Some of you may have noticed I have two online names: Duranfan and Hollygoyle. Duranfan is a holdover from my old Spymac days, but Hollygoyle is really more ‘me.’ My closest friends and my haunt peeps know of my obsession for gargoyles, combined with my elaborate get-up (see above) that I’ve used many a time to scare the absolute bejeezus out of people.
Well, Hollygoyle will exist forever, but she may be a little shorter in the future. My stilt-walking days are over. *heavy sigh*
On the night of July 31st, there was a horror film convention in town, complete with movie stars, movie showings, vendors and, of course, a costume contest. So guess who got all dolled up to try to win a prize (and to do a little PR for the Haunted House). Go on, guess...
The venue was hot (air conditioning was terribly inadequate) but I held it together as I bounced around the place. The Spouse stayed at my side, clearing a path and keeping on eye on me. By the time the costume contest rolled around, I was doing great. Good friend Bobafett had joined us. I had my photo taken with strangers numerous times and was really wowing the crowd.
At one point I was seated on a barstool when another admirer came up and asked for a photo. I’m gonna slow things down here so yall get the full impact of what’s about to happen...
I go to stand up and suddenly my right legs is rapidly sliding out from underneath me. I basically go down doing the splits sideways, and as I do, I feel/hear something in my left knee give a wet crackle.
Oh shit. Oh fuck. I sit there on my ass for a few seconds and assess the situation. My first thought was I had dislocated my left knee cap again (slipped on a tile floor back in ‘89). But when I went to feel the leg, the knee cap was in place. And it didn’t hurt (dislocated knee caps are a pain you don’t forget). It felt weird but I was surprised at how little pain I was feeling. The Spouse and Bobafett dive down and, per my frantic instructions, start taking off my stilts (note: these babies are thoroughly strapped to my feet and around my knees so this takes a few minutes).
While they’re doing this I want to know why the hell I fell. I look over to my right and that’s when I see a glossy flyer laying on the carpet.
Fuck. Six years of being on these things with no problems and I get taken out with a goddamn piece of paper.
By now my boys have removed my stilts and have hauled my up by my armpits. I’m standing upright, still not in any major pain. I go to put weight on the left leg and it just collapses.
Shit, this is not good. This is so not good.
The Spouse and Bobafett carry all my stuff out to the car and bring it up to the front entrance. I sit on my barstool, swinging my injured leg back and forth. It’s bending fine and I’m still not feeling much pain, but something is definitely wrong.
Fast forward to the local hospital ER. This is where it gets even weirder. I peeled my latex facial appliance off in the car and wipe off as much of my make-up as I can on the way there. And I manage to get out of the costume (I had regular clothes underneath). But I still have my theatrical cat-eye lenses in. I can’t take them out because A) I have nothing to put them in and B) they’re in my prescription and I’m blind without them. Luckily, the late night staff at the ER did an excellent job of pretending not to notice my eyes. But I’m sure my accident story was one of the best they’ve seen and heard in a long time.
So... x-ray is done and shows no breakage. I’m told that I’ve sprained my knee and possibly torn my ACL, MCL or meniscus. I’m sent home with a lovely blue knee brace slapped on my leg (third time in my life I’ve had to wear one of these damn things), some crutches (which I refuse to use) and a recommendation to an orthopedist.
Oh, did I mention I went back to the horror film festival the next day? Found out that if I had not fallen, I would’ve won the contest. Son of a bitch.
Orthopedist appointment a couple days later. More x-rays taken. Again told that I’ve possibly torn my ACL, MCL or meniscus. Need to schedule an MRI to be sure. Yay. But wait, it gets better...
The doctor says he wants use a needle to drain the fluid off my very swollen knee. Then he proceeds to show me a needle that looks like it came from an old Warner Brothers cartoon. I nearly pass out and tell him, “Look, that fact that you just said ‘needle’ and ‘knee’ in the same sentence, and you’re coming at me with something that is cartoonishly large has me more than freaked out right now.”
But I gotta tell ya, that man was amazing. I never felt a thing and my knee was much smaller when I left.
Ok, back to the progress... MRI a few days later. Doctor follow up a couple days after that. Those of you putting you money on the MCL or meniscus... sorry, you lose. But those of you betting on the ACL, bingo. You can collect at the window. Complete ACL tear. Complete. As in off the freakin’ bone. Guess that was that wet crackle I felt. He also says I have some bone spurs on the back of left knee cap and asks if I had injured it before? Remember that little mishap back in ‘89? Yeah, that one...
Are we talking surgery? Yes we are, friends and neighbors. But it’s actually gonna be kinda neat. I’m gonna be getting zombie parts. Cadaver tendon!
But it’s right in the middle of this surgery conversation that I remember we’re currently in mid-August. Haunted House starts in 7 weeks. This could be bad. So I explain to the doctor, “I’ve got this major event I’m in charge of that operates every Friday and Saturday night in October that I have GOT to be there for, and I have GOT to be on my feet all night so I need these legs. Either you pop me back in that brace until November 1st or we get this done ASAP.”
He says, “What are you doing Thursday?”
Three days later my ass is in a freezing cold operating room with the Beatles blaring in the background while a bunch of surgeons, nurses and other medical folk bounce around me all perky and loud. I wake up an hour and a half later with my left leg totally numb, all wrapped up with a new piece of tissue they harvested off some dead person (my profound thanks to said dead person).
I go home the next day with some super duper pain killers (which ended up making me terribly sick). For the next three days I’m a complete invalid but the Spouse was absolutely wonderful in taking care of me, even patiently waiting for me to finishing puking in a waste can so he could replace the liner each time.
Monday morning I go back to work. Yup, crutches and all.
But here it is nearly Christmas and things are just peachy. I had an amazing physical therapist who got me off the crutches sooner than expected. I hobbled around at work and drove around town as usualy. And yes, I got thru Haunted House with no problems. Hell, the more I walked around on those nights the better my leg felt. My stilt-walking days may be over, but I still have many years left to scare people. Hollygoyle lives on.
My scars are pretty small and I have two permanent screws in my knee, but it’s all good. I got zombie parts! So when the zombie apocalypse finally happens, my ass is immune.