Like a number of other people, I find chain letters, endlessly forwarded jokes and these blog chains quite challenging. Don’t you think that there’s enough mindless drivel on the web with me adding to it. On top of that I already have posted the 5 things that will most likely make people walk by me and not say “Hi”. I will not post another 5 just because D’Arcy and James have asked me to. Instead I’m doing this to see if I can evolve this blight on the internet. My inspiration is James saying that he broke a toe once and Bil saying that he’s never broke anything.
With that, here are the 5 worst accidents (no particular order) I’ve been in.
- Fractured Skull #1 – I grew up
innear a very small town in BC. To have any fun we had to go to a not-quite-so-small-town. When my high school graduation rolled around the organizing committee decided to send us out of town to a sports and fitness type place for a dry grad party. One of the events was a tournament of wally-ball (volleyball in a racquetball court). Being competitive, and the captain of the varsity volleyball team, I played all out. At one point I dove for a ball no realizing how close to the wall I was. Apparently I hit the cement wall about three feet off the ground, head first. It knocked me out, ripped my forehead open (still have that rather large scar today) and I left a large blood stain in their precious wood floor. About five months later, when I was off at my first year of university, I started to randomly black out. It was kinda scary. One minute I’d be getting out of bed and heading to have a shower, the next thing I know I’d be face down in the hallway. I decide at this point that I should see the campus doctor, who immediately sent me to a neurosurgeon for a CAT scan. According to that guy I had still had one of the worst skull fractures he’d ever seen. He recommended that I stay in hospital for evaluation and monitoring, but I decided not to. I had a girl coming into town that night to visit dammit!
- Fractured Skull #2 – About four years after my first fractured skull I decided that I should try to duplicate the effort. Apparently I didn’t feel that the cement wall was a worthy adversary so I went with something a little more animate. As you know from the previous list of 5 boring things in my life, I used to ride bulls. At a rodeo during my second stint at a school of higher (?) education, I had a wee accident involving me, my head, and the business end of a bull’s hoof. The bull that I drew up on didn’t want to load in the truck to come to the rodeo so the stock contractor loaded a replacement bull. This replacement bull was of a much higher bucking caliber and had actually been used at pro rodeos (I was only riding in a college/amateur rodeo). To top it all off once I called for the gate and made it through the first 2-3 seconds of the ride, the bull turned back (started to spin) and dumped me off his back to the outside of the spin. When I came off, my hand got hung up in the bull rope and the fun began. The bull was bucking hard enough and fast enough that I couldn’t get back onto my feet to work my hand free. Instead I kept getting sucked farther and farther under him. Finally I was far enough underneath that one of his back feet came down on the side of my head, grazing me from the back of it, through my ear and past my cheek. Grazing is an accurate, but disturbingly understated word because this little tap completely knocked me out. Luckily it also was enough to rip my hand out of the rope. The bull, doing only what it knew, just kept bucking around above me while I was unconscious on the ground. After one or two more bucks he connected again, this time squarely in between the base of my skull and the top of my shoulders. This was enough to make me conscious again and my first, and correct, instinct was to find a fence and get over it. I thought I saw a perty looking red fence ahead so I started running towards it. All of a sudden I felt a huge impact in my back. Apparently there was no red fence, and in my dazed state I was running aimlessly through the arena. One of my good friends came over the fence and into the fray and caught me from behind (the impact I felt), wrapped his arms around my chest, picked me up and put me through the nearest gate and into a safe area. Admittedly, things after that are a little foggy. The next thing I remember is lying on my back watching the paramedics scramble to work on me and having a very peaceful and relaxed feeling about it all. Then my loud mouthed sister (who was quite drunk) started yelling at the EMTs telling them that I’d be okay and to leave me alone. I told her the beer gardens were still open and she shut up and left us alone. After a few hours strapped to a backboard in the hospital (I can’t remember how many x-rays I had that night), and having STARS air-ambulance on standby, I was finally diagnosed with skull fracture #2. Like the diagnosis of skull fracture #1, it came at a very inopportune time so I left the hospital that night for the rodeo dance and women with Wrangler butts. The next day, headache in tow, I borrowed a hockey helmet and rode (well, bucked off if you must know) my second bull of the weekend.
