It’s a dangerous world. Over the course of their lives, most people wind up on the receiving end of a scrape or a bump. From rapid mountain descents to protruding bones, these tough customers fell victim to injuries of a harsher variety…but somehow picked themselves up and brushed themselves off without a care in the world.
I got hit by a car while riding my bicycle, flew through the air, and bounced off the driver’s windshield, breaking his windshield, my helmet, and two vertebrae. Then, I was thrown to the ground where my kneecap shattered. Bone was sticking out of the skin. As I lay there in shock, unaware of how badly I was injured, I thought: "I might be able to get back on my bike and ride home."
I’m a bartender in a nightclub. One night, while working, I was pouring a drink and reached back with my other hand to open a fridge. That's when I heard a "pop" and got a huge pain in my back/shoulder area. The pain was pretty bad but I thought that it was a pulled muscle. I thought there wouldn't be much point in seeing a doctor, other than getting some meds.
So, I waited and fought through the pain, which was so bad at times that it was hard to breathe. That was a Friday. I called in sick on Saturday and then had Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off. I went back to work on Wednesday. I biked in. That was when I finally decided to go to the ER, after a grand total of nine days. I had a collapsed lung, called a spontaneous pneumothorax.
20 minutes after getting to the ER, I was put into emergency surgery. I was essentially breathing with only one lung. Any major impact to my chest would have collapsed the other and probably killed me.
I broke my neck on a huge shorebreak wave and didn't want to leave the beach, so I continued swimming and playing volleyball until my friends noticed that my neck was swelling up bigger than my head.
My little sister fell down about 15 steps at our grandma's house when she was a toddler, she got up, giggled and went to go eat some snacks. This other time, while still a toddler, she was supposed to be napping. We were in the living room and heard a huge thud. We ran to the room thinking that she'd fallen out of the bed.
Nope, she somehow managed to pull the TV down. This was the early 2000s, TVs were heavy back then! It had fallen on top of her. She was laying there, in a snow angel position. My mom freaked out. When we got the TV off her, she got up and asked for ice. Not to soothe pain, but to eat. My little sister was and still is a champ.
I had a really bad fall off of my bike. I was going downhill and hit a rock, launching me into the pavement. Luckily, I avoided hitting my head. Right after falling, a car pulled over and asked me if I was ok. I told them that I was fine. I picked up my bike and walked home. Only when I got home did I realize what had really happened. I had no skin on my knees, shoulders, elbows, and knuckles.
I also realized that I couldn't move my left elbow, because it was broken. Adrenaline is one heck of a high, I guess.
I got distracted while holding a kicking pad for my Taekwondo instructor. I hit my eye with my own hand when he kicked. I thought it was no big deal. I saw lots of black floating dots, which I now know is a huge red flag for retinal detachment. Had I gone to the doctor the next day, it'd be a quick fix with a simple laser operation.
Five days later, it progressed to a big tear and blocked all of my left eye vision. I got five surgeries in a year, one of which took six hours. Three separate times, I spent 15 day periods looking down, with gas inside my eye. I now have a 20% loss of left eye vision, permanently.
Back in my baseball days, when I was pitching, I completely lost a pitch. It beaned a guy in the jaw. He threw his bat down, glared at me with the glariest of glares ever glared, SPIT OUT BLOOD, and then calmly ran to first base as though nothing had happened. It was terrifyingly cool.
I was mountain biking and fell off. I fell down part of the mountain and into a road, where I almost got hit by a car. I got up quickly, thanked the driver for not killing me, and then got back on the bike—I knew that the road would meet up with the trail I was on so I could meet up with my group, who hadn't seen me fall.
When I got to them, one of them looked at me and was like “...what happened?” I got off the bike, walked over while we waited for the others to catch up, and just said “I fell off.” He then looked down at me and was like, “What the heck happened?” I'm like, “It's nothing.” I thought I had a few cuts and scratches on my hands, arms, and leg, and that was it.
Then I looked down, and a feeling of abject horror came over me. I realized that I had scratched off half the skin on my leg from falling on the road. Basically a bad case of road burn. From all the adrenaline, I hadn't even felt it. They called someone to come and get me from the mountains, since I wasn't allowed to continue biking. It was so bad that one of the other riders saw my leg and decided that they wanted to stop too.
