Friday, April 8, 2011

Vile Sweetgum

My thought of the day:

I am glad I am intelligent enough to do my own research, come to my own conclusions, and not blindly believe everything I hear or read.

Unfortunately, I know too many people who get their news and information from a very narrow group of sources.  They repeat inane rhetoric like it is fact, and refuse to consider information from other sources because it is from a different point of view than they are comfortable with.  They would rather rely on biased and sensational media and personalities instead of facts and reason.  The worst are the Limbaugh/Beck disciples and the people who forward urban legends to everyone in their address books, proclaiming them fact while leaving their reality boxes packed up and languishing in a mold storage shed.  Face it, people, if you repeat nonsense to those of us who have even a remote grasp on logic and sense, we will assume you are moronic and nothing you say afterward will be taken seriously, even if it really is accurate.  Go read some books, get your news from multiple and diverse outlets, and please, for the love of pasta, please go check Snopes before you forward me anything else!

Anyway, enough of that for today.

Onward to my real nemesis, the thorny bane of my Friday afternoon...

Sweetgum.  Liquidambar styraciflua.  I have one of these hideous bastards on the edge of my property, though technically it belongs to my neighbors.  I'm normally as hippie-tree-hugger as one can get, but this tree is bad news.  We have an electric mower, so the gumballs don't cause too much of a problem with it, but that doesn't matter.  They invade everything and never seem to decompose.  They are vile and unforgivable.

We had a pretty nasty hail storm over the weekend.  Walnut sized ice plus high winds turned my poor car into a golfball.  The car is eleven years old now, so I don't really care about the dimples.  The big problem with the hail turned out to be the sweetgum tree.  Our driveway and our neighbors' are covered in twigs, leaf buds, and gumballs. 

I didn't realize how treacherous the steep incline of my driveway was until this afternoon.  I was carrying my toddler out to the car for a trip to the grocery store, when a gumball found its way under my right foot.  My ankle rolled out and my knee twisted and it took every bit of balance I had to keep my son's head from slamming into the door.  My knee aches and my ankle is swelling and tingly.  I know it is not a bad sprain at all, but it does scare me.  My right ankle was reconstructed nine years ago after a catastrophic fourth-degree sprain with bone fractures.  I had no soft tissue left intact on the outside of my ankle, so when I lifted my leg, my foot dropped straight down since there was nothing left to stabilize it.  That injury took 9 months for repair and recovery.

How did I do it?

I stepped on a frakking gumball and rolled my ankle.

I had a history of ankle sprains from nine years of coed soccer followed by four years of playing on my high school's varsity team.  I had loose and damaged ligaments, but that gumball did me in.  One step, and it sounded and felt like a gunshot going off inside my ankle.  With most of my ankle injuries, I my adrenaline kicked in so quickly that I felt nothing for hours afterward (I even played a double-header soccer game on a broken ankle, and never felt it until I took off my shinguards), but this was different.  This was agony, a firework being discharged in my leg.   A skilled orthopedic surgeon put it back together.  I have great stability in my ankle now, but I have permanent nerve damage.  I have tingling spots on my instep and I can't feel my last two toes at all.

Today was a brutal flashback, and thankfully, it only looks like there is a little damage and nothing that needs to be treated with anything other than rest.  My cartilage-free knee (the result of a horrific marching band injury and subsequent surgery), seems to be relatively uninjured, just a little sore.  Still, those gumballs are determined to obliterate my mobility and my sanity.

Curse you, vile sweetgum tree!  This war will not end until one of us falls!

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