- The Stump – When I was in high school I became an avid skier. A few years back I was living at the base of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and it only took an hour between locking my apartment door and standing in the lift line for the first ride of the day. That season I had golden horse shoe luck and it seemed like every time we went skiing there was six inches or more of fresh, fluffy powder. I was out one trip with a couple of friends and we were blasting down through this small saddle to get up a small hill to the top of a great gladed area. The sun was quite flat and I didn’t see the snow covered stump sticking up about a foot high. I was moving at a very, very high rate of speed and I hit it with one ski. The impact shot my knee up into my chest and sent my careening through the air. Unfortunately I don’t remember the flight, but I have a feeling it was spectacular. I vaguely remember hitting the ground which, amazingly was ski first. Unfortunately, the landing was completely out of control and my head continued it’s downward motion and my mouth made contact with the top of my pole which I’d conveniently planted during the landing. The next thing I remember is coming too on a large pile of blood soaked snow with one of my skiing partners standing over me asking me if I was alright and telling some guy that I didn’t need the ski patrol. The aftermath of this was the largest fat lip that I’ve ever had along with the worst concussion imaginable. It took about four to five months for the effects of that wreck to wear off to the point where I could even be productive at work again.
- The Ankle – This is another story from my bull riding days. I was out at this little rodeo in northern Alberta on Canada Day and it had been raining like it was monsoon season in Manila. There was so much water on the ground that the organizers had a vacuum truck sucking it out of the arena so that we could start the rodeo. I drew up on a great bull that spun to the right immediately after it left the chute, and I was very excited about the possibilities of winning that rodeo. I started to climb down on the bull in the chute as I prepared for my ride. To set the scene in a chute for you, you have to understand that the chute itself is made from steel piping and is only slightly wider than an average bull and a rider’s legs. This bull was a little bigger than average so it was a tight squeeze, and then, to top it all off, he was a leaner. Once I got my legs down between him and the steel piping of the chute, he leaned over to the left with all his weight (about 1800 lbs for this guy). As luck would have it, my left leg was in such a position that my ankle was against a pipe, but my foot wasn’t. The pressure of the bull against my leg sent a searing pain up it. I looked down the outside of the chute (nothing to see but leg and bull on the inside right?) and was greeted with a full, unobstructed view of the bottom of my boot. Being the quick learn that I am, I figured out that this most likely meant the ankle was dislocated. My first course of action was to extract my leg from the chute and do some more analysis of the situation. Once I got it up into the daylight again, I realized that I was going off to the hospital to have that fixed. If I left for emergency right then, I’d have to turn out that great bull though, and I didn’t want to do that. Instead I got my leg into such a position that I could apply pressure down through my ankle and onto the back of the bull. By doing that (not recommend by most trained medical professionals I’ve been told since) I managed to pop my ankle back together. The chute boss (buddy who make the rodeo flow) was kind enough to give me a few minutes to get composed and he bucked out another bull and rider before coming back to me. I made it out on this bull, rode him for 7 of the 8 required seconds and was unceremoniously dumped into to the foot deep mud. I had no ability to walk, let alone run, and my biggest fear at that point was getting gored by the bull and possibly drowning in the mud. Neither happened, I made it to the hospital and successfully pissed of the on-call doctor in that small town by making him leave his Canada Day picnic.
- The Toe – Just so I have some way to tie this to my technical blog I’m going to tell you about how I broke a toe programming. Some could say that I took extreme programming just a little to far. I say, I’m just stupid and clumsy. At one of my previous programming gigs I had a piece of 2x4 wood that was about a meter long. It was my thinking stick. Any time that I needed to step away from my computer and contemplate the direction I was going with my code I would get the thinking stick and wander the halls of the office. From time to time I would toss the stick in the air and catch it as a way to alleviate the boredom of just packing it around. One day I was thinking a little to hard and, at the same time, performing the stick toss. The stick went up, and the stick came down. It came down right through my hands which I neglected to close around it to prevent gravity from continuing it’s course. The next non-movable object that the thinking stick (now a thinking projectile) found was my foot. Contact was made, gravity’s effects were halted and I was now in pain. I only broke one of the toes (or at least I think it was only one….who goes to a doctor for such a trivial injury?), but the whole top of my foot turned black. It was like I had advanced gangrene. My advice to all of you? Extreme programming can be dangerous. Only perform it on a closed circuit and under the supervision of experts.