(orginally posted February 9th, 2009)
So, my right ankle is not that well off from fracturing my growth plate in grade 9 after coming down from a spike in a volleyball game onto John Herron’s foot. Also, I (speculatively) inherited my grandmother’s ankles, who was just recently told by her doctor that her ankle was worn out and couldn’t be fixed. All that to say, sometime this past summer (2008) I was playing on my rec-league once-a-month Korean soccer team, and I turned my ankle pretty good. It was in rough shape, but I managed to walk it off, and finish the game. The next day it had doubled in size and tripled in colors.
I showed to our school’s director, who offered to take me to the hospital. Now, from experience, this is generally nothing more than a job for Rest Ice Compression Elevation (RICE, if you will); nothing I haven’t encountered plenty of times before. But I figured, whatever, maybe get an x-ray just in case, see what’s going on in there. So off we went the next day to what turned out not to be a hospital at all. In the car, I was informed that I was now being taken to a Chinese Acupuncture clinic. Suprisingly, I didn’t have a problem with this, as I was now picturing extremely relaxed people lying face down in bed at a spa with a bunch of needles in their back, and all the combined surface area pain overloading the brain’s pain sensors, and cancelling itself out. I thought, ok, maybe this could be alright, lets see how they roll over here, maybe they know something North Americans don’t about healing. It was only a few bucks anyways, and I had always been intrigued by acupuncture. I truly had no idea what I had got myself into.
I was ushered into the little consultation room to have some sort of assessment that I didn’t understand because it was all being spoken in Korean. Next I was instructed to head to the next, smaller room, and sit on the table dressed in the butcher paper. After some more Korean conversation, things got underway in a hurry. The doctor grabbed my left hand (I remind you, the injury was my right ankle), and promptly inserted a 2-3″ needle into my flesh, right around my scaphoid (where your thumb meets your hand), twisted it around, told me, in my best translation, to “chill.” He then trodded off on his doctorly way. So there I am, by myself, with a huge needle in my hand, not moving because I’m frightened of stabbing my inner hand somewhere, and absorbing all the pain possible that comes with having ONE needle jammed into you, rather than the above mentioned multiples, and also chuckling a little to myself over the complete absurdity of what was happening to me. You can imagine what was going through my mind. Also, the doctor did come back occasionally to twist and turn the needle to and fro, and to send it in deeper, while I sent my incisors deeper into my right knuckles. Did I mention my RIGHT ankle was hurt, and there was a needle in my LEFT….THUMB??!!?? Eventually, 10 or 15 minutes passed, and the doc removed the needle, which seemed to have ended up about 4-5″ in there now. I thought the insanity was over. I was wrong.
I was then told through translation to lie down and the doctor grabbed my actual ankle. I thought, ok, he’s actually going to do something directly to it now. I was right. Moments later, a device surfaced that I can only describe as a stabbing gun. It was a glue gun shape, and there was one, or maybe seven needles sticking out of the end. My wonder had very little time to evolve to fear as my swollen ankle was promptly STABBED approximately 20 times in 10 seconds with said puncturing device. I’m going to need stitches in my knuckles at this point. There was so much shock running through me that I was seriously laughing at how comical it was was, perhaps a defence mechanism against the pain. After the aerating of my ankle was complete, they wheeled in another device; this time a vaccuum-sucker-pump of sorts (these are all technical medical terms I don’t expect you to be familiar with), which is then applied to my wounds, and the blood, now leaking from the holes, was sucked out for a few minutes. They eventually took it off me and told me to stand up, and that they were finished. They asked me how I felt, and I said, “Good,” only in hopes of concluding the visit. I made my way to the front counter to sign something, and they said, “Ok, see you tomorrow!” Well, my mouth said yes, but my mind broke out in hysterics. I grabbed a candy from the dish, and got out of there, as quick as conditions were allowing me. I did not go back the next day.
Also, on the topic of the title, Koreans make bad chinese food.
From a son-in-law’s point of view, there are certain events, happenings, and/or interactions with their potential father-in-law that are fairly defining of how the rest of his life could potentially play out. One such incident occurred to me, the first time my now father-in-law, Dennis, lent me his truck.
My now wife and I had been dating for a while, and I had worked my way into the good books to the point that Dennis made the conscious decision that I was worthy of this new truck-lending-level designation. Definitely a big moment for me. As he gave me the keys on that snowy, Saskatchewan winter afternoon, my face beamed appreciation and emitted kind words of thanks; while my brain fretted and kept repeating, “DON’T CRASH DON’T CRASH DON’T CRASH DON’T CRASH…” We got into the truck, fastened our seatbelts snugly, I checked all the mirrors multiple times, and headed into town, no problem. We got done whatever it was we were doing in town, and then started home. The drive had gone well, not a problem to be had, now all I gotta do is pull back in the driveway and… *BUMP* err…umm, what was that? Why is the right front tire a foot lower than the rest of the tires????!!!!???
Turns out that the snow had been dumping so heavily that day, that it had literally filled the ditch to a level point between the road and their property, and as I pulled into what I believed to be the driveway, my right front had committed a few steps too early. So there we were, Karm and I, sitting in the truck, staring at each other, on my first borrowed truck trip, and I had just put it in the ditch. Perfect.
Suddenly, but not unexpectedly, who should come calmly strolling out of the house but Dennis himself. Words cannot correctly describe the thoughts that must have been running through my brain. I assume mostly fear and apologies. He, of course, asked me what happened, and I ran down the story. Suprisingly (and quite thankfully) he wasn’t angry, we concluded to begin the process of getting the truck out of said ditch. So we’re doing the forward-reverse-forward-reverse rocking trick, the bouncing the front axles trick, pushing, pulling…all no good. We tried putting wooden planks (that he happened to have laying against the garage, suspiciously) under the tires and driving on them. No dice. Also, it’s the middle of winter in Saskatchewan, we’re outside, running out of ideas, and it’s REALLY cold.
The Dyck’s (folks in law) had invited some guests over to their house that day, who happened to arrive right in the middle of this debacle. The man of that family (who likes to remind me of this incident repeatedly, to this day), saw our problem, asked the obligatory questions, and offered to try and help out. So now there’s three of us reefing on this truck (a 4×4 Ford Explorer, and yes, we tried the 4×4 option, to no avail), and still we remained captive to the ditch. If that wasn’t enough, another complete stranger to me (a neighbor) came rolling by on a tractor, saw the predicament, had a little chuckle to himself, and offered his services. The tractor came in extremely handy, as we rigged a chain up to it, and after some further negotiation, finally removed the truck from the jaws of that forsaken ditch.
My day had started out so promising, I had managed to earn my to-be father-in-law’s trust enough for him to lend me his truck, and then proceeded to deposit it in a ditch, not somewhere that I could have called a tow-truck and covered the whole thing up, but right IN FRONT OF THEIR HOUSE for him, my to-be mother-in-law, the rest of the family, a visiting family whom I’d never met, and a neighbor (who I’d also not met) with a tractor who had to haul it out, all of to which I had to explain this very story to, and who must’ve enjoyed hearing every second of it. And surely in small town Saskatchewan, word of story-worthy events don’t get kept under wraps very long.
I can see the humor now, but man, was I embarrassed. I’ve really been blessed to have great in-laws; Dennis has never brought this incident up to me, and even let me borrow his vehicles again after that. I knew that I had made some positive headway when I got the keys the time after this. Dennis, if you’re reading this, thanks for not ever rubbing this one in, and for being an all-around good dude. I know lots of sons-in-laws don’t have it as good as I do.