I just went to a pharmacy, grabbed some wipes and bandages then we got a drink while we waited for everyone else to finish.
Adrenaline: It’s a heck of a high. I have a chocolate lab who’s a little over a year old. She loves water and swimming. Last April, we were walking on a fairly popular biking and walking trail near the river. This trail has a bunch of offshoot trails that go off into the woods, and we were meandering down one and could hear the river.
So my dog runs off ahead of me and I hear this splosh sound. The area was way overgrown and I couldn't see the river from the trail. So, I hustle down to the water and it is ridiculously swift where she went in. And, sure enough, she’s already a good 100 feet down river with a panicked look trying to swim back toward me.
I dumped everything out of my pockets and jumped into the river. I caught up to her about 150-200 feet from where I went in. I grabbed her and went to toss her on the bank but slipped and went under. I regained my footing, tried again, and was successful. I then pulled myself up out of the water. Mind you, this bank was an 8-foot tall blackberry hedge that I ended up having to crawl/slither through for a good 50 feet.
We finally cleared the hedge and I made my way through the woods back to the trail and collected my belongings. I then had to walk about a mile back to my car. On my way, I kept getting really odd looks from joggers/bicyclists. I figured I just looked like some wet hobo. When I got back to my car, I sat down and saw my face in the rearview mirror. I couldn’t believe what stared back at me.
Half of my face was covered in blood. I then decided to inspect other parts of me. I had cuts all over my arms/hands and was just coated with blood. About halfway home, the adrenaline wore off... then it started to hurt. It turns out, I even sprained my thumb tossing the dog. I didn't know until the adrenaline was gone. Also, to this day I have no recollection of how cold the river was. And I know rivers in Oregon during April are far from warm.
I had an ear infection. When it first started, I was going up to a higher elevation so I thought it was just the pressure that caused the pain. A few days later, that side of my face started to swell up and I went to the doctor. The antibiotics didn't work so I got a referral to see a specialist right away. They said it was the worst ear infection they'd ever seen.
I was immediately admitted to the hospital. Apparently, if I had waited a few more days, it could've spread to my brain and killed me. Afterward, I had to go for a check-up and was sent to a different ear/nose/throat doctor. I told her what happened. She was like, “OMG YOU'RE THAT GIRL WITH THE REALLY BAD INFECTION RIGHT?! MY COLLEAGUES ARE FASCINATED BY THAT CASE.”
A few years ago, I was sick. Not fun, but it was only a bug. I figured that I’d be ok in a couple of days, max. I started to get an unusual pain in my abdomen as the day wore on but, to me, it seemed like a side effect of all the throwing up I'd been doing. I spent the night in the spare room for two reasons: 1. Because I was so freaking hot; and, 2. In case I needed to get up, I wouldn’t disturb my partner who would be getting up early for work.
I managed to get an okay night of sleep because the vomiting had stopped. When my partner came to see me before he went to work, he asked how I was. I still felt terrible but it was a tummy bug, I wasn't going to be instantly better. But that sharp pain was still there. On hearing that I still was in pain, he insisted on taking me to the hospital. I didn't think it was at all necessary, but I was too exhausted to argue.
When we got to the hospital, I made darn sure that the person at the front desk knew that I thought this was a waste of time. After a lot of prodding, and questions about whether or not I was pregnant, it turned out my appendix was in the process of rupturing.
Once, I got blackout drunk while camping and fell hands first onto the grate that had been over the fire for hours. My wife and friends were all freaking out, thinking that I definitely had third-degree burns. I came out of my blackout in the bathroom with all of them trying to wash my hands in cold water. When all the soot came off, I was somehow completely unharmed. Since then I've been known as “The Unburned.”
My first job was as a butcher and I came into work one day with a raging hangover. I sharpened the knives because they were bad ones that went blunt all the time. I immediately proceeded to cut my finger open. I thought nothing of it and went about my shift. When I got home to put a proper dressing on it, I found out that it was as deep as the bone. I wouldn't get feeling back at the end of it for literal years.
I rolled my car. I got out of the car bewildered and in shock, noticing a kink in my neck. As someone who constantly cracks my knuckles/back/neck, my instinct was just “Ah, I’m not hurt, thank God. Just need to crack my neck and I’ll be fine.” Before I finished processing that train of thought, I was held down in c-spine by the person behind me who had watched my crash.
