I am an American living in Germany working for the US Army. My family is also here with me. My son is on a youth bowling league which we take him to every Saturday. On 24 Nov 2001 (two days after Thanksgiving…I will explain the significance of that later) I took him to the bowling alley as usual and he bowled his three games for the league. This was the day I broke, no shattered both my tibia and fibula in my lower right leg. When he finished, he asked me if I wanted to bowl a game with him which we always do. I said sure.
We were in the sixth frame and I was lined up to without a doubt get a strike (hadn’t gotten one all game, so I was due). I took my first step, then my second step, then my third, and that is when I felt it. It felt as though my entire leg was crumbling beneath me…in fact it was. I fell flat on my back in pain, unfortunately as my 10 yr old son looked on. Several friends came rushing to my side at first thinking it was just a twist. I assured them it wasn’t…no calmness here. What really ticked me off though is the fact that I didn’t get a strike but rather a gutter ball.
An ambulance was called and when the paramedics came in and took a look, they immediately called for a doctor to come and put me out. Obviously they new it was bad. The doctor arrived and she gave me some COOL! medicine that did the job (supposedly I told all my COOL! secrets and COOL! ideas when they put me out (I don’t remember it, but evidently COOL was my favorite word when I was out)). This was at about 1:30 in the afternoon on Saturday and when I finally woke again, it was Monday evening. There were complications during the first operation on Saturday. I was told once they took me off the respirator after completing the first operation I stopped breathing. I spent over two days in ICU and the next 4 weeks in a German Hospital.
I had two operations while in the hospital. The first was the day of the accident, which left all these long rods sticking out of my leg in several places. The second was a week and a half later. They removed the rods and put LOTS!! of metal inside. Since I did not twist, fall or hit my leg, tests were done to try to determine if there were other problems with my bones. All tests came back normal including the bone density test. Diagnosis…a freaky unexplained accident.
I have seen the X-rays and it is a mess in there. The doctor seems to think I will be in a cast of some sort until well into the summer, and possibly longer. As he put it, it is so bad in there that if this had been 30 years ago my leg would most likely have been amputated. I did however get the traditional cast removed this past Friday, 8 Feb and was fitted with one of the boot type casts with the braces and straps (not sure what the technical name is). It has been a tough road especially since I have never had anything like this happen before. Fortunately I have a wife who is very supportive and keeps me focused.
I think I am probably the first to ever break a leg while bowling. At least to see and hear people’s reactions when I tell them how I did it one would think so.
Oh, back to the significance of the Saturday following Thanksgiving. For two years straight I have ended up in the hospital. In 2000 for heart arrhythmia and in 2001 for “my broken leg”. This year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, I am not getting out of bed.