Remains of last weekend

I had my leg cast swapped out last week. When I walked into the office, the nurse who admitted me took one look at my leg and recoiled in shock.

"What the hell kind of angle is your foot set at?" he asked. My foot was pointed straight down, like a ballet dancer on point.

"I don't know! I woke up from surgery and my foot was set that way," I said, suddenly concerned.

"Man oh man," he said, shaking his head. "That's the most severe angle I've ever seen."

The guy who was responsible for recasting me looked like Milton from Office Space but about 200 pounds heavier. He had an exasperated "seen-it-all" weariness about him, as if he wished this train of patients with ruptured Achilles would stop appearing in his office but knew that it wouldn't. He looked at me and shook his head, and I felt judged, guilty of some hubris that had led me to this sorry state.

To remove the cast, he pulled out a small handheld circular saw and made two cuts from top to bottom on either side of my leg. The saw blade protruded about an inch, and my cast looked to be about an inch thick, so when Milton put saw to cast I strained as hard as possible to push my leg as far away from the blade as possible. I was terrified, and my leg cowered against the opposite side of the cast. Milton didn't seem concerned and pulled the blade straight down with an almost bored nonchalance.

He pried the cast off, and for the first time in weeks, I saw my leg. There was a four inch wound running up the back of my leg from my heel, stitched together with black thread in a cross-hatched pattern.

The surgeon came in, took a look, said the wound looked to be healing fine, and left. Milton asked him about the crazy angle of my foot, but he replied that my wound was healing and that was the important thing.

Milton had my lie on my belly, and then he rubbed some local anesthesia on my wound. Just as I started to feel it burn, he began (I think) removing my stitches. It felt as if someone was putting a soldering iron to my ankle, and I bit my arm to stomach the searing pain.

Then it came time to pry my foot up partway towards the normal 90 degree angle that feet are at when you stand normally. There was only one problem: after two weeks of being pointed down, my foot did not want to come back up. Milton asked me to try pulling it up myself, but despite urgent messages from my brain, my foot did not move.

I couldn't see Milton over my shoulder, but I pictured the slightest of grins on his lips as he grabbed my foot and a board of some sort and pried my foot up.

I let out a grunt as a violent pain shot up my leg. He continued to pry, I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth. If someone had walked in on us, it would've looked like a UFC fight, with Milton trying to break my foot to get me to tap out.

I didn't submit, but Milton did notice that I was in pain.

"You think this hurts? I just pulled your foot up like 20 degrees. Next time I'm pulling it up the rest of the way, like 40 degrees. You better take some painkillers before you come in." And then he cackled maniacally: "Bwahahahahaha!"

Okay, he didn't cackle. But after seeing the beautiful nurses in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, I can't lie, the walrusian Milton was a bit of a letdown.

I hobbled out of Milton's torture chamber with a new, slim cast on my leg but in enormous pain. I sat in the waiting room and immediately inhaled two Vicodin, which I hadn't touched in a week and a half.

The best thing to come out of this office visit was obtaining my doc's signature on a form authorizing me for a temporary handicapped parking placard. I mailed that off to the California DMV as soon as I got back to the office.

Milton, we will meet again soon, but I will be bringing my two friends, Percocet and Vicodin.


Amputees sometimes experience phantom limb. There's an analogous videogame sensation. Whenever I hear a song from Rock Band on the radio, I feel a phantom guitar in my hands and see green, blue, yellow, red, and orange notes dropping from the sky.


After trashing his teammates in the preseason, Kobe Bryant goes and says he stayed with the Lakers because he tweaked his leadership to instill his teammates with his DNA. Arrogant, yes, but also maybe not the best thing to say given his, uh, personal history, both past and present.


Yes, the Lakers have Zen master Phil Jackson as coach, but let's not forget that Doc Rivers has the Celtics shouting "Ubuntu!" coming out of every huddle. Open source operating system? That seems pretty zen to me.


Sometimes it feels like the web is too big. Look at this list of sites of "Top 60 music websites that deliver the greatest free music."

60 sites! I'd be more than happy with, say, 10, but to be honest I probably use maybe 3.


Now that I'm on crutches, and now that a temporary handicapped permit is on its way to me in the mail, I flash dirty looks at any non-handicapped person I catch coming out of the handicapped stall in the bathroom.

If I hadn't had to pee so badly after the Indiana Jones screening that morning it opened, I would've stayed around until I caught whoever had occupied the handicapped stall at the Hollywood Arclight.

Speaking of the new Indiana Jones movie, I've read a lot of fans of the new Indy movie who dismiss anyone who didn't like the movie as elitist. Sorry, but those people are wrong.

I don't care if you did like the movie, but don't tell me about summer popcorn flicks. Raiders of the Lost Ark was a great summer popcorn flick. This latest Indy flick...cost me three hours and $11.


This is old, but still worth posting. Chris Matthews obliterates a right-wing lunatic on TV. One of Matthews' finer moments.