Jack Tame: My sporting injury horror story


Manage episode 332522363 series 2098284
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We were only two or three minutes into the game when it happened.
The guy had the ball in midfield and I rushed up to mark him. He stepped backwards and brought the heel of his boot right down the front of my right shin. We don’t wear shinpads in our grade. Maybe we should. No foul! Play on! Seriously?!
Maybe my leg was numb? I dunno. It felt bad when it happened and it looked bad when I stared down at my shin, but I wondered if maybe the freezing weather had muted the pain a bit. It just didn’t hurt like it should.
This will shock you I’m sure, but contrary to my public profile, I’m not really very tough. I’m not someone who shrugs in the face of compound fractures and third-degree burns. I find pain, painful. I do my best to avoid it. But it wasn’t through heroism or bravery that I chose to play on, despite the large slit down my right shin and my blood-soaked sock. Maybe it was adrenalin! It just didn’t actually hurt that much.
The most painful thing at the After Hours surgery was the wait. Not sure if you’ve heard, but our healthcare system has seen quieter periods. At first, the lady on the front desk told me it would be five hours before I could to see a doctor.
‘Maybe just get it washed out by a nurse.’ She said.
‘Wrap it up overnight and find someone else to stitch it, tomorrow.’ Hmm.
The wait was only half that time, in the end. I braced for a terrible sting when they flushed out the would with saline and then jabbed me with anaesthetic, but in the end it was all good. They sewed up my shin like a hole in a pillowcase. I drove home and twisted myself into all sorts of highly-unflattering positions in the shower as I endeavoured to keep the wound dry.
The next day wasn’t too bad. The nurse at my GP clinic cleaned and dressed my shin. He poked it a bit to see if there was any sign of infection. It felt pretty good.
‘Does that hurt?’
‘Do you have a high pain threshold?’
He reckoned that last night was a key milestone. 72 hours from the sprig digging out a large strip of my leg, I should know with a reasonable degree of confidence if the wound was infected or if it was healing efficiently, as it should. We should know if the stitches were working.
‘All you need to do,’ he said.
‘Is take off the dressing.’
I started at the corner. I worked up just a couple of millimetres, a tiny little piece of bandage, but I could already see the problem. There was no sign of infection, but every single one of my leg hairs was absolutely, utterly determined not to let the bandage go without a decent fight.
I mightn’t be very tough. But I am hairy. My leg hair could be accurately described as voluminous. If the shampoo marketing department was feeling a bit creative, I’d be hired immediately for a Palmolive ad. Stroking my leg is like stroking a border collie.
I knew what I had to do, of course. Some cliches are cliches for a reason. I tensed my body. Inhaled deeply, to the bottom of my lungs. And I peeled that dressing off my leg like a ripe banana.
Tears pricked in the corners of my eyes. I gasped like someone waking from a fever dream.
It hurt like a bastard.

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