I was about finished getting the church bulletin together this morning when Mrs. Fetched answered the phone. “Sure, he doesn’t mind,” she said. I had just been volunteered. “Yeah, you need to go to the hospital,” she continued, which gave me a pretty good idea of what I’d been volunteered for. On Thursday, she and a guy who’s been helping around the farm lately were freeing up a stuck hydraulic lift on one of the tractors. She was working a lever while he banged on something with a hammer: the hammering did the hoped-for job, the lift lifted… and turned out to be the only thing keeping the tractor stationary.
She ran for it, as one might expect, while he scrambled to hit the brakes. As it was all downhill, she quickly found herself just trying to not fall down, heading for her Workhorse (envision a jacked-up golf cart with a dump bed, that’s a Workhorse). She snagged the Workhorse on the way by it — but not knowing proper Pinball technique (more on that in a moment), she let her momentum twist her knee for her. When the pain only got worse over the weekend, it was time to have it looked at.
So I ran over to the church, copied the bulletins, then came back and packed a few essentials (laptop, writing pad, cellphone) and went to get Mrs. Fetched’s mom. We cruised down to the hospital, chatting about the garden and canning and similar topics; I dropped her off in front of the ER and they swooped in with a wheelchair while I went to park. Hospitals, even ERs, being what they are, I had no trouble catching up. (Before we left, Mrs. Fetched advised me, “Don’t be afraid to follow her in to the doctor’s.” I thought, “Yeah, but if the clothes start coming off I’m GONE!”) They looked it over, X-rayed it, wrapped a couple of ace bandages around it, and notified her orthopedist. I could have done the bandages thing and saved her insurance (and Medicare) a good bit of $$$.
For future reference, I told her about Pinball and how to prevent wrenched knees (or ankles). This was a game we used to play at Michigan Tech. The terrain there is much like here — rocky and steep. Pinball is when you go running full-tilt-boogie down a hill and bounce off of trees (by pushing off them) to maintain a controllable speed. You can “hook” a tree that’s about 4 to 6 inches in diameter (smaller and it bends too much, larger and you can’t get a good grip on it) and lift your feet off the ground. This spins you to the downhill side, at which point you let go; your forward (downhill) momentum is mostly gone and you just drop. In her case, I would have hooked the Workhorse and got my feet off the ground, let it spin me around, and I would have been able to stop.
Pinball left us with sore (or numb) hands, but we were young and they healed quickly. The last time I played was when The Boy was about 5; we’d gone up to Rainey Mountain for a Cub Scout campout. Somehow, we missed the group hike up to the top, so we decided to go on our own. On the way back down, he started whining and saying “I’m scared.” After a couple of minutes, I looked at him and said, “What are you scared about? You climb stuff like this all the time!”
“I’m scared you’re gonna get hurt.”
“Son… I appreciate your concern, but let me show you a game we used to play in college.” He watched me bounce off a couple of trees and hook one to stop, and looked at me like I was crazy.