The Surgical Story by Reginald Crump

Not so much.

Not only did I not have a seat to myself but I had to share with someone who needed two seats of her own. You do the math.

I of course was on the train first, but once I saw her eyeing the seat next to me, I knew that being able to stretch my leg out in that aisle was more important than leaning my head against the window to sleep. Now, if I had known by this point what the Percocet would have done, I would have opted for the pill and the head against the window for the entire trip. Of course, my own paranoia wouldn't allow me to be drugged up on the train.  I wanted to be alert and in total control, just in case some other dramatic episode went down (after all it is the holiday season). I was once a boy scout and the scouts honor is "be prepared."

Little did I know that she was going to want to chat the entire way, complain about how hot/uncomfortable she was and how her legs/back were hurting the entire time. I should have given her the Percocet just to get her to shut the f*!#k up. You can imagine how my heart ached when she mentioned she was heading to Newport News, the stop after mine.

Thankfully somewhere between D.C. and Richmond the over crowded train began to thin out, allowing all the remaining passengers to spread freely.

With my leg finally stretched across the seat I began to massage it. 

At this point I was still going over the logistics of my PCP stating the inflammation deals with gravity and of course it was making its way down. I could see the inflammation, so I wanted to massage it down and out of my life. Wrong idea.

Around Fredericksburg I started taking photos of it.

I sent photos to my sister to show her what it had turned into. She immediately diagnosed it as being "Cellulitis of The Knee." Little did I know that she'd called my mother and told her to take me to the emergency room as soon as I got off of the train.

Williamsburg, Virginia.

Finally after 7hrs of pain on the train, I collected my belongings and cane and made my way off the train. I noticed the assistance the kind young gentleman gave to the older ladies as they exited the train. But, my youthful gender neutral face did not garner that kind of attention or support from him even with a cane and an obvious struggle. "F*#^! it. I've got it," I said to myself.

Finally, in the car on our way to Riverside hospital ER in Williamsburg. We check in. We wait to be seen. They call me. Ask questions to fill out paper work. I joke. I laugh and try to bring light to this unfortunate situation that has made me super uncomfortable by this point.

I'm rolled into the room.

I begin my story again which is now starting to take tip top shape considering I've been practicing it since the day after Manchild's birthday. I try to not skip a beat.

They agree.

It looks like Cellulitis.

The skin is severely infected.

"What we'd normally do, right here in the office is insert a needle to withdraw the fluid."

"In this case, inserting a needle would risk inserting the infection deeper into the joint because the skin is severely infected."

They test my blood. I lay there for a while with my mom by my side and my dad in the waiting room. This was comforting because the hospital visit is something I've done very little of.

My mother reassured that often she's experienced extended periods of time waiting for the return of a Dr. or nurse to the point of where you begin to think “they've forgotten us in this room.”

They returned with more info and then left again.

This time my mother understood that she could take my father home to give him lunch and return after. After all, our house is literally 5 minutes away across the railroad tracks.

So, she left, knowing she would not be far away and could return once the diagnosis had been determined.

 

The Surgical Story by Reginald Crump

Our uber took no time arriving. We get to urgent care and the nurse takes a look at what is now a swollen calf muscle and right below my knee.

I mentioned the pimple. She said it's possible, but didn't seem to think that was the case in the situation. I left with a prescription for 800 mg of Ibuprofen and good old RICE (Rest Ice Compression and Elevate).

Snow day!

We ordered piZza, turned on Netflix and I began my resting (which ultimately turned into 2 months).

"RICE" for 3 days.

On the 4th day, Tuesday, I was scheduled for an appointment with my primary physician. We took an Uber. By this point, it was more difficult to walk, much less go up and down the stairs of the NY Subway system.

I was seen right away and after her initial touch with the backside of her hand to my throbbing knee, shin and calf muscle, she insists I have it x-ray'd at the emergency room which was possibly 5 New York blocks away.

A cab would have been ideal, but if you're of color and even slightly progressive in NY, you know the challenges of getting a yellow cab to stop for you during rush hour. Somehow an Uber seemed too far away (but still the better idea).

So, we walked, considering we could see the intersection of where we needed to be, it seemed like the easiest thing to do.

We arrive and to our surprise we are greeted at the door by someone who insisted I wait there for a wheel chair.

