My Hip and Thigh by Trevor Soderstrum
My rant today: I hurt my leg and wanted to use a heating pad to aid in my
recovery. I wish death on the companies that put out the new heating pads.
Death, death, I tell you, a painful slow demise somehow involving them having to
use their heating pads to stay warm in a snowstorm. They have lowered the heat
on these pads, probably to avoid lawsuits. I get it; some idiot probably got burned
or set their house on fire because they did not understand what the word “heat”
in heating pad meant. They advertise new pads as having a "moist heat" and
most of them have automatic kill switches. Moist heat, my fanny. More like the
temperature of a cup of coffee that has been left sitting on your desk for four or
five hours. If there is any warmth there, it is totally accidental. I want a heating
pad like the old ones, where a person could cook a potato on them if they got
hungry. I would sign a lawsuit waver to have one of these. Not this new
lukewarm, I cannot tell if it is on or off, garbage. Now that you have learned about
the most important thing happening in America, you can go back to worrying
about what Donald Trump is up to at three in the morning.
I have discovered that whenever one has a brilliant plan, God clears His throat.
For the last couple of months a friend has asked me to write some encyclopedia
entries. For you young people out there, before there was Siri, there were these
large multivolume set of books, that almost every family had, that contained an
entry on any subject matter a person could think of. No one actually read them,
but they made parents feel a little better about themselves as they gave their
children lung cancer from second hand smoke. After seventy pages of work, I am
here to assure you that, as hard as you try, you cannot make the history of
laundry interesting. Plus, I had decided to apply to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop
again, which involved another sixty pages of output. Add to this, a few side
projects, my normal routine, and it was going to be a very busy end of the year.
God cleared His throat.
You know you are old when you hurt yourself and you are not really sure how
you did it. I woke up with my thigh bruised from my hip to my knee. I have no clue
how I did it. I just awoke and my thigh looked like a Rorschach test and it hurt, I
mean almost pass out from the pain hurt.
Now, if you are going to have a leg problem, try not to have one in a family filled
with people that have leg issues. One of my brothers lost his leg a few years
back. His reaction to my pain: I should be happy to have a leg to feel pain in. My
father has a rare bone disease and had to lie in bed for six months with his leg
wide open after gangrene had set in when the doctors replaced the bones in his
leg with metal rods and plastic. His reaction: he thought it was funny to speed up
his SUV when he would see a pothole and then listen to me yelp when we hit the
bump! This is not a fun game [Pub. note: Not just fun, but hilarious!]especially
when, in the back of my mind, I am remembering that he has a heart condition. I
have a sister that had both of her knees replaced in her early 40s. A nephew who
came down wrong on the basketball court and had his kneecap decide a better
location for itself would be in the middle of his thigh. I get less sympathy than
Twiggy at a fat camp.
Being the tough guy that I am, I decided to grit my teeth and persevere through
it. This lasted half a day. As I am cheap, (I prefer the term Norwegian-American),
I did not want to go to the doctor. Instead, I asked a pretty blonde nurse
practitioner, that I am interested in dating, to look at it. She asked me to drop my
pants and I thought, “Alright.” She then did what I had dreamed about her doing
for several months. She grabbed my thigh.
God cleared His throat.
I freely admit I whimpered, but it was a very manly whimper, the kind John
Wayne, Steve McQueen or Clint Eastwood might have given. You don’t want the
first words a beautiful woman says to you when she sees you in your boxers to
be, “Stop being a baby and stand still!” She suggested heat, maybe using a hot
tub a time or two, and that I should think about using a cane until could walk
normally again. If I continued to have problems she would give me some
medicated pads that I could apply to my thigh like a band aid to help with the
The cane was out because the only white guy that ever looked cool strolling
around with a cane was Elvis. But a little hot tubbing, who could find a problem
with that? I had access to a beautiful above ground tub. I was talking to the
beautiful nurse practitioner via Skype to show her I was following her advice and
the thought went through my mind that maybe someday she might want to do a
little hot tubbing with me.
God cleared His throat.
As I swung my good leg over the side of the tub, putting all of my weight on my
bad leg, it decided to buckle. Some of you are way ahead of me. I wracked
myself on the tub lip and proceeded to fall in. As I tried to pretend that I had done
it on purpose for laughs, I wondered about the requirements for monk-hood.
What did I learn from this adventure? I look pretty suave with my cane.
I learned several valuable lessons over the next few weeks.
1. If a child or animal is within 50 yards of your injured leg, they are going to
bump into it, usually at full speed.
2. If you end up having to use adhesive medicated pads, make sure you read the
directions first. They suggest the patient shaves the area where the pad is going
to be applied first. It is not a big deal until removal.
3. When putting up Christmas ornaments. Broken pieces will somehow disappear
into the carpet, only to be discovered later by the bottom of your good foot. Your
first reaction to that little piece of Christmas joy sticking out of the bottom of your
foot is to start hopping up and down on your bad leg. At that point you might think
you are calling out Santa’s reindeer, but it is really much worse.
4. If you are given a muscle relaxer, do not drink a few beers and take a nice
warm bath. You might fall asleep, wake up, and can not get out of the tub on your
own power. Now you realize who your real friends are. Who are you going to call
to help pull you out of the tub naked? I discovered I don’t have any real friends. I
certainly was not going to call that cute nurse practitioner because I had been in
the water a good two or three hours. Her giggling would hurt a lot worse than the
pain in my leg.
5. After discovering the new heating pads are worthless, you go into brain lock
with all the alternatives one might use. There are pulsating electrical boxes,
marbles one can heat up or cool down, wraps, creams, gels, band aids that go
either in the freezer or the microwave, etc. My parents had a hot water bottle
when I was a kid. I remember going into the bathroom and pretending that I was
a muscleman by trying to blow the thing up like a balloon. I can remember huffing
and puffing into that thing until my eyes popped out. So, I went old school and
bought one of those. What I discovered when I opened the box is hot water
bottles were also used to give enemas. My childhood is now scarred because
there is no good way of asking your parents if they were into giving enemas
when you were young. It is not a discussion you ever want to have with them.
6. When you are hurt, in mind numbing pain for a long period of time, you make a
lot of promises to God that you hope He knows you are not going keep.
Instead, He just clears his throat.