Thursday, April 2, 2009

The result of not knowing what you are doing

I nearly lost my foot the first time due to a doctor's incompetence. When I was taken to the ER a family practice doc worked on my foot. Clearly I should been sent to an orthopedist; I have no good answer why this did not happen. My foot was immediately put into a cast and I was sent home.

A short time after this, maybe two weeks or less, we went to Durham, NC, to visit family. My foot began to pulsate in pain at my grandparent's house and finally my parents took me to Duke University hospital. I recall them cutting off my cast and the doctor saying 'if you had brought him in an hour later he'd probably have lost the foot.' My foot had swelled in the cast and compromised the circulation.

I went home in splint, a bloody blister rubbing my heel for good measure, then spent perhaps a week in the Summerville hospital with my foot elevated before I got another cast. The bus driver stopped by and I was told she had been terribly distraught over what had happened. I was just a dumb 10 year old kid and really did not blame her. She only stayed a few minutes and I said 'it's okay' and probably little else. Some school official also apologized. I doubt a lawsuit ever crossed my parent's minds in 1963. I was told other doctors eventually asked Dr. Quack to leave town.

Several things caused the accident, but in truth the overcrowding of the school bus precipitated the event. Our stop was not the last one on the route but it was the last one where you had a chance of getting a seat and not having to stand in the aisle all the way to the school. Lurching around corners, getting poked by your pals, dropping your books and having them scattered about were just a few of the fringe benefits from not having a seat.

One day, and I don't think they planned it, it just happened, a few kids had gathered up the street from the bus stop. The driver for whatever reason stopped there and we all had to scramble to get on the bus. After that day we started forming two groups in hopes of improving our chances to getting a seat, as we smaller kids usually lost out. No advantage is too small in the survival of the weakest.

I was standing at the unofficial stop the day of the accident and you guessed it, the bus drove past, we started running like mad to get in line, and I was knocked down by Emmitt (according to my sister). I can't say I remember seeing him, just an elbow to my chest and then....

Anyhow this pic is from about two weeks after my surgery of April 8, 2008. The front of my foot with the hammer toes was the result of the bus accident. I've had this all my life and it has actually caused few problems outside of blisters. As arthritis set in I became a severe underpronator/supinator as my ankle deformed outward and twisted my foot beneath me. Until I had this surgery I didn't know my foot was quite so deformed as I normally don't look at it from the bottom!

I roughly estimate that I got about 40,000 running miles on this thing, but I suspect I will get little on the trade-in.

One last word in this verbose post...while I was in the hospital I heard unbridled, primal screaming coming from outside the hospital. A kid had been cutting the grass and tried to pour gasoline in the mower's tank and it exploded. I think he was burned over 70% or more of his body. He later died.

Now that is tragedy.

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