Luckily, he was an off-duty firefighter. I had broken three vertebrae in my neck, I just couldn’t tell it yet from the adrenaline and shock. I required full surgery to fuse the vertebrae together with bone from my hip & plates/screws. Had there not been someone behind me, and had I proceeded with my instincts, I’d be paralyzed or dead.
When I was a small dumb child, I had a habit of gripping doorframes as I walked through the door. I did not discriminate between the latch side or the hinge side. One day, the door was closed and my fingers were crushed in the hinge, to the point where there was a dark purple line across them and a tangible groove.
My mom started completely freaking out over the injury, but I, brave little dummy that I was, saw the distress she was in at what had happened. I put on my bravest face, my eyes welling up in tears from the pain, and said, "Don't worry Mommy, it'll heal." I was right, it did, but still.
When I was very young, I pulled a tablecloth and managed to dump a freshly boiled pot of tea all over myself. I got rushed to the hospital. My skin was red and bubbling. I should have been in floods of tears. Instead, I proudly pointed to my ruined skin and proclaimed to the paramedic, “I did that.” Over 30 years later and I still have some scars, but I am definitely no longer that tough.
We had a teenage lad who was apprenticing at a local butcher shop. He ended up losing his right hand in the mincing machine. It was an older machine and didn't have a safety guard. The lad was back at work 26 days later with a prosthetic arm/hook, as he said he got bored just sitting about at home. He actually said the hook made the butchering easier.
I was like 11 and I was playing in a field after school waiting for my mom to get off work. I stepped on something that didn't really hurt but it was enough for me to stop and say "Ow." So, I played for like another hour. Then I started to feel really light-headed. I turned around to go back the way I came. What I saw made my jaw drop. There was a trail of bloody footprints in the grass.
I followed the trail and saw where I stepped on multiple broken glass shards. I ended up losing a decent amount of blood, and had to get stitches. Had a giant gash in my foot that ripped to the bone apparently. Never even noticed it or felt UNTIL I saw what I had done. Now it hurts when I walk too much or if I walk funny.
I was making a ninja mask. I had a piece of cloth and I was trying to cut the eyeholes out of it using a small steak knife. No, it wasn’t on my face. I wasn’t quite that stupid. But, I was holding the cloth and cutting with the knife. The knife slipped and went straight into my pinky finger. I had to actually pull the knife out. It went right beside my joint and stabbed straight through the flesh on my pinky.
I pulled the knife out and blood was just pouring out of me, which was weird to me at the time. I didn’t realize a pinky would bleed that much. The worst part is, I was home alone. It didn’t really hurt that badly, strange as it may seem. It was honestly no worse than a regular cut, pain wise. Anyway, the blood was coming out at a rate that I had never before seen.
I went to the bathroom and wrapped like seven band-aids around it. Then, I took some masking tape and wrapped that around all the band-aids. I was like, surely that’ll stop the bleeding. I said forget the ninja mask and sat on my couch watching tv for a bit. Then, I noticed the tape was starting to slide off. I’d bled through it, and all of the band-aids, in five minutes, max.
So, I got some paper towels and decided to hold pressure on it but the cut wasn’t very symmetrical. I couldn’t figure out how to get the skin back together. I did the best I could and bled through a bunch of paper towels and finally was like, drat, I think I’m gonna have to call 9-1-1. So I called an ambulance. They came out and by the time they got there I was feeling rather weak.
There was blood all over my sinks in the bathroom and kitchen, and some on the floor. They transported me to the hospital and gave me stitches. I healed up good as new in a couple of weeks. The doctor said I was lucky that I didn’t sever any tendons. My mom came to the ER to take me home. It was kind of an awkward ride.
She complained to me that I was too old to be doing this kind of thing. See, that’s the kicker. I really was too old to be having accidents like that. You’re probably picturing a 10- or 11-year-old kid. Yeah, no. I was 19.
I separated two ribs when I slipped going up a staircase. I went down to radiology at work and got an x-ray. I looked at it and said, “Ok, no breaks.” So I just walked over to the ER and got two big rolls of ace bandages. I went back to my desk and took off my shirt and tee shirt. My boss walked in and saw the bruises on my chest. I said, “No biggie. Just don't make me laugh.” Then, I told him what happened, wrapped myself up, and went on with life.
