or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, August 18, 2008


Well. Let's have some Latin, shall we?

"Medial" is from "medius", "middle", which also gave English "medium" (in the middle, neither small nor large) and "median", the midpoint of something. In anatomical terms, "medial" refers to something that's in the middle as opposed to the outside.

"Collateral" is from "com-", "together", with the terminal consonant changed to "-l-" for euphony, and "lateral", derived from "latus", which means variously "the side", "the breadth", or "wide" and also gave English "latitude", which refers to breadth either geographic or metaphoric. In anatomical terms, "collateral" refers to something that is, predictably, off to the side rather than in the centre.

"Ligament" is from "ligamentum", "bandage", which in turn is derived from the verb "ligare", "to tie", which gave English "ligature" (something that ties things together). In anatomical terms, "ligament" refers to a strap of tissue that connects things together.

The medial collateral ligament is one of the things that holds the primate knee together. It's medial, which means it's in the middle of the body, at the inside edge of the knee rather than at the outside edge. It's collateral, which means it's at the side of the knee rather than the front. And it's a ligament, which means it's a band of fibrous stuff that connects, in this case, the tibia to the femur and keeps the knee moving as it should.

And I have fucked mine up.

It was so much fun! The cleaners were in the store Saturday night preparing to polish the floors. They'd coated a section with either wax stripper or wax, I don't know which, and they should have either put up signs warning of wet floors or refrained from dousing the floors with the stuff while we were still there. They didn't do either of these things, and so as a consequence I stepped onto the glop, at which point my left leg went all over the place while my right leg didn't and I went down, hard and heavy, on the left leg.

It was just staggeringly painful. I didn't pass out from the pain, although I came very very close; I was merely incoherent, gasping for breath, and trying hard not to throw up. The actual passing-out part came around 2:30 Sunday morning, when I got up to pee and awoke to find Jim standing over me, my hand in the toilet, my face pressed against the top of the cistern.

I'll spare you the details of the injury. Just trust me that this is something you never, ever want to have happen to you.

It seems I'll survive. I'll keep you posted.


Blogger D.J. said...

Wow, ouch! Best of luck with your recovery.

A few years back my wife blew out her anterior CL in a bad skiing fall. She hasn't had surgery yet, but the knee is perfectly functional as long as she doesn't, you know, ski.

Apparently the ACL can be repaired on a timeline that's approximately "whenever you get around to it"; I hope the MCL is the same way. Meanwhile, I am assured by a reliable authority that the proper method of treatment is "take whatever painkillers they're giving you, and drink heavily when they start to wear off."

Monday, August 18, 2008 12:17:00 AM  
Anonymous OmegaMom said...

Ouch! Take your time and be gentle with it!

Monday, August 18, 2008 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger pyramus said...

Thanks for the concern. It's not actually torn, which is a very lucky circumstance: there's no swelling or bruising at all. It's just stretched beyond its usual capacity, and will take a while to snap back and stop hurting so much. I'll be hobbling around for a while to come, probably a couple of weeks. Maybe I need a stylish cane?

Drinking is not my usual method of dealing with pain, but I'm not going to rule it out.

Monday, August 18, 2008 8:05:00 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

Get well soon!

Monday, August 18, 2008 10:13:00 PM  

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