Sunday, January 25, 2015

PART I: Disrupting the Quadriceps Tendon -- DON'T DO IT - E V E R

How it Happened

I suppose that if you're going to "disrupt" (i.e., rip like a cheap piece of packing tape) your quadriceps tendon, as I did, you might as well pick a really beautiful setting to do it... as I did.

Aunt Dana with Ruby and Rylee
My wife, Dana, and I took a little Christmas trip to SoCal for the holiday... a multitude of in-laws: sisters, brothers, parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, dogs, family friends... gazillions of people to visit... parties and feasts. The wads of colorful wrapping paper, which having delivered their mysterious payloads, now litter the living room in clumps, like used shell casings on a battlefield... AND,, most importantly, EXTREMELY cute. lovable kids everywhere.

Uncle Jim with Finley

Our friend, Rosie Flores (best living country/rockabilly singer on the planet, and a rockin' geetarist, to boot) was going to be playing a gig at Belly Up in Solana Beach during our stay. Dana and I made arrangements to get the entire "of-age" gang down there for the show -- roughly 16 of us. Knowing I'd be in the vicinity, Rosie asked me if I'd bring a guitar and join her for the set. Given how I feel about Rosie personally and professionally, I said YES!!!

So fast forward past all the Christmas frivolities -- every family with grandparents, parents, kids, nieces, nephews, friends, hangers-on, etc, knows the drill. Sound levels to rival a battle of the bands between "Blue Cheer", "Nine Inch Nails" and, (why this is in a battle of the bands, I don't know, but humor me) a DC-10 revved up for take off. It was Dec. 26, Belly Up Concert Day.

The quick 4 p.m. sound check left us with a couple of hours to kill prior to downbeat. One of Rosie's friends had graciously offered her rustic, sea side house as a place to nap, get dressed, and generally relax.

NOTE: All events which which follow are due COMPLETELY  to my carelessness, stupidity, crappy depth perception... you name it. Sometimes it would be nice to have someone to blame... in this case NADA... le coupable, c'est moi.

Leading from the house to the car parked in the drive was a simple, three step flight of stairs. I had gone UP them, earlier -- no problem. But somehow -- it was dusk, the step were gray, my night vision is not so good -- going down, I wasn't sure if I saw THREE steps or TWO. Whatever my selection, it was WRONG. My foot came down at a strange angle, my right knee buckled and I collapsed... accompanied by excruciating pain and a loud "T-W-I-N-G" from somewhere just above my knee -- sounded very much like a "D" string breaking. Although I wish that it hadn't happened at all, here's three things that I'm glad for:
  • This step was not step 1 of a 20 step marble, spiral staircase, leading to a landing of jagged rocks, or into a trash compactor;
  • The staircase was in Sunny California, not, say, miserably cold Buffalo, NY... and was in the US where my Medicare is honored; 
  • I was surrounded by a bunch of really nice people who helped me get up and get going, rather than a gaggle of YouTubers, just looking for something that might go viral.

So... you know the old adage -- THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Rosie grabbed the keys to the bizarre FIAT rental... hard to grasp even after driving for a week. We sped to the venue, pulled around in back of the Belly Up and someone helped me get into the green room.

Dana, who had come down with family, managed to get past the crowd, and Nena Anderson (who among her many musical endeavors, plays "June Carter" of "Cashed Out", the Johnny Cash tribute anchor band) helped me get to ice on my wounded knee. I discovered that by locking my right leg, I could mount the stage stairs at Belly Up and Rosie delivered a rockin' set.

Part II of this blog will be informational -- just what is a disrupted quadriceps tendon? Part III will cover my "day after" trip to the Oso Urgent Care Clinic (possibly the WORST medical facility in existence, if you consider the fundamental criteria as the ability to diagnosis and appropriately treat medical issues. Later installments will cover rehab. Some of this writing, I hope is entertaining; other parts are to offer support and information to other unfortunates who have suffered a quadriceps tendon injury.

I encourage comments, particularly if you've had a similar experience,

PART II: What is a Disrupted Quadriceps Tendon?


  1. My injury wasn't nearly so bad, but I tore two ligaments stepping off a curb in Austin. It was daylight, I wasn't carrying anything in my hands, I wasn't in a hurry, it wasn't raining. I was just - a dumb ass.

    Wishing you lots of healing.

  2. Thanks, Jayne... dang old curbs, anyway. I think the torn ligaments may be ultimately more painful initially that this was. And most of this type of injury is just plain old failure to pay attention and hurrying!