Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Weird Wednesday: Fire Science

It's time once again for this week's version of Weird Wednesday.  This week's edition came up in a recent conversation over at Dreams and Reality when Juniper and I were comparing screws.  Oh, get your mind out of the gutter!  I'm talking about the not so little metal twisty things that are sometimes used to repair broken bones.  She got her's as a result of a car accident.  I got mine in the line of duty when I was a volunteer firefighter.

It doesn't sound weird at all when it's put that way does it?  Although the statement is 100% accurate, it really doesn't paint a picture of how it really went down at all. I  was  working when I got injured and the whole mess was duly covered by workman's comp, but it wasn't a search and rescue or a mighty feat of heroism that did me in.  I wasn't, in fact, responding to an emergency call at all.  I was selling bingo sheets.

As you may or may not know, Volunteer Fire Stations get precious little monetary help from the government.  That's one reason they stand out on the street corners waving those boots around trying to get donations.  Next time you see one of them drop a couple bucks in if you can.  They aren't getting paid.  They're trying to raise funds to buy gear ... from fire trucks to turnout gear ... so they can save your house, and maybe your life.

 My station was in rural Kentucky and there wasn't too much by way of entertainment around there.  After struggling to nickle and dime it for years they hooked up with a professional promoter, rented a gymnasium,  had us dress up in our dress uniforms, and once a week we had the biggest, baddest Bingo around.  Big jackpots, refreshments, professional callers, and firefighters selling bingo sheets ... it was a hit.  Such a hit that we started running out of room to seat people.

Not wanting to lose any of those dollars flowing in, we found ways to accommodate the overflow.   At one end of the gym there was a stage with stairs on either side for access.  We put card tables and chairs up there to seat the extra people.  I was working that area, selling extra sheets between games.  If  you've ever been to a bingo hall you know just how impatient those little old ladies can be.  I should have been watching where I was stepping, but I was hurrying to get to the next person and stepped half on, half off that stage and down I went.

To further complicate matters,  there was a board that ran parallel to that stage and my foot slipped up in there, trapped between the board and the stage while my body fell down into the stairwell.  My leg bent sideways at the knee.  Shattered the bone just under the knee and they had to screw it all back together.  Imagine my surprise when I met my orthopedic surgeon ... and he was in a wheelchair.  Not exactly the kind of thing meant to install confidence, but other than the Frankenstein scar the staples left he did a fine job.
Between him and the PT team (who I told at one point that in a previous life they had worked in the torture chambers in a dungeon somewhere ... and LIKED it) I have probably 95% use of my leg.  It gets stiff sometimes, and it drags a bit on stairs, but I can do most anything I could before I injured it.  Well, it IS damned difficult to get up again when I sit crossed legged on the floor, but it can be done.

My biggest complaint is that you can feel the head of one of the screws from the outside.  If I bang that against anything metallic *shudders* omg it feels like someone hit a gong inside of my knee.  It is a most unpleasant experience, not so much painful as, well, ... just weird ;)


  1. That is an interesting way to get your knee screwed up. But I also understand why you say you did it in the line of duty as a firefighter. It sounds so much more noble than I messed up selling bingo tickets. On the flip side, I think the selling of the tickets would be just as noble.
    Oh, and you say it is damned difficult to get up when I sit crossed legged on the floor, but I have that same problem and have never had surgery on my knee. But I won't mention what it might be a sign of for me

  2. I laughed when I heard my fire chief describe my accident as 'in the line of duty'. It's not that it's more noble as much as it just sounds better than 'clutz attack'.

  3. My brother got an injury bad enough to discharge him from the military by falling at a boxing match. No he wasn't in the match. And come to think of it, they were going to discharge him anyway - but that sped things up.

    And I'll have to say that you're injury was definitely in the line of duty.

  4. I can picture that. I had to go in for x-rays once in a military hospital for a injury I got skiing. He asked where the injury was and started laughing when I told him my thumb. He was expecting me to say arm or leg or something you think of when you say skiing accident. LOL he didn't know me.

  5. Owwwwww! I was cringing when I read that - why do other people's accidents sound so much more horrible than one's own? I think it's because we have to use our imagination, whereas when it's ourselves we have all the reality to hand.

    Great story though.. how many of those little old ladies were charmed in by the thought of spending time with (male) firefighters LOL.

    Oh and thanks for the link!


  6. OMG Juniper! The young fellas used to say that those dirty little old ladies were pinching their hineys all the time! lol

    We have time to THINK when it's somebody else that has the accident. When it's our own it happens so fast we don't have time to really 'scare'.

  7. Should have said it was one of the old ladies who pushed you, and then sued her for all her winnings ;) Still, now you’re nearly a bionic lady.
    The enigmatic, masked blogger

  8. I think I cringed a bit on the injury. Glad you're back to 95% though. Sounds like quite a painful PT process to go through.

  9. I couldn't believe all the people, including my ex husband and his family, that tried to convince me to sue the fire dept. for "making" work on that "unsafe" stage. After all, they said, you'll NEVER get hired at a REAL FD now. And THEY were being serious.

    *shakes head" ... some people

  10. PT was the pits JPT. And if they weren't torturing me they made me torture myself. It's amazing how much range of movement you lose just being in a cast for a short while.

  11. Ohhh Ew, you made my bum quiver with the thought of thought of the mini gong inside of your knee.

  12. It's really quite a horrible feeling and it always catches me by surprise, because it's not like I bang into things on purpose and quite obviously, grace is not one of my virtues.