March 2001

Keith in high-tech velcro walking boot After a year or two of resisting, I finally agreed this year to participate in friend Russ Bird's annual Weekend Warriors event, a one day competition between two man teams in a half dozen events..  Because it was Sunday, March 18th, I thought I would start my training regimen the week before.  Since I have some experience at badminton, ping pong, and volleyball, and no chance whatsoever at tennis and golf, that left basketball as a reasonable thing to try to develop a feel for the week prior, by practicing at lunch.  So Tuesday March 13th I went out to the Intuit court in the parking lot with a coworker for a little lunchtime shoot around.  Well, I needed to work on playing, too, so the shoot around turned into one on one. 

After 10 minutes, my 37 year old body decided it was time to let me know that it was too old to be a weekend warrior, taken off the shelf every 6 months for sudden exertion.  With a pop heard 'round the world (well, it was that loud in my head), my left achilles tendon ruptured.  No pain, interestingly enough. 

Keith supine on the couch I went to an Urgent Care facility on Intuit's dime (because it happened at work), where they confirmed that I had indeed ruptured my achilles.  But as soon as Urgent Care called Intuit for authorization to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon, Intuit said no, he needs to go through his primary care physician (because it happened not on work time but on my lunch).  No big deal to me: I pay enough for medical insurance; I'm glad to be using it.  But I anticipate an insurance company finger pointing tantrum when it comes time to pay the doctors.... 

An interesting thing happened on the way out of Urgent Care, however: as I was literally hobbling out the door, compassion reared its ugly head through morass of HMOs and PPOs and insurance companies.  They said, "wait a minute, please" and called my employer back up.  All right, the conversation must have gone, you won't authorize an immediate referral, but at least authorize/pay for some crutches for the poor guy.  Indeed they did, so the net effect of Urgent Care was an official diagnoses that my primary care physician could use to refer me to a specialist, and a pair of crutches that I am still using to this day.

Keith attempting to hurt his back as well I had the appointment with the orthopedic doctor the following Thursday, and surgery the next morning, three days after the accident. Surgery could not have gone better, at least from my point of view.  There was an hour of prep work (during which time every person I came in contact with, from the check-in desk to the prep nurse to the anaesthesiologist, asked me at least twice, sometimes three times, "Which leg are we doing?"; apparently as long as you keep giving the same answer you get to proceed), an hour of surgery, and an hour in post-op, coming out of the fog.  For being put completely under, I was amazed at how quickly I was able to regain all my faculties (sodium pentathol as opposed to general anaesthesia?).
Doug gets quality time with Dad after kindergarten The best thing about this experience has been being here when Doug gets home from Kindergarten and doing Kristi's usual work with him (reading, handwriting, etc.) before his brother gets out of school.  The worst thing about this experience has been sleeping with my foot elevated, in a cast or a boot, and having just two positions to sleep in: on my back or on my right side. 

I returned to work, still on crutches, on April 2nd, after nearly3 weeks of disability. I am in a fancy "cam walker" velcro boot.  I can't put any weight on my left leg yet, but I can remove it from the orthosis 3 to 4 times a day for my leg and ankle exercises, then ice and elevation.

Just one of Kristi's many inherited jobs The family has been great to 'immobile' daddy.  The boys have been very helpful, picking up the crutches and handing them to me before I even realized I wanted to move. Kristi of course has been wonderful, driving me all around and picking up the few tasks around the house that I did.  And most of all, helping me do all the little things one takes for granted, but suddenly become difficult or impossible when you can't walk.  I honestly don't know whether my injury has been tougher on her or me.  Actually, I do know very well; I just don't want to admit it....
Brad fields the ball at short stop while keeping an eye on the runners. Because of inclement weather, the boys' Opening Day games for Little League were canceled.  However, they each got in three other games in March, and with Daylight Savings Time beginning, they will soon be playing a game one evening a week in addition to Saturday.  Being immobile, I missed the first two weekends, but I was kept abreast of developments on the field by that most decadent of suburban bourgeoisie appliances...the cell phone. 

Bradley was identified early by the coaches on his team as someone who could throw the ball well, accurately, and consistently enough to be a pitcher. He mimics big league pitchers on the mound as well as he immitates hitters at the plate, getting the ball back from the catcher and walking around the mound with his glove off, working the ball in his hands.  Pretty funny from a 9 year old.

Doug shows good form batting off the tee On the very first play of Doug's very first game, the ball was hit to him at second base.  Doug calmly fielded it, made a good throw to first (amazing) which the first baseman then caught (truly amazing) for an out, thereby setting the bar awfully high for the rest of the game and season.  Also during the game, perhaps even more amazing for Doug and T-ball, another ball was hit to Doug playing second base with a runner on first: Doug fielded the ball, aimed (correctly) to throw the ball to second, noted no one was covering second, and so turned and threw to first.

Douglas hits well, but is the slowest on the team.  "He runs like a Mack truck," snickers his mother.  Shirts come in three sizes, with the smaller numbers being smaller sizes.  Douglas is number 14, the largest number and one of the large-size shirts.  I asked him why he had the biggest number on the team.  "Because my shadow's the biggest," he joyfully responded.

Chris, Bradley, Douglas, Ben, Sam at Seaworld Keith's stepsister Judy swung through San Diego with her family the last week of the month on a Southern Californian trip, giving an opportunity for the cousins to get together.  Judy and Phil live in Las Cruces, NM, and have three boys: the oldest is Brad's age, and the younger two bracket Doug in age.  They came by our house twice, and Kristi and the boys met them at SeaWorld one afternoon.  The five cousins got along famously.  Plans were hatched to get Brad and their oldest, Chris, together at Grandma Leslie's in Colorado for a week this summer without the inhibiting presence of their parents...
Reading List:
A Wrinkle in Time (Brad)
A Thousand Acres (Keith)
The Electric Koolaid Acid Test (Keith)
...And now Miguel (Keith to Brad)
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