My Personal Horror Flick

June 23rd, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

crutchesThe Day of Black Ice doesn’t quite sound like a horror movie, but to me it’s close enough. From reports of surgeons and nurses, I have come to believe my broken leg was just one twist on a karmic joke affecting Boston.

The tales from the orthopedic types have amassed from the apocryphal to the empirical.

When I was still stupefied by morphine following my surgery, one of the grinning bone manglers at the bottom of my bed noted that they had done five of my particular operation within 36 hours, a high for Brigham & Women’s Hospital. That would be opening up my knee from behind the patella, reaming out the marrow from the tibia and inserting a titanium pin (Expert Nail) the length of it to keep me together.

In a followup session with a resident and the head of Partners’ orthopedic trauma, I heard that February 9th was the heaviest load the ER and hospital had ever experienced. Moreover, I subsequently heard from an ER nurse at Beth Israel Hospital that she almost turned around and headed home that morning. She got to the entrance and saw a couple of dozen ambulances lined up like so many taxis at an airport. Most as it turns out where carrying orthopedically injured sufferers.

We had had freezing, thawing and refreezing roads and sidewalks for over a week. I had labored on our side of the hill where live every day. I got new bags of salt and brought up the metal snow shovels I rarely use from the basement. It wasn’t easy to keep our sidewalks safe, but it was safety, courtesy, common sense and city ordinance.

Were I fell though was on the other side of the hill across the street. It seems the women there made no effort to eliminate the black ice. Afterward when I was cut up and drugged up, my wife spoke with a lawyer. He quickly dissuaded her of trying to recover anything for what courts view as acts of nature or some jokester god.

Even our immediate neighbor felt the day of black ice. She fell on her own steps leaving her house, breaking a bone in her foot.  It was the worst orthopedic day in Boston, it seems, and we were part of it

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