I was a kid visiting family in West Virginia and was playing with some other kids, which somehow involved me being in a tree. I got a little cut on my hand and was inconsolable. I ran to the house for my mom to make it better. She put the smallest of band-aids on it. When I turned around and started walking out of the house, she started yelling.
I just looked at her like, “What?” Then I looked down. There was a trail of blood coming from the back of my leg. I hadn’t even noticed.
Last year, I had been learning how to really sharpen knives, sharp like in those show-off videos. So, I had just finished sharpening my main cooking knife and had to open a plastic tube of epoxy. Obviously, I wanted to test out this new razor-sharp knife and tried to cut the plastic. It was thick, so I pushed harder and bam—the knife went through and bounced off my finger.
I dropped everything and looked at my finger, expecting some horrible degloved mess but it was fine, not even a scratch. I was so relieved…but a second later, it all turned into a living nightmare. I bent my finger and it opened wide, showing off the bone and suddenly gushing blood. I’ve never fainted in my life from any kind of gore but that nearly did it. So, off to the ER for some stitches.
I’m not sure why but the local anesthetic didn't work and just hurt like heck. The nurse did a great job stitching it back together and even pointed out that it was an extremely clean cut. I felt bad for her with the swearing I came out with, not at her or anyone, just shouting random pain induced phrases during every injection and the full sensation stitch.
She said it was fine and was just surprised that the anesthetic didn't work. I only have partial feeling in that finger now, as it went through the nerve.
I absolutely shattered my wrist and pulverized a couple of carpels into dust. I also fractured my scaphoid bone and flipped it 180°. I then spent two days trying to convince myself it was but a simple sprain. When I finally went to a doctor, they rushed me into emergency surgery. I later found out the doctors couldn’t believe that I wasn’t incapacitated by pain. Whoops.
When I was younger, like really young, I had escaped from the house. At the time, my dad was just about to drive to work. I managed to get just behind the wheel of the car and got run over. I was rushed to the hospital. Later, at around midnight, my parents got a call from the hospital because I was running around the place like a lunatic, waking all the other kids up. Basically, I got away with a car tire mark and that's it.
I fell off my bike into some wet gravel when I was 8. It was no big deal—I scraped my knee and got soaked. I played the rest of the day outside and then came home for dinner. I went to use the bathroom and, when I pulled off my jeans, I realized that I wasn't soaked from the puddle. It was blood. I had sliced a huge gash in my knee and, when I pulled my pants down, a flap of skin pulled away and it started bleeding again. My first stitches!
I ran into the top of a door frame. I did the whole cartoon head outside, legs flying inside, and then falling on my back. My head hurt a tiny bit, so I covered my forehead with my hand and put some pressure on it for a minute. When I removed my hand and tried to get up, my friends, who were crowded over me, collectively gasped.
It turns out, I had split my forehead skin open and they could see the bone. I literally wouldn’t have known if they hadn’t been so freaked out. I couldn’t feel a thing. I got five stitches and now have a small scar near my hairline.
When I fell through a window and cut my stomach open, my colon and stomach both fell out of my body. I looked up at my friends bleeding out. I was in shock but, alas, I’m still here today.
A slab of glass shattered and fell on me and my mom. I checked mum for any injuries and then went to clean up the mess. This was promptly followed by my mother screaming and freaking out. Apparently, I left a trail of blood around the house because the glass left a deep gash on my foot. She even scolded me because I was laughing at the whole situation. Ah, fun times.
When I was in elementary school, we used to play this game at recess where we would try to see how many people we could fit in the tube slide without the person at the bottom falling out. When it was my turn to be "the person at the bottom," I thought that I was being smart by bracing my hands against the wall of the slide.
The next kid came sliding down and his foot hit the perfect spot on my hand and dislocated my thumb at the second joint. The other kids were laughing that I could only hold one kid in. That’s when I held my hand up and smiled. I said "Watch how fast I can make my thumb grow," and pulled it back into place with a loud pop.
One of the kids freaked out and told on me. I got sent home for the day but I felt like the coolest fourth grader ever for not freaking out when my bone wasn't where it should've been.
When I was 10, I was a gymnast. One day, we were practicing a bunch of tumbling passes for a “show” that we were putting on for kids in a summer camp who were coming to use our gym. For the show, we had the lights down and were only using a spotlight. Well, one of the girls did a tumbling pass and landed weirdly. She got up and hobbled to the back of the line.
