40 and Screwed

Posted by Big Daddy Paul in Paul is a Dork

Well, it finally happened. I spent the past few years ruthlessly heckling my friends who have turned 40, noting how old they had become and how I, since I was still in my 30’s, was so much younger and sprier than they were. Some didn’t care, telling me that my time will come soon enough. Others, who will remain nameless, responded by doing things to me in my sleep. Nasty, unspeakable things. I guess some people can’t take a joke. Earlier this summer, all bets came due and I turned 40. Ugh.

Not everyone was mean about my turning 40!

Not everyone was mean about my turning 40!

I didn’t even really need to have a birthday to recognize the passage of time in my life, sadly, as I broke my ankle in early June. There is no surer way to feel old than to have your body show you how frail it is becoming. The first step in my demise was that I joined a soccer league. I did this because A) I love the sport, B) I need exercise and C) because it is cheaper than a sports car and less STD-y than my other options for a mid-life crisis. My ankle gave way in the first half of my first game, and it turned out to be a break. My soccer “career” was over faster than you can say, “Old men shouldn’t play young men’s sports.” By the time my actual birthday came around, I was already sober to the reality that I am not the young whipper-snapper that I made myself out to be.

At first, the doctors thought that it was a clean break, showing me an x-ray in which my fibula had a nice little line through it. (FYI, the correct medical nomenclature for my injury was a “hairline fracture of the fibula” and not, as I had been telling people, was a “hairlip fracture of the fibia.” There is no such thing as a fibia and most doctors will look at you funny if you call anything a hairlip fracture. I went to law school, not medical school. Sue me.) Surgery, they promised, was not necessary.

After two weeks, I went back to the doctors. They revealed that my nice little fracture had become a displaced fracture, meaning my leg bone was growing in displace when it should have been growing in datplace.  Surgery, they told me, was required. Fuck! 14 hours later I went under the knife, and to show the medical establishment how irritated with them I was, I did not wear clean underpants. Luckily, I had my surgery lying face down. Paul: 1, medical establishment: 0!

I spent the next 5 days in an absolute fog. The first night I was home I writhed in agony as my ankle felt like it had molten lava running through it. I vowed never to feel like that again, and with Amy’s great assistance, I went on a Percocet binge. I was stoned. Really stoned. It was like high school all over again, where all I could say to people was, “I am soooooooo stoned.” Deep into my binge, I knew something was not 100% right with me. I was itchy, to the point where I scratched my back so hard I bled. I was constipated. I sweated through my clothes several times a day. I had involuntary muscle spasms. I had rashes on my belly and nose. I stunk. Sweaty, red-nosed, bloody, bloated and smelly, I was, in many respects Tip O’Neill in his final days in Congress.

Luckily for my family, they did not have to personally suffer through the indignity of me being me. Amy had a business trip to Europe and Malcolm was with my parents in Bakersfield. Friends dropped off food for me each day, and I could see by the look in their eye that I was quite a spectacle. I passed the time watching episodes of The Wire and swatting at non-existent mosquitoes. As the date for Malcolm and Amy’s return neared, I knew I needed to get clean. Some say my symptoms were due to an allergic reaction to the meds, others concluded that I was suffering from a low grade overdose. Either way, I needed to look less like one of the junkies on The Wire and more like my old self.


It looks like one of the screws has already fallen out. The doctors tell me it is supposed to be that way. Of course, they are smiling at each other when saying this, so I am taking it with a grain of salt.

I weaned myself off the hard stuff for my family’s return, and they returned and were very nice to me. My healing is going well, the doctors tell me that 1) I should wear clean shorts next time, and 2) the six screws affixing my ankle together are doing their job nicely. I have two more weeks on crutches and another two in the walking boot. After that, I am pimp stepping all over Oakland. Not exactly the plans I had for my summer of turning 40, but it could be worse. I could have a hairlipped fibia.


3 responses to “40 and Screwed”

  1. Regina says:

    With your new ankle, will you get screwed going through airport security?

  2. Annie says:

    Oh Paul.. jesus, that does not sound good. Those poor nurses… all that time with your dirty undies. I feel for you dude. Can not imagine how bad that hurt! I think you should try water aerobics like Mark did a few years back.. think low impact!

  3. Dennis says:

    Paul, I turned 40 earlier this summer as well, and while I haven’t broken any body parts, my body feels every bit of 40, or 70! It sucks getting older and I feel for you. Hope that ankle has healed since I’m a month behind reading your post. Why didn’t your Giants trade Javier Lopez to my Tigers for like a bag of balls and some Gatorade or something like that? Didn’t you guys make us feel shitty enough during last years World Series???

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