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Exercise Kills

When Elaine and I moved to the mountains, we knew there would be challenges. “Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.” This past week the bear got me!

OK, I know we come here to laugh, and we will. Truthfully, I’m going to need to work pretty hard to make this one funny.

This story starts with a bike ride, a mountain bike ride. The destination was a neighbor’s house about a half mile away. I shouldn’t have been on my bike anyway. I had been fighting a bad case of bronchitis.

Exiting my driveway, a right turn will have you traveling down a very steep gravel road. A left turn will have you traveling up a similarly steep hill. I chose right. I have traveled down that road hundreds of times.

It was a little different on this day. I was carrying one of those fancy metal sports bottles filled with iced tea. As I picked up speed (due to the extreme slope) I started squeezing the hand brakes. The sports bottle somehow became engaged with the hand brake. Every time I tried to dislodge the sports bottle it activated the brake. I realized I was going to crash. I “aimed” my bicycle toward the side of the road hoping to reach the ditch on the side of the road.

I have heard the stories about your life going into slo-motion when something bad is about to happen. Not true. In the blink of an eye my bike and I were sliding through the weeds in the ditch. Lying in the dry, thorny, scratchy weeds was less fun than the actual fall. I jumped up, bleeding and embarrassed. I looked around to see if anyone saw this old hillbilly fall. Apparently no one had.

I looked for damage, not on the bike; I looked for damage on me. I had a few scrapes and scratches, and one fairly decent cut. I received some quick first aid at the neighbor’s, hydrogen peroxide. Turns out, maybe it was too quick.

Skip forward about a week. I woke up on day and my foot was a little swollen and maybe a little red. I did what every German-Russian would do and ignored it. By the end of the day, my foot really hurt. “Just ignore it, Monner. It will get better.” The next day my foot didn’t seem as red, it didn’t seem to hurt as bad. “See, I told you it would get better.” At the end of the day, I “happened” to notice my sock was bloody; my foot was three times its normal size, and bright red. (German-Russians do not use doctors until body parts are four times the original size.)

I showed Elaine my foot. After a short conversation, Elaine said, “Get dressed, we’re going!”

At the ER, the staff seemed to have an urgency that I did not quite understand. One of the nurses mentioned they were preparing a room for me upstairs. I didn’t believe her. “For a fat, red foot. Nah!”

A doctor came in and said, “Monner, you have a severe infection in your foot and it is traveling up your leg.” What do you say to that?! I’ll tell you what I said, “(Construction language!) Elaine, you might as well go home.”

Finally, in my hospital room (and Elaine on her way home) I was introduced to the TV remote and my night nurse. I had been stuck with every size needle, which I do not enjoy. As a matter a fact, I cover my head with a blanket every time someone entered with anything sharper than the plastic fork I used for meals.

The next morning it started. Here came the doctor. We talked about the beard he grows every November. We talked about him being called the “skinny Santa”. We talked about the effect of infections on the body. Finally, we talked about the specialist that would be working on/with me.

Next was the question lady. “What do you do for fun?” “Do you eat healthy?” And then she asked the question that put me in Monner mode. “How much water do you drink?” I told her, “I don’t drink water, fish poop in water.” Not fazed, she asked, “Well how do you hydrate yourself?” I said, “Vodka!” I came to regret that later. We will talk about that in a minute.

Next up, the podiatrist. Incidentally, she didn’t laugh much. Of course, her job was to remove the 1-3/4”, 1/8” diameter splinter from between my toes. It looked to me like half of a pretzel stick. No wonder my foot hurt. It didn’t take much cutting and the splinter/thorn came shooting out. It was a little alarming when she said, “God. I hope this isn’t a bone!”

Did I mention this story is quite long? Get something to drink and enjoy. Stay away from Vodka.

I made friends with the nurses to keep my sanity. Some of them actually understood my humor.

The night nurse was a somewhat reserved young woman form Poland named Hanna. We talked about Polish food, the Polish people in Chicago, Kromski spinning wheels and looms (After all, this is a Your Daily Fiber blog) and………

At some point during the night. alarms on that IV thing in the room started beeping. A nurse ran in to shut it off. She apologized for the machine waking me and I said, “No big deal, I’m going to be dead in a couple hours anyway.” She went straight to Hanna and tattled, “Your patient said he is going to be dead in two hours.” Hanna told her, “He has a dark sense of humor, don't pay any attention when he says that."

The third night of my hospital stay a guy walked in my room at about 3:00 AM. He announced he was going to draw blood and change my IV to my other arm. I hoped I was dreaming. I wasn't. I told him, "I'm going to cover my head with my pillow." A short time later he said, "Dude, your head's under your pillow!" I said, "I know."

Here comes the vodka part. The next day, the daytime nurse came in with some heart monitoring equipment. I asked why it was to be used. “The doctor thinks you may go into alcohol withdrawal.” My jokes had backfired a little. The next conversation was not funny or pleasant. I told the nurse she was not using that equipment for that reason. She mentioned it was not her idea and knew it was unnecessary, but was out of her hands.

Me: You get that (construction language) doctor in here and have him tell me I’m a drunk! Nurse: The doctor thinks you seem flushed and sweaty. Me: It’s 78 (construction language) degrees in here! Nurse: You never asked to lower it. Me: I’m here to entertain; you guys are in charge of the thermostat. Nurse: I need to leave for a while.

She came back an hour later without the doctor; turned down the thermostat and told me she talked to the doctor. No heart monitoring needed.

Before I get back to the unfunny medical stuff, I have one more nurse story. I think I might have told every night nurse that I was dying at 2:30 AM every night I was there. OK I know I did that, but I was under medication. The last night I was there the night nurse woke me at 2:45 to remind me I was still alive. I deserved it.

OK, the staff was great. For a guy who cannot lay in bed for three days and four nights it was almost fun.

By now you realize I am out of the hospital. However, my journey is not over. I have a pickline (an IV running from my arm to my heart) imbedded in my chest. I need to return to the hospital daily for antibiotics for at least the next two weeks. I cannot wear a shoe on my right foot. I must have wound care on my foot daily. I’m alive, and I thank the staff and God for that.

Elaine, Ivy, Girl and Boy Twin; I love you!

You guys, thanks for reading. Buy yarn and stuff! I have a couple doctors to pay!

Our crazy lives!


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