When it was her turn again, she tried to run and immediately fell. She got up and tried again and the same thing happened. Then, the poor girl behind her casually said, “Your bone is sticking out.” The lights came on and, sure enough, the girl’s shin bone was protruding from her shin. She didn’t realize it and had still been trying to tumble but her leg just simply didn’t work.
I was playing football (soccer) and twisted my ankle. I had to stop but managed to walk to the coach to get home. Then, I walked from the coach stop to my house. It was about a mile and a half. When I got home, I went to sleep. I woke up the next day and my ankle was the size of a grapefruit. I called an ambulance due to quite severe pain.
The medical examiner assumed that my ankle was crushed by a very heavy object, as I had fractured five bones, broke my leg, and had extensive cartilage/ligament damage. I have now been told that it will never heal to 100%. Three years later, I still have pain and my foot goes numb all the time.
I was riding my bike and got hit by a car. The driver of another car got out and ran up to me, telling me that she was going to call the paramedics, to stay still, help is coming, etc. The dude who hit me never even got out of his car. He only rolled down the window a few inches. I got up and told him to watch what he’s doing and to be more careful in the future.
Then, I thanked the lady who was trying to help. I looked over my bike, and since it was still rideable, continued on my way. I later found out that I had a broken leg.
When I was in seventh grade, I slept over at a friend’s place. Early that morning, we went to run my paper route, with the plan that we would get fresh baked donuts from the nearby grocery store afterward, and then play Mario Kart all morning. On the way to the grocery store, I hit some black ice on my bike, locked up the brakes, and flipped over the handlebars.
I faceplanted into the street and had gravel in my gums and embedded into my right palm. I brushed it off. We got donuts and played SNES, although I couldn't hold the controller with my right hand, so I kinda just twiddled my fingers over the buttons. Later, we made chocolate chip waffles and went back to SNES. When my mom came to pick me up around noon, she was absolutely shocked.
My wrist was swollen to three times its normal size and I could barely move my hand. She took me to the ER, where we discovered that it was broken. I just dealt with it all morning because...Nintendo!
After spending a summer doing food truck events, I was gaining some weight. I figured that I just got fat from eating too much junk at the events, so I started dieting and running 3-4 times a week. But, the fat wasn't going anywhere. A couple of months later, I saw a doctor—and they made a disturbing discovery. It turns out that I had an 8.5-lb. ovarian cyst over my abdomen, not fat. Oops.
When I was younger, I had an issue with my knee where it would lock up, essentially dislocating in a minor way. The first time it happened, I was snowboarding. I fell face forward. When I tried to straighten my leg, it was incredibly painful. I sat on my hands and knees for a couple of minutes and then decided that I had no other option: I gritted my teeth and straightened my leg.
There was a loud pop, a very notable shifting of bones, and quite the feeling of crepitus but, two seconds later, I continued down the hill and forgot about it. Well, it happened again...repeatedly. And, every time, I would just pop my knee back into place and keep going. It really freaked people out when it happened during soccer games.
There was once where it happened at the worst possible time. That’s right, while doing the deed. Fortunately, my partner had seen me pop it back in before, so she wasn’t that freaked out. Eventually, I had surgery and found out that I had torn my lateral meniscus (cartilage in the knee) and a flap was lodging itself between the bones.
When I was a child, I was pretty stupid. One day, I was playing "Don't Let The Paper Touch The Ground." Basically, it's a game where you just keep hitting a piece of paper into the air. Then, I ran into my kitchen and smashed my head onto the corner of a table. It was gushing blood but I didn't even notice. My head was cut open right in the middle of both my eyes. I'm very lucky I still have vision.
I only realized that my head was cut open when my sister looked at me and started screaming her vocal cords out.
This is a story about one of my students. I had impressed upon them that there would be no late work, unless they were hooked up to tubes in the hospital. It was the submission day for their final research paper. This college freshman had been given a ridiculously fast car by his parents, who’d also chosen a ridiculous acid green color. His car stood out.
Another kid in the class was on his way to class. He saw a ridiculous car smashed at the side of the road. There was an ambulance beside it. He stopped and approached the crash. The owner of the ridiculous car is being loaded into an ambulance on a stretcher and sees the other student. He yells, “My research paper! Front seat! Get it to her!”
