Growing up Camden

Age is just a number, until you injure yourself

By Dwight Collins | Dec 18, 2013

Rockport — Life is full of twists and turns but it is when those twists and turns turn to crackles and pops that I begin to pay attention to what my body is telling me.

Back in June I was playing in a benefit softball tourney when I suffered an Achilles injury that would have kept a lesser man down – and left me bawling like a baby. After a few days I hobbled to a Rockport Select Board meeting to meet the new town manager and the pain was almost tolerable.

Always on the go – the energizer bunny of sorts – I plowed through the summer ingesting large amounts of ibuprofen and wearing a brace. As the time went by I found myself with a limp and soreness, but was making the best of it as I was told even a strain took a long time to heal.

Fast forward to the Monday before Thanksgiving and I was doing what I had done for decades prior, coaching and wrestling with the kids on the high school wrestling team. I always go in with the mindset that I am not 18 anymore and that I am going to "act my age” when it comes to these types of activities. Well, as much as I try, it never really happens that way, but the one time I actually slow down, it happens – pow -- a ruptured Achilles tendon.

I felt bad for the young man I was wrestling with for a number of reasons, first and foremost the fact that it was my girlfriend's son and he has to now listen to me whine about it. Let me be clear, he did nothing wrong, we were barely wrestling at all, I just landed wrong.

After the overwhelming feeling of nausea passed and just before I had realized what was in my future, I gathered my stuff and drove myself to the emergency department. There I was brought directly in to see the doctor, and after about a minute of her squeezing my calf, she told me to wait just a few minutes and she would be back. Not even a minute later she comes back and tells me not to eat or drink after midnight and that I have an appointment with the ortho doctor in the morning. Great, two days before Thanksgiving and I am going to be laid up – awesome.

The next morning I saw Dr. Leather and by 2 p.m. that afternoon I was being wheeled into the operating room under the care of some outstanding doctors and nurses. The funny thing about going under the knife, is what you remember saying to people as the happy juice begins to work compared to what people tell you was said. Honestly, I remember being pushed to the doors of the O.R. and that is it. My girlfriend assures me I was appropriate and that I didn’t say anything to embarrass myself, but I got a funny feeling that they got a good dose of my stand-up routine I hope to do someday.

Rehab will be long and the doctor says if I am walking without a limp in a year I will be doing well.

I have to say that one of the upsides to going through something like this you really know who your friends are. Like a certain fire chief and his EMT buddy who moved my vehicle to a handicapped spot so “gimpy” didn’t have to walk as far, or the kid that came up to me and said, “hey coach, I hear you are working at IHOP.”

Very clever and as much as it can be seen as a good old fashion razzing, I look at it as their unconventional way of saying they care.

I made it through the holiday and have made some huge steps toward getting better. I am down to one crutch most of the time and I have been able to ride a stationary bike with a walking boot on, so I feel like I am on the right path.

In hindsight, again I realize that I am not 18 anymore, but the thought of not being able to be active doesn’t sit well with me.

Regardless, I am now a slave to the doctors and physical therapist until the point I can resume my normal activities. PT is going to be a bear, I knew this from the moment I walked in wearing my Red Sox hat and saw all the Yankees stuff on the wall.

I guess I’m looking for the humor in life because if I focused on the negative, the next months will be the longest of my life.


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