Posted by paulrivas on:
8:25 - Arrive at work for the first day of winter quarter. Everybody who didn't get her or his shit together over the holiday break - which is basically everybody - will be scrambling trying to get a clue before the crucial deadlines come later this month. It will be the busiest workday of the school year thus far.
8:26 - Begin by answering the emails that have piled up during two weeks off. Drop-in hours aren't until 1:30, there's the morning to get caught up. A few folks will finagle their way in though, and it'll be easier to just answer their questions now. Drop-in hours are
always a zoo.
12:00 - Lunchtime basketball. The game is sloppy and crowded after we've all been at home getting fat over winter vacation.
12:20 - Al Cerda hammers me on a drive to the basket.
12:40 - Al Cerda hammers me on another drive to the basket, this time with a forearm to the nose, and 1! Good thing he only weighs 150 pounds.
12:41 - Try and walk it off but man it hurts.
12:42 - Paul Fleischauer takes a look and assures me my nose is still straight. He and my dad have been playing in this game together for eons, and I put a lot of stock in what he
says. I went to school with one of his kids.
12:43 - We play on. Warmed up and stretched out now, and playing well. My team is on its way to winning our second game to 15 buckets.
12:55 - Steal the ball from a player not worth naming, tapping it to Matt Hurst. Get it back on a breakaway and lay it in, slapping the glass backboard on the way up at a height that says, "I'm going to run circles around everybody for the next two weeks until they work off their holiday sloth."
12:56 - Hustle off the court to the showers, careful not to touch my face hard enough to know just how bad it hurts.
1:10 - Back at work, there's already a line. Might as well start now.
4:35 - The last of the drop-ins goes away happy. Fifteen people came through my office, one after the other. No time to think about anything. Surely one of them would have said something if the guy giving them all the answers' nose wasn't on straight. Surely one of my dozen co-workers would have noticed if my nose wasn't where it should have been, you know, in relation to the rest of my face.
5:35 - Walking out the door, call my good friend Tommy B. Burgher III. Like a lot of SB locs, he lives with his parents. Rivas Cultural Services lives with his girlfriend... and her parents. Go hang out at Tommy's for a while.
6:45 - Relaxed now, allowing myself to consider my face. Decide it hurts. Something isn't right.
6:46 - Go to the bathroom to have a good look. My shit's crooked. This is a nose that would never be confused for straight. How is it that no one said anything?
6:47 - It's straighter now, but good golly, what a sound, like the tiniest baby bird falling from its nest and crunching every bone in its body upon impact with the sidewalk far below.
6:48 - Now it hurts for real. Get some ice from the Burgher family fridge.
6:55 - Tom B. Burgher Jr. comes home to one of his son's idiot friends sitting on his couch with an ice pack on his nose. Ever serious, he asks if the young man needs medical attention.
7:05 - Pain is getting worse, spreading throughout the face and forehead. Decide to drive home and get out of these nice people's nice house.
7:27 - Walk in and tell Clare, "Chuli, me rompieron la nariz."
7:30 - Clare and father decide a trip to the ER is in order. Evidently they ‘don't want to be responsible for any delayed after-effects,' like Julianne Moore in The Big Lebowski.
7:50 - Arrive at Goleta Valley Hospital ER, clothes changed and book in hand, ready to wait my turn. Immediately ahead of me in line are a guy who burned his lower leg so badly in a campfire that the his sweatpants are stained the color of rotted pus, and a boy with Down Syndrome who's been vomiting. Ahead of them is an enormous man who somehow tripped on a basketball and broke his ankle. Can't picture him anywhere near a basketball.
8:20 - Clare explains to the boy's stepmother that my injury probably isn't a big deal, but better safe than sorry.
8:21 - "You only have one face," the woman says in earnest agreement.
8:45 - ER reception guy finally calls me back to take my info. He broke his nose five times before getting it surgically straightened. "How much pain are you experiencing, right now, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being none and 10 being unbearable."
8:46 - Not in pain very often, and don't know how to answer. "2." There goes my chance to score some goofballs. He sends me back to the waiting room.
9:15 - Called into the exam room to wait some more.
9:30 - ER doctor comes in, followed by scribe. Without warning, he manhandles me. If it wasn't broken before, it surely is now. But there's no vomit-inducing sound this time, that's already out of the way. He says the amateur straightening job mostly did the trick, but there's just one more thing...
9:31 - Entire body goes rigid, as if electrocuted, or very much like Keanu in The Matrix when they first plug that jack into the back of his neck. There's two inches of extra-long Q-tip up my nose. How much farther to the brain? He's pushing on one of the bones way up there, hard enough to lift me out of the chair. This can't be regulation. He says it is. There's a bone that's crooked and he has to bend it back into place.
9:35 - "You've broken your nose before." If he says so. Remember my last ugly basketball injury, a big corn-fed white boy's elbow to my nose that made me bleed like crazy and left me woozy for hours.
9:36 - "There's not much we can do. We don't X-Ray broken noses any more because we decided we were just taking pictures of broken bones. I may have a splint around here..."
9:43 - Doctor never comes back. Reception guy says to call an ENT doctor when the swelling goes down in four or five days, to make sure everything is more or less where it should be. If it's still crooked, the ENT can straighten it.
9:44 - "NASAL FRACTURE CONFIRMED," the report says.