The student did so, and submitted the blood smudged, bedraggled document. The dude in the accident came in to pick it up a week and a half later. In a wheelchair, because he broke one leg, sprained the other ankle, and sprained a wrist. He has been my gold standard for 20 years.
Once, I was in urgent care for some random reason. The only other person in the waiting room was a man who had a massive gash in the head. His thumb was also seriously dislocated and swollen. By the extent of his injuries, he definitely should have been at an ER. Anyways, we were both waiting a long time to be seen.
Eventually, he got up, approached the administrator, and said, “Hey I really need to get checked out soon, my dog hasn’t gone outside in a while.” This man had blood running down his face, a dislocated thumb, and his biggest concern was getting home to see his dog.
I have this scar on my finger shaped like a Nike swoosh because I was dumb and decided to punch a pint glass. This was back when I was in college, living at one of the dorms. Punching the glass ended up slicing my finger really badly. Like, I mean, a flap of skin that came up. I went to the bathroom and ran it under water but it just kept bleeding.
I didn't know what to do and was too tired to try to deal with it, so I just wrapped my hand in a towel and tried to go to sleep. I woke up to a frantic banging at my door. It ended up being security. The guard followed a trail of blood from the bathroom to my room and wanted to make sure that I was alright. I told him that I was fine and just had a cut but he demanded to see it.
After I showed him my finger, he was like, "Come on, you gotta go to the hospital." The dude was a real bro and drove me there even though it was like 3 am. I saw a doctor and he had to give me a bunch of stitches. He said that I was very lucky because, if it was just a tiny bit deeper, I would have probably done permanent damage and lost mobility of the finger.
In seventh grade, I was playing football. We had no pads or anything. A kid got tackled. He hopped up and punched someone right on the eye socket—instantly, there was a big welt/knot. The kid who was punched got up, said, "Tis but a scratch! A scratch!" and left. It was kind of hilarious because you knowww it hurt a lot. Everyone calmed down and we called it a day, I think. Testosterone!
One of the trucks in my platoon detonated an IED on a dirt road in Iraq. Luckily, the detonation was premature and it took off the front end of the vehicle, leaving the crew shaken but fine. The crater was massive. We deployed the rest of the platoon to secure the area, and recover the vehicle. About an hour had passed.
Stupid me decided to have a look into the crater. Big mistake. As soon as I peered over the edge, a secondary IED detonated, throwing up a massive plume of smoke, dust, and debris. I fell back and started checking my body for damage and injury but I was fine. Covered in a thick coat of dust and dirt, but otherwise fine. Just really angry at myself, and quite embarrassed.
A metal canteen full of poker chips, weighing something like 10-15kg, fell on my head from the top shelf of the closet. I dropped on the ground and blacked out for about a second, and then I was like, "Ouch, that was a nice bonk!" I was ready to shake it off and stand up. Then, I noticed my wife's face frozen in fear.
I wanted to reassure her by smiling and gently scrubbing the impact point on my forehead to demonstrate that I was fine. That's when I noticed a part of my forehead skin peeled off and I was all covered in blood. I took a trip to the ER. Thankfully, it was just a light concussion and a superficial wound. My poor wife will remember that for some time. Curiously I didn't feel any pain at any moment, even several hours after the initial shock.
I was taking part in an adventure race. There was a five-hour limit to hit as many checkpoints as possible by foot, bike, and kayak. I decided to head out on bikes first. 20 minutes in, I hit the first bit of decent off-road. My foot slipped off the pedal and the pedal pin went up the back of my calf. I assumed that it’d be a nasty scratch but that I’d be able to carry on and let it clot.
Then, I looked down and saw the inside of my leg—fat, muscle. Nice. It would have taken a while for the race medic to get there, so I said to my race partner, “I think we need to head back—if I faint off the bike then call for help.” I pedaled back, dripping blood. A St John’s Ambulance team patched me up and my buddy drove our hire car to the nearest hospital.
I was stitched up by a trainee. Later, a surgeon friend told me that they’d have used twice the number of stitches. It took an absolute age to heal, as it opened back up as soon as they took the stitches out. I was off sport for a while and am still working my way back up to fitness. I have a lovely scar now that I affectionately refer to as my gash. Literally “a scratch,” albeit one that unzipped my leg.
