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Published: Friday, 2/23/2007

Grooming & Gravity

Chad Niemann, a physician's assistant at Toledo Hospital, wraps my leg in what they called a "bulky Jones" with Doug McCollum, also a PA. Chad Niemann, a physician's assistant at Toledo Hospital, wraps my leg in what they called a "bulky Jones" with Doug McCollum, also a PA.
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Why didn't I shave this year?

There on the shockingly pale flesh of my calf was a sparse forest of long black hairs, neglected, forgotten, until this moment when it seemed everyone within walking distance was drawn into this small charmless room to see them.

What landed me in this room was my inability to walk on air, something I long suspected about myself, but had never bothered testing until Wednesday morning. I would like to present it as a scientific experiment.

Hypothesis: I cannot walk on air, but will be pulled down to Earth by gravity. (Note to Intelligent Design folks. Gravity is just a theory.I

Experiment: Step off a two-step high landing as though the landing was not discontinuous with the floor beneath it.

Findings: One should shave one's legs, even in winter, just in case one ends up in a hospital room where strangers take bets on which hair on your leg is longest, and begin measuring them to see if any are possible record breakers.

As I said, I would like to present this as an experiment, but it in fact was not. It was one of those puzzling moments in life where one forgets the most basic thing, like, uh, one must step down when confronted by a step down. The fact simply slipped my mind, and I fell, and I heard the crunkle of bone strained beyond its potential, and a bolus of pain flashed like a red light in the black tunnel behind my eyes. And then I started, not exactly screaming, but more like bellowing, and saying most of the bad words I'd taken so much trouble to learn over the years so they would come to me readily at a moment such as this.

Poodle rushes to the rescue. Poodle rushes to the rescue.
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I could hear the man who was repairing plaster in our house saying something like, Are you all right? which really means, Please be all right or we'll be tied up all day by the paper work of your unplanned death.'' But I really couldn't stop hollering long enough to answer him. Eventually my bellowing and litany of bad words went on long enough and loud enough that my husband, Joey Harrison, a copy editor at The Blade who works into the early morning hours, awakened and he and the big black poodle who shares our house rushed to my rescue, Joey asking What can I do? and the dog dancing around like this was an emergency she could help with if only Joey would get out of her way.

Around this time, I finally started to quiet down some, and asked to be helped to the couch. And from that moment on, I've been pretty much helpless. Joey fetched the ice. Joey called the doctor. Joey called the office and told them I wouldn't be coming in. Joey pulled the car down the driveway so it was close to the front door and Joey and the plaster guy carried me out of the house like one of the wounded after a battle. (When Joey read this blog entry before I posted it, he suggested that I change Joey fetched the ice , and Joey called the doctor. You know, honey, make them present tense, like, 'Joey, fetch the ice. Joey, call the doctor,' you know, so they sound like commands. Which I think speaks volumes about what his life has been like since Wednesday.)

The tibia and fibula are the bones that run from the knee to the ankle. I broke the skinnier of the two, the fibula, down by the ankle. The tibia and fibula are the bones that run from the knee to the ankle. I broke the skinnier of the two, the fibula, down by the ankle.
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And here is the anatomy lesson that followed the throngs studying the neglected leg hair:

The fibula is the skinnier of two bones in the leg below the knee. If you crack it down by the ankle, it hurts like the devil. But wait, there is more: There are five metatarsal bones in your foot. You can break the fifth metatarsal, the one connected to the baby toe, and not even feel it if you break your fibula at the same time.

Until they pulled off my sock and I saw the expected swelling at my ankle, and then a second swelling on my foot, I had no idea my foot was injured.

I wondered for a brief moment if this accident happened because, only minutes earlier, I had finished a blog entry that included a mention of my indifference to Meredith Grey's fate on Grey's Anatomy. Could this be Dr. McDrippy's revenge?

OK, not likely. This is, instead, gravity's revenge. I was a fool to test its powers. Gravity: 1, Jenni: 0.

OK OK I will take a moment from my life to comment on your accident. I did just call you on Sunday and apparently that was not enough attention that you needed sympathy and decided to guise it in the form of an experiment in gravity.

While breaking your ankle is very painful and a definite lesson in anatomy I am truly only curious as to which hair on your leg was the longest and if you broke any records? I am also curious about the size and thickness of your toenails. The picture in the blog leaves that point vague. Also what is the doctor doing? Is he demonstrating the extra terrestrial healing technique that he would use? Or is he showing you what the length of an average leg hair should be?

These are the true questions a science writer should ask.

While Joey may feel that you needed to change the tense of your requests I think Tula [the poodle] should have had an opportunity to speak her mind. She has every right, you know, as you think that Tula shares the house with you, you do realize that she lets you live there and she lets you feed her.

I am going back to work know. YOU SHOULD TOO!



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