Minor Setback

Last Saturday, I arrived at JJ’s apartment at about 4:00pm. The agenda? A night of drinking and video games.

“Hey, how was the drive?”
“Take me to the emergency room. Now.”

My BJJ school has been running pure greco-roman wrestling classes for a few weeks now. It’s a supplement to jiu-jitsu, since many of the takedowns in BJJ originate from wrestling in the first place. In a way, it’s a much more toned down class since we don’t run any live matches at the end. On the other hand, since we’re practicing take downs, you’re getting thrown to the mat for an hour and a half, which does take its toll.

Not surprisingly, there’s a ton of different ways to get injured. I’ve had my share of issues, as subtle as a hyper-extended elbow and as severe as a sports hernia that required surgery. I’ve come to track my progress from one integral injury to the emergence of the next.

The annoying injuries are the ones that don’t make sense. I expect that if I’m sitting in an arm bar refusing to tap, my elbow is going to be sore for the next few weeks. For this particular incident, well, I’m not even sure what happened. It’s a pain in the ass to describe exactly what I was doing, so I’ll just say that we were drilling techniques rather than any sort of real fight. In short, I pulled a muscle in my neck. Badly.

When I got home from practice, I spent the next 45 minutes moving a ton of boxes from the baby’s room into our newly floored attic. Yes, that probably wasn’t the best decision, but at that point I had to choose my pain: neck pain from the lifting or ear pain from the Pregnasaur howling that I still hadn’t moved the boxes.

By the time I got to JJ’s, I was having brutal neck spasms. We quickly– well, as quickly as I could move with constant neck spasms– got in his car.

“Where is the hospital?”
“Don’t look at me, you’re the one who lives out here.”
“Ya, but I’m not dumb enough to hurt myself and never had to go. You lived out here for four years, I figured you’d know by now.”

Five minutes later.

“I think there’s one in Bryn Mawr.”
“You think?”
“It’s either a hospital or a Burger King, and I’m hungry.”
“Fine, just don’t hit any bumps while driving, I can’t handle another spasm.”

Thirty seconds later.

“Honestly, did you have to accelerate over the speed bump?”

We get to the hospital and I have to explain to no less than five people why I live in New Jersey but decided to travel all the way to Bryn Mawr (in PA, roughly an hour from where I live for those of you who don’t know the area) to go to the emergency room. Meanwhile, JJ points out the surprisingly high number of attractive girls in the waiting room. He makes plans to change his dating strategy.

I’ve been to a number of emergency rooms in my life, and the one thing that has been consistent is that if you’re not bleeding profusely, they don’t consider it an emergency. I was therefore surprised to find that it only took about 20 minutes to see a doctor.

“What happened?”
“He fell down some stairs.”
“Shut up JJ, go wait outside.”

The doctor then begins a series of tests that involve poking and prodding around the very area I described as hurting. After a few minutes, she tells me she’s going to give me muscle relaxers for the spasms and Percocet for the pain.


I try to hide my excitement. She tells me that unfortunately, I won’t be able to drink with JJ tonight because of the medication. I didn’t really care and in fact encouraged JJ to drink anyway, since I’d be loopy enough with my magical pills.

The good news is that, as of four days later, I thankfully feel largely healed. Meg’s very excited about that, not for my well being, but because JJ’s coming over this weekend to paint baby’s room and assemble the crib. I’ll be sure to find the local emergency room ahead of time.


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