Everyone who comes to our house knows about that chair. I found it at a thrift store years ago and fell madly in love. It’s my favorite shade of green, the Naugahyde is perfectly intact, and it reminds me of my Grandma’s sister, Aunt Millie’s, house. It also has a very unfortunate tendency to fall backward if one heavy enough leans back too far. It’s a perfect chair for me as I’m on the petite side and I prefer to rock, rather than lean. Every male friend or family member who has sat in that chair, however, has fallen over backward in it at least once. Anthony has fallen backward in it dozens of times.
On Saturday night we were hanging out with our friend Jacob, of onesie fame, and playing video games. It was after midnight and Anthony was sitting in the chair and leaning back to a dangerous degree. Predictably, he fell backward, but unpredictably, he stuck his arm out reflexively to break his fall. The momentum of the fall and the combined weight of the chair and his body was too much for his shoulder and before he fell, his arm popped out of the shoulder joint.
You might remember that we are no strangers to Anthony’s arm popping out of joint. Fortunately this was not the arm that had been operated on, but unfortunately, though Jacob and I both tried, we couldn’t get his arm back into the shoulder socket. Every time this has happened before (and it has happened dozens of times – so many times we don’t even know for sure) one of us has been able to pop it back into place. I’ve done it myself, but usually he’s done it while piping or practicing martial arts so there’s always been someone there who could physically do it. Jacob and I both tried, but this time, we couldn’t get it back into place. Anthony was in agony.
Not knowing what else to do, I called 911, confident that the paramedics could pop it back into place. I have a friend who as a child dislocated her hip after a particularly vigorous round of jumping on the bed. A paramedic popped it back into place for her, so I figured that within a few minutes of calling 911 this situation would be resolved. Instead the paramedics wheeled a gurney into the living room and insisted he be brought to the hospital. This was probably the worst part because if you’ve ever had a dislocation you know that as agonizing as enduring it is, moving it at all is out of the question. Manipulating his arm to get it to fit on the bed was unthinkable, but it had to be done.
Jacob helped me carry a sleeping Isobel to the car, swaddled in a pile of blankets against a cold November night, and we raced to the hospital, beating the ambulance by a good thirty seconds.
When we got there Anthony and I kept asking the nurses if someone could please just pop is arm back into joint, for fuck’s sake, but an hour’s worth of paperwork and waiting had to be completed, and I had to answer the same questions over and over again. How did this happen? A chair, you say? Was there excessive drinking or illicit substances involved? It was late on Saturday night so they were probably used to all sorts of jackassery gracing their ER due to alcohol and poor judgement, and maybe they thought we were lying but after a while I wanted to reply Excuse me, but playing Marvel’s Superhero Lego Game on a Saturday night is partying. It was two player mode. And, I don’t know who you are used to dealing with, but we don’t need alcohol or drugs to have a good time, severely injure ourselves, and end up in the ER.
After what seemed like hours (because it was) they finally got an IV port in him and gave him a cocktail consisting of pain meds and muscle relaxers. The nurse told him it might make him loopy and not long after Anthony started having these lucid-dreamlike hallucinations. He dictated them to me for the purpose of reading after the fact and laughing. Some of visions were very metal and included phrases like “moth men covered in green shaggy fur raise their fingers to occult midnight,” but ended rather benignly with, “they wear their hair in puffs.” At one point he told me he saw a giant, hairy centipede but it really turned out to be a catipede, which is created when several fluffy fat kittens sit side-by-side. He ended my two full pages of notes with, “We can sell tickets to the crazy show.”
Finally, the doctor came in. He was a kind man with brown skin and a big, bushy black beard that faded to an iron gray halfway down. He wore glasses and had a gentle manner. The nurse told us that Anthony would receive an anesthetic prior to resetting the joint, so when he examined Anthony’s arm we figured he was just assessing the situation. He gently manipulated Anthony’s elbow and while it was obviously extremely painful for Anthony, just a few seconds later the doctor said, “There!” and it was back into place. It was the first joint resetting I’d seen that wasn’t violent. It was incredible.
The rest of the night was full of waiting for for x-rays and discharge paperwork. Poor Jacob spent the whole night in the waiting room with Isobel, who blessedly slept through the whole thing and didn’t even remember leaving home the next day. If I’d been thinking more coherently when the paramedics told us he’d have to go to the hospital I’d have just asked him to stay home with Isobel. I was so shocked that they weren’t going to set it right there that when Jake offered to accompany me, I accepted. I can’t lift Isobel in my pregnant state so he literally did all the heavy lifting for me. We were there from about 12:30 am and didn’t get home and settled in until about 5 a.m.
Anthony is resting as comfortably as possible while he recovers. I hope it’s a speedy one that doesn’t spell trouble down the road, but if there’s one thing we know how to do, it’s properly take care of a shoulder injury.
And yes. We will be getting rid of the chair.