Kneed to Know

We were at Grandma’s house, for one reason or another. I don’t remember why, a birthday party, family get together, holiday or maybe just a hot summer weekend. It doesn’t really matter; the important part is that we were swimming. We were swimming, and we were having fun.


Now, obviously, Grandma’s house had a pool (’cause that’s where we swam, you see). It was a nice pool. I loved that pool. It was about 9 feet deep in the deep end, and maybe 4 feet deep in the shallow end. It had rocks along the back side, with stepping stones and flora. It had flagstone around the front. And it had a waterfall against the fence to hide the pump and filter. It really was a very nice pool.

One of my favorite things to do was to jump in. I loved jumping into the pool. I think it was the sensation of falling. Though, it did also matter how you land. You see, if you land flat on your back, well, that just isn’t fun. But as long as you didn’t hurt yourself, you could have fun jumping into the pool a myriad of ways. We dove in, we flipped in, and we hurdled into the pool. Any way you could get into a pool, without a diving board, we’ve tried it.

I remember that on this day, I decided to perfect the back flip. I’ve done it tons of times before, but I was just never able to complete the rotation before hitting the water. I would always hit the water in the crawling position, with my knees and hands hitting the water with my back almost horizontal. “Today will be different”, I decided. “Today, I’m going to do it right.”

I stood on the edge with my back to the pool. My first jump was just like any other. I didn’t complete the rotation. So, I thought to myself, “Self, I need to jump higher. If I jump higher, I’ll have more time to finish the flip.”

Take two. I stepped up to the edge and jumped straight up into the air. Now, with so much attention given to getting as much height as I could, I failed to put enough ‘flip’ in my jump. I did jump higher (if I remember correctly), but I failed to spin fast enough. I also failed to jump back towards the pool. I landed on the flagstone upside down, head first. Smack! My legs continued to rotate about me, until they came to a sudden stop. Crack! My shins hit the side of the pool, breaking a chunk out of the flagstone. I fell into the pool.

Finding myself underwater, I quickly popped to the surface and pulled myself out of the pool. Adults swarmed from the house to my left leg. (You know that nerve under your knee cap? The one the doctor hits with a small rubber mallet to see if you’ve any kick left in you? Well, the gash in my leg was just under that.) I was lying on my back, but I could hear my grandmother say, “It looks like a bunch of spaghetti’s cut in half.” Oh geez, that’s not what I want to hear right now!

Off to urgent care. I don’t remember who drove. But I remember sitting in the waiting room. I had my leg propped up on a crutch, with some kind of home made bandage on my knee. Babies were crying and little children complained of ear aches. But I was bleeding, man! No matter, I still had to wait my turn.

When I finally got medical attention, they looked at the gash and decided that it didn’t look painful enough. So they grabbed my foot and said, “Push.”

“Ha-ha, yeah right.”
“No, really. Push.”

I figured it out later. They wanted to see if my patellar tendon was cut. Thankfully it wasn’t. The gash had cut all the way to the bone, but just below where the patellar tendon attaches to the tibia.
Anyway, they irrigated and then stitched me up. Now, I have a calcium deposit just below my left knee.

Lesson learned: I don’t think I learned anything. I still do stupid things and hurt myself….

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One Response to “Kneed to Know”

  1. Dan Says:

    Ah yes, the spaghetti insodent. 🙂 I believe the pool was 8 feet actually.
    I miss that pool. Those were the days.

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