Here’s the true story of my recent shoulder dislocation.
I lost an edge. My skates flew out from under me. I went down hard.
I wish it was something sexier than that. A heroic intervention to protect the underdog, perhaps. But no, no one was even near me.
I just put a kid in the box, and signaled the call. For no reason I went down. I landed on my elbow but I had elbow pads on.
The damage was done to my shoulder. I knew right away it was dislocated. My arm stuck straight out to the side and was locked in place, strangely indented at the joint.
Dislocated shoulders are the most common serious injury in hockey. It’s out, I told my partner. You’re on your own tonight.
Hey stripes, I can put it back in for you right now, says the guy I called a penalty on.
Thanks but no-thanks. They got morphine at the hospital. Yes it hurt, but I knew much worse pain was coming rapidly when the adrenaline wears off.
My concerned partner came over while I was fumbling with the key to open the ref room. You okay?
I’ll be fine. Don’t hold up the game.
I managed to get some of my equipment off. And grabbed a few Tylenols from the convener, who helped me get my reffing bag back into my trunk.
You sure you can drive, the convener asks skeptically.
Sure, no problem. My immobilized right arm couldn’t operated a stick. By removing the seat belt, I could operated the shift and steer with my left arm.
That journey from Vaughan to St Joseph’s was so excruciatingly painful I was afraid I might pass out at the wheel. I should have just taken a cab to the nearest hospital.
Inside a familiar voice takes over. Be strong. Be tough. Don’t be afraid of a little pain. Do your deep breathing. Be a man.
Luckily, people my age in severe pain are processed quickly for fear of a heart attack. Which wasn’t my concern. Nor was the injury once the morphine kicked in.
They put me out for 3 minutes to re-set the joint. Afterwards I text my brother. U still up? Guess what?
Yes I’ll pick you up. Just leave your car to get ticketed.
Four weeks later I got my skate blades analyzed. I had indeed lost an edge. I got my skates profiled and sharpened.
Don’t fall again, the doctor warned me when I asked him about going back to reffing. The shoulder is still fragile.
Or if you do, fall and roll in such a way that you don’t re-injure the injury, I thought.
Thanks for listening to this episode of Diary of Ref. See you abs and yoga?
Hasta luego, Pepito
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