace on and hopped up on pain medication.
I got a ride back to Buffalo the next day and two days later I saw a doctor who referred me to a specialist. Being the man I was I never had a regular doctor, so I had to contact my insurance, set up an appointment with a doctor near me, and have him write a referral. It was a process my insurance company wouldn’t let me skip. Going into a hospital and having my arm in a sling and having an X shoulder brace wasn’t enough.
The specialist told me most people don’t have surgery for a broken collar bone. They heal pretty well without it. However in my magical case, with a floating piece of my collar bone, letting it heal on its own would have basically made me quasi modo. He said it would leave my left should an inch or two shorter than my right, and an inch or two lower than my right. So surgery was set up for the next week.
Keep in mind this whole time I was going to work, and driving around. At the time I had a Standard car. Picture me, one handed, driving around buffalo shifting and steering. I did it though. I’m that good. At my first visit to the Specialist though my friend Sean drove me, which was essentially a life saver. I almost blacked out from pain trying to get my shirt off. I couldn’t move my arm well, and up till then I hadn’t taken off the X brace, which was over an undershirt. The hospital had specifically told me not to take the brace off until a specialist looked at it. So maybe I smelled a little up til that point.
I have some sweet bruises from this time period. And when surgery day comes around Sean again steps up to the plate and offers to drive me there and let me crash at his house (his amazing wife Missy is more than accommodating) and it’s pretty nice because I have to sleep sitting up and they have a couch with a recliner on it. Also Missy is a nurse. She’s who recommended the specialist in the first place.
I have some pretty ugly bandages from around that time. And am left with a sweet scar. Not to mention the titanium plate sticks way out near my neck. The way it was explained to me was that because I broke my collar bone into three pieces they had to angle the plate differently than normal in order to get screws into all three pieces (once again I’m awesome when I break my body).
This all worked in my favor. Sam always joked that she wanted to date an android. Having titanium in your body is pretty close to being an android. It still kills if it is hit, and the nerve running over top of the collar bone was severed, which they had told me could happen. That means its slightly numb over top of it all the time.
So yeah. Rock it Titanium. You’re pretty awesome.
And Pat, being the good friend he is, sent me a care package. A kick ass care package. Related to Dragon Ball Z, Resident Evil, and the Lord of the Rings.
So yeah, Random Story #4. Breaking my Collar Bone. A short paragraph or two for anyone else, a story from me.