Right after I turned 15, I was helping my uncle build a fence on his farm. I was driving a T-post. I brought the driver up past the post, and then brought my hand down on the post. It hurt but I went on. When we took our break, I took my glove off. It was full of blood. I now have a circular scar on my left hand from when I peeled the skin back about 1/4”.
I broke both forearms mountain biking. I flipped over the bike and somehow got my hands stuck. I had to get up, cradle my bike, and make my way down. It took an hour or so. After crazy bits of initial pain, the shock must have set in or something. People saw me and the mangled bike and came over to help. I thought that I was fine until they noticed swelling on my arms, and that my hands were going bluish. Fun times.
I managed to break both of my front teeth while getting off a ski lift once. Five minutes later, because I’m terrible at snowboarding, I went straight through a barrier and into a tree at full speed. This resulted in four broken ribs. I was in a different country, so I just soldiered on for another week of vacation, continuing to snowboard through the pain.
I also crashed several more times. I didn't even realize I'd broken my ribs until I had an x-ray when I got back.
When I was 14, I was sitting outside my house at boarding school. Three teenagers came by looking for a posh kid to beat up. I, being dumb, didn’t see them coming. I, being unathletic, decided that running would just get them excited. I decided to talk my way out of it. It was going pretty well—they just made threats and threw insults.
I pretended not to understand; the fight they were hoping for was failing to start. Then, one of them got bored and said, “I’d hit you if you weren’t wearing glasses.” Then, he yanked my glasses off, threw them aside, and punched me hard in the face. It was a beautiful punch. I felt my upper left canine snap in half at the impact.
No pain—that came later. Just the instant realization that this was it, the violence had started, and they didn’t have any reason to stop. So, I reached into my mouth, pulled out my broken canine, held it up, and said cheerfully: “Wow, I lost a tooth. I never lost a tooth... like that before.” I couldn’t see the looks on their faces (no glasses), but the sounds that they made can only be described as disappointment and disgust.
Then, they turned and walked away. I found my glasses and then went to show everyone my tooth.
I was working a landscaping job, putting in a French drain for water mitigation. I was standing in the ditch and reached for a tool as the backhoe operator turned in my direction. He stopped but the momentum bucked against the hydraulics and I took a glancing shot from a bucket tooth right on the top of my head. Split 3" of my scalp.
Blood started pouring down my face, making it seem really awful. One of my coworkers took me to the doctor's office, where my parents worked. I go into a room with a doctor. He tells me, "You need stitches. I can't do anything with this." I said "Doc, my band has a gig later and I can't wait around in the ER all night. Ya gotta do something."
I held my scalp together while he reluctantly shaved around the cut with $0.79 Bic razor, then super glued and butterfly bandaged my head back together. I put on a hat and we blew the doors off the gig that night. You can still see the scar when I shave my head.
I got hit by a car during my freshman year of high school. I went flying and lost consciousness for a split second when I hit the ground. Thank god for the helmet. When I came to, people were all around me asking if I was ok, what happened, etc. I was like “Oh yeah, I’m good. I’m gonna just get back on my bike and go now.”
But, I didn’t really move. Then, people started asking me to call an ambulance or my mom. I was like “Why? I’m good.” When I called my mom, I even told her that I was still going to bike home. As I was saying that, the people around me started to move one of my legs, and I watched as my foot proceeded NOT to move. It turns out, I had broken two bones in my leg completely in half as well as part of my ankle.
It was just pure adrenaline and shock. I also vividly remember thinking, “Huh, this is what it feels like to get hit by a car”. When I went to the hospital, the leg wasn’t setting right, probably from movement, and the doctor decided to put me on laughing gas as he tried to crack my bones back into place. So, I was in a stupor, laughing, as I felt my bones grind.
A couple of weeks ago, I stepped on an anthill and got a bunch of ant bites on my ankles. Three of four days later, the itching was unbearable. I wasn't sleeping, my legs were swollen, and no amount of Benadryl or antihistamine cream was helping the itching. I finally went to a clinic to get a shot or whatever, because I clearly had some sort of allergic reaction. That’s when I learned the dark truth.
It was a staph infection that had spread from my ankles up to my knees. It would have been terminal if this was 1920 instead of 2020. I was on antibiotics for 10 days and now, several weeks later, the dead skin from the infection is still flaking off.
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