Though based on actual events, some of this has been . . . enhanced . . . for dramatic effect.
On Friday, I took Anne to the Moonlight roller rink for her birthday. It was totally awesome, and we had exactly the kind of fun we remembered having when we went to roller rinks as kids, which was kind of the plan when we made it.
While we were there, I learned something: Newton's first law of motion isn't just something you have to study in school; I proved the goddamn thing.
Here's how it (and I) went down: I was rolling along on those old retro 4-wheeled skates I was the fucking master of when I was in middle school. Nearing the edge of the rink at the blistering speed of about three miles per hour, I bumped one skate with the other, transforming my feet from a means of travel into a perfect pivot point. I flew straight to the floor, stupidly throwing my right hand out to break my fall.
My hand hit the floor, and stuck. It didn't skip, it didn't slide, it just stuck there, waiting for the rest of me to crash onto it. It was not disappointed.
Guess what happens when you take 150 pounds of me, accelerate it to three or so miles per hour, then drop it from about six feet onto four inches of balled-up fist? It turns out you focus a whole lot of rib-breaking power onto a small surface.
It didn't really hurt when I fell; it was silly and a little embarrassing more than anything else, but when I fell a second time in almost the exact same way two hours later, I knew I was in for an ouchy evening.
Friday night was fine, but it ached a whole lot on Saturday. By Saturday night, it was a constant ache, occasionally disturbed by stabbing flashes of real pain. Sunday was bad, Monday was bad, yesterday was better in the morning, and by last night, I thought that maybe I was on my way to recovery.
I woke up this morning - after waking up six or seven times overnight - in absolutely unbearable pain. Since this didn't continue the "I think it's getting better" streak that started yesterday, I made an appointment to see my doctor.
"Does this hurt?" He said, pressing against my side.
"How about this?" He pressed in a different area.
We repeated this as he worked his way up my right side.
"Okay," he said, "let's try this."
He put one hand on my back, another on my sternum, and pressed.
"Does this -"
I made a sound like a giraffe getting run over by a train while they're both hit by a meteor.
"Yeah, we're gonna go ahead and x-ray that."
I went down to the lab and had a series of films taken. I successfully resisted the compulsion to say "HULK SMASH!!" after each shot. When I took them back up to my doctor's office, he showed me where he could see a break, and where he thought my ribs were cleverly concealing at least one other break.
"So . . . do we have to put me down?" I said.
"No, but you're going to be unable to do much of anything for at least another week."
"Can I get a note to that effect to give my wife, and would you leave some space for me to write other . . . doctor's orders?"
"You're sure you only took Motrin this morning?"
I answered in the affirmative.
"If I'm broken here," I said, pointing to my side, "then why does it hurt so much here?" I pointed to my sternum.
"Because you probably tore a bunch of cartilage when you fell. I can't say for sure because cartilage doesn't show up on x-ray, but I think it's a safe assumption." He wrote me some prescriptions for pain medication and advised me to breathe as deeply as I could and force some coughs a few times a day to minimize the risk of pneumonia.
"I'll see you again in ten days to make sure you're fine before you go to Seattle," he said.
(I'd told him that the most important thing in my near future, even more important than healing this massive pain, was ensuring that I didn't miss PAX.)
So now I'm home following his orders, taking pain medication that I don't want to take (if I start thinking Squidbillies is awesome than I'll go back to dealing with the pain) eating prunes and playing the waiting game until UPS delivers Hungry Hungry Hippos.
. . . stupid classical physics.