Emergency room visit: Signs vacation started poorly

Pain exploded in my left knee. I avoided a full collapse to the floor, but I cried out in agony.

The incident’s timing was terrible.

My best friend Paul was flying in from Memphis. He’d land shortly after midnight at the Des Moines airport.

I had decided to tidy up the apartment, organize the stacks of books and comics into something more elegant than garage sale chic.

Arthritic breakdown

My arthritic knees struggle to get down to low shelves. A few weeks back, my friend Sarah helped me revitalize a closet from useless to a space with room to hang all my winter coats and hoodies.

I called upon her organizational skills again with the books. She texted her arrival and that’s when my knee gave.

What physically happened, I can’t recall.

I don’t remember if there was a twist or a pop, a fact I repeated to nurses and the doctor later in the emergency room.

All pain, no weight

What I knew is that I couldn’t put any weight on it. I made my way down the hallway by shuffling my right leg, dragging my left, and leaning on hallway walls. Hoping is not a thing for a man of my girth — unless I wanted to be down two knees.

Sarah finished my book chores. I was useless. Sarah went home.

Unable to put any weight on my left leg, I called the on-call nurse. The nurse said I should go to the hospital.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to my car, nor would I be able to get to the front door if someone came to pick me up.

So, I got my first ambulance ride.


Summer recap

How’s your summer so far, Dan?

Let’s review:

  1. I’m unemployed.
  2. My tax refund remains tied up in IRS hell and creating financial havoc in day-to-day life while I try to transition from 27 years in journalism to being a rookie schoolteacher.
  3. I have crap insurance I bought on the health care exchange, which means I’m racking up another four-figure medical bill while living on unemployment.
  4. Said unemployment was reduced by $300 a week by Gov. Kim Reynolds, who pulled out of the federal government’s pandemic assistance program because, by my estimation, the people who came up with the plan are from a different political party.
  5. My best friend Paul is flying up from Memphis for his first visit in three years and I may be functionally immobile while he’s here.

The paramedics were nice guys. They helped me onto the cot and got me into the ambulance.

I am morbidly obese, and I keep this in mind when selecting residences. I always try to get a ground floor apartment, so the medics won’t have to haul me down multiple flights of stairs.

That’s civic pride right there.

ER blues

The hospital worked me through the paces. I got X-rays. Nothing was broken, which likely means ligament trouble of some sort.

The ER doctor referred me to an orthopedic doctor. I see him after the July 4th holiday.

My parents managed to help me climb into their SUV to take me home and help me back to my apartment.

My mood trended glum as I climbed into bed sometime before 1 a.m.. I texted Paul and tried to convince him not to come up for the visit. The way I felt, I wouldn’t be much of a host.

Things have been going poorly since my birthday.

Despite the efforts of Sen. Chuck Grassley’s staff, there’d been no progress on my refund.

My knee buckled.

Bad messaging

A few days ago, I found in my mobile phone’s blocked message queue a message from a former friend. We parted ways over an issue that was never entirely clear to me.

He called on my birthday to wish me well in my future career as a teacher. Then he proceeded to profanely detail why he believes our friendship ended. The message concluded with “fatboy” and “motherfucker.”

Gee, I wonder if he wants to make up.

I accept that the friendship ended. We disagree over the reasons. But this is the second nasty message I’ve gotten from this guy in recent months.

The calls confuse me more than hurt my feelings. I’m not stewing over the end of the friendship. He seems to be. I could recommend a good therapist. It’s too bad I’m not talking to that guy.

Resilience test

Things worked out OK.

My parents picked up Paul at the airport.

I’ve been able to do some things, but not others.

We took a trip to the comic store on Wednesday and made a few dips in the pool.

We’ll probably cancel a planned road trip to the Ox Bow Inn in Amana and the Prairie Lights bookstore. I’m not sure my leg can spend that long in the car.

My therapist tells me how I handle these situations proves I’m resilient.

I sure wish these resilience tests would go straight to voicemail, like those calls from that former friend.

I’m tired of proving how resilient I am.

Daniel P. Finney writes columns for ParagraphStacker.com, a free, reader-supported website. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I continue writing while I pursue my master’s degree and teacher certification. 
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HOT SHEET: The tragedy of Item Four

Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020

From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.

ITEM ONE: The New York Yankees defeated the baseball team from Cleveland to advance into the second round of the Major League Baseball playoffs that are working very hard to be like the NBA Playoffs. They must defeat approximately 204 other teams in contests of extreme cooking and singing while in costumes to win the World Series.

ITEM TWO: Fox released a second episode of “L.A.’s Finest.” It did not improve. The typist will give it this much: Networks used to be obsessed with “must-see” TV, the kind of shows that would keep you watching a network for an entire night. “L.A.’s Finest” is “easy-to-ignore” TV. This actually may be the perfect kind of show for those of us with smartphones glued to our hands. It provides a nice background as we check TikTok videos or trending tweets.

ITEM THREE: Memphis Paul, the typist’s dear friend and sometimes podcast partner, has entered a treatment facility for addiction to TikTok. The treatment was ordered when he was found on the floor of his Memphis home, drooling into the carpet with his hand furiously swiping up on the app.

ITEM FOUR: Item Four has died of complications from COVID-19. Item Four is believed to be the only numbered list item casualty of the pandemic in Iowa and perhaps worldwide. Item Four was recycled. A private memorial will be held at a later date.

ITEM FIVE: To fill the roster spot created by the death of Item Four, the Hot Sheet optioned the semicolon and the ampersand to Class A Staten Island, New York, in exchange for the numeral 4 and a punctuation mark to be named later.

ITEM SIX: The typist really misses “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” TV show. His friend, Megan Gogerty, wrote a whole song about missing that TV show. She also has a movie debuting through Theatre Cedar Rapids shown via the internet 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The show comes with the Hot Sheet’s highest recommendation.

ITEM SEVEN: The Hot Sheet reminds the public that whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.

ITEM LAST: A condo in Lake Worth, Florida, sparked nationwide interest when the realtor revealed the inner decor included wallpaper made of Budweiser beer cans — every wall, ceiling and crown molding is covered in Bud cans, United Press International reports. Iowans, however, scoffed at the tasteless display. If you’re going to cover your home in beer cans, at least let it be something classy like Busch Light.

Daniel P. Finney covers 5 o’clock shadow for ParagraphStacker.com.

Cut loose and cashiered by corporate media, lone paragraph stacker Daniel P. Finney makes his way telling stories about his city, state and nation. No more metrics or Google trends, he writes stories about people and life ignored by the oligarchy.

ParagraphStacker.com is free, reader-supported media. Please consider donating to help me cover personal expenses as I launch this new venture continuing the journalism you’ve demanded. Visit paypal.me/paragraphstacker.