"Am I still in NY or did I somehow end up in Emerald City?"

Pushed through ER and passing the folks waiting for care, by a strapping young gentleman who also happens to be easy on the eyes. I'd arrived. For the most part I received immediate attention which also included a nurse with an amazing sense of humor. He kept us laughing. I've continued laughing since day one. I highly recommend it for healing and over coming traumatic situations.

Questions, X-rays etc etc.

Nothing found.

I leave with a prescription for Percocet, an Orthopedic Dr's info to follow up with (a seemingly not so urgent) appointment).

The next day, being the trooper that I am I assume it's a good idea to walk to get the prescription from the pharmacy. At a much later date I did some research and discovered that this walk is roughly 2 miles one way.

Anyway, meds in hand I walk home with no real intention of taking them because I've heard the horror stories that go along with this drug. I'm not interested in playing that game.

I continue taking my 800 mg of iBuprofen.

Once home, I continue to do more of what I've been doing... nothing, until I started packing my bags for my holiday train trip to Williamsburg, Virginia.

All packed and ready to go, at 1am Thursday morning Dec 22nd we requested an Uber to take us to Penn Station. Barely walking with a cane we managed to the seating area and requested red cap service allowing me early entry onto the 3am train before the rest of the anxious travelers. 

"Look at god, now all I need is a seat to myself the entire trip."

The Surgical Story by Reginald Crump

The surgical story

On the morning of Dec 16th I laid still on my right side in bed. With the covers up to my chin I sank deeper into comfort as the chill from the window created the perfect amount of shiver allowing me to lazily try and drift back into sleep.

But, it's Dec 16th, which means, it's Manchildblack's birthday.

I slowly began to lift myself to a seated position using my abdominals which were still fired up from the Hot Mess Core class I'd taught the day before.

As usual I took a moment to evaluate how this body was feeling. Mmm I feel good but my knee has a tiny sore spot on it. "What is that?" Looking down at my left knee to investigate the source for soreness I discovered a juicy little pimple. "Ah, yes, that's what's going on."  I popped it.

I immediately got out of bed and sauntered into the day.

Dinner reservations, scheduled meetings etc. etc. everything fell into place.

At the end of the day Manchild and I met for dinner, desert and coffee to carry us into the night party at Soul In the Horn where he'd be a guest DJ and had invited friends to celebrate his birth.

Friends, music, party, cocktails usually means dancing. Heightened  awareness of an interesting sensation in my knee kept me still for at least the first hour and a half.

After several rounds of tequila shots and Jack and Ginger my arms began to move more, followed by my hips and the flick of my look on every other accent. Careful not to get too crazy in the legs or dropping down to the ground.

Surprisingly enough we didn't stay until the lights came on. We grabbed our winter coats, called the Uber and headed to the door around 3:30am.

"It's, snowing!"

The Uber pulls up and I lift my leg to get in, "um, me knee feels really weird and it's starting to hurt a little to put weight on it."

"If it hurts in the morning we'll go to urgent care," Manchild suggests.

First thing on Sat morning I awake and notice right away how difficult it is to shift from side to side. I sit up on the edge of the bed to let my feet dangle, inhale and exhale before leaning forward to put my weigh down.

"Holy Shit!

"I can barely stand on it."

The corners of my eyes begin to fill with water and Tears begin to trickle down my cheek. I've been here before.  I lean against the walls and counters to make it to the bathroom. By the time I come out of the bathroom Manchild is already getting dressed to help me get to urgent care.

From Santa For Christmas 2016 (incision is not what I asked for) by Reginald Crump

They test my blood. I lay there for a while with my mom by my side. My dad waits in the waiting room. This was comforting. Hospital visits are something I've done very little of.

“Have they forgotten us in this room?”

My mother reassured that she's witnessed too many times to count, extended periods of waiting. Waiting endlessly for the return of the Dr. with an answer. Any answer at all. 

They returned with more info only to leave again. But this time my mother understood that she could take my father home, give him lunch and return after. After all, our house (where I spent the first 18 years of my life) is literally 5 minutes away, across the railroad tracks. So, she left, knowing she'd be closer enough to return once the diagnosis was provided.

Christmas 2016 (things I didn't ask Santa to bring)

Christmas 2016 (things I didn't ask Santa to bring)