Saturday, September 01, 2007

Two explanations for the brace on my right ankle

The Cool Explanation

Obviously, this particular form of ankle sprain could only have been sustained while fighting off a runaway rhino from the zoo while simultaneously scoring the