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. Post: 1217 24th St., Apt. 36, Des Moines, 50311. Zelle: firstname.lastname@example.org. Venmo: @newsmanone. PayPal: paypal.me/paragraphstacker.
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.
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.
How’s your summer so far, Dan?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.