Saturday, June 2, 2012

Beware the Hockey Rink Boards

A little personal update...

Still Vegan but the Athlete part has been strongly tested over the past few months. In early February, I was playing defense in a pickup hockey game. I was bursting parallel to the blue line to chase a loose puck when my skate caught an edge. I was just a few feet from the boards by this time and ended up slamming head first.

Well, it wasn't quite head on but more on my left shoulder and head, buckling my head awkwardly under. The bizarre thing was the explosion in my left elbow. I was sure that my arm was broken.

I got into a sitting position but that's as far as I got on my own accord. My left hand was numb, my lower neck made an awful snap every time I tried to turn my head and my elbow was screaming.

In the days of safety and liability, the arena staff wouldn't let me up until an ambulance arrived. This took about 10 minutes, which is a long time for an imagination to work its magic. When they did arrive, my departure was delayed because a kid in the adjacent rink had knocked his head off a goal post - hockey is awesome!

At the hospital, I was able to get out of my sweaty, stinky equipment before being strapped into a neck brace. Since it was close to midnight, and they don't do cat scans during off hours unless it is deemed a dire emergency, I was stuck in the neck brace until around nine in the A.M.

Everything came back cool (or so they thought) so I was released at around 11, with the doctor telling me I'd be playing hockey by the weekend (this was now Thursday morning). The pain was immense. I was pretty much useless. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't lift anything, I couldn't put my own socks on.

I decided to keep clear of the ice rink for a few weeks. I still wasn't near 100% after the two weeks off but informed my Friday guys I'd be returning to play some hockey. On the night before, I received a call from the Emergency Room doctor from her home at around 8pm. She felt she needed to get a hold of me in fear that I would try and play hockey again.

It turns out, after reviewing the x-rays and scans, I had a fraction in my spine, about three notches down - the hunchback spot. I was done for at least six weeks.

I'm good now but didn't return to the ice this year. I will be back playing in September, though. I still have numbness and tingling in my left index finger from the last knuckle to the tip. Also, a bit in my left thumb. Since, I'm left handed, this can be a bit of a pain in the ass.

The pain in my elbow has gone away - not broken but an effect of the nerve damage. Every once in a while, I get ghost pains in my shoulder and elbow, just enough to remind me of the pain I went through for over a month.

Also, I seem to have lost a lot of strength in my upper body - I guess that's to be expected.

The moral of the story? Isn't one, really. I was wearing all the right protective equipment. The arena staff and medical people all did what they were supposed to. Chalk it up as "Shit Happens".

No comments:

Post a Comment