Sunday, April 22, 2018
Publication Date: 02/1/2011
Archive >  February 2011 Issue >  Tech-Op-Ed > 

A Superhuman Effort
Walter Salm, Editor
Every issue of U.S. Tech has its problems, its idiosyncrasies, its foibles. This particular issue has a back story that was absolutely frightening. For the first time ever, the editor was unable to function for a significant period of time, and this put a strain on everyone involved.

To backtrack a bit, at one period in my life, I had become so accident-prone that I started to call myself "super-klutz". My old demons came back to haunt me in the month just past.

It started on a Saturday, my wife and I returning from an RV show when I stopped the car to use the restroom at a Publix Supermarket on the eastern edge of Ft. Myers, Florida. The parking lot was studded with those damnable 3-foot long concrete curbs to prevent cars from straying into the next parking space. Returning to my car, my foot discovered one of these constructs in the dark and sent me sprawling, painfully onto my right knee. Murphy's Law being what it is, naturally there was significant damage. There was no possibility of getting up and shaking it off. The ambulance took me to Lee Memorial Hospital, and the x-ray — you know, those machines they use to check out assembled PC boards — disclosed that my right kneecap was broken in 2 places. I was out of commission. Surgery Sunday, and by then my diligent wife and Associate Editor had brought my netbook to the hospital, so I could at least try to do some work. It was a 120-mile round trip for her to the hospital in Ft. Myers from the RV park in Moore Haven.

Pain level was bad, requiring morphine several times a day, which meant that I could do precious little work on U.S. Tech. They finally weaned me off the morphine as the pain became controllable by oral meds. But I still had trouble thinking constructively.

By Wednesday, I was ready to leave the hospital to enter a SNF (skilled nursing facility) for the 20 days allotted to me by Medicare. Then into a Park Model mobile home rental at the campground for the remaining 4 weeks until I could be certified as "healed". Going home to the RV was impossible: I would never be able to get up the steps, and such "simple" matters as bathing and using the minuscule toilet with leg-in-a-brace extended would be impossible. I needed the less confining dimensions of a real house or a mobile home.

I entered the nursing facility and within 15 minutes I knew it was not for me. But it took until the next morning to make arrangements to break out of the joint and into a park model rental at the RV resort. There was no healing or recovery for me at that nursing facility. Worse, there was no place for me to set up my netbook and work on U.S. Tech. I finally got to my new temporary home in a brand-new rented park model and my wife and I got to work setting up a workable office area in the corner of the living/dining room. I had been totally nonproductive for nearly a week.

An important working tool for this issue has been a wheelchair. With a busted kneecap, there is no other furniture that is feasible for me to sit in or on — at least not for now.

What was especially gratifying was the way that all staff members at U.S. Tech pulled together and helped wherever they could to ensure that this issue would be published on time.

I'm still working through pain and discomfort, but that goes with the territory. After all, it's not every day that I can lay claim in such a spectacular way to my special title of "Super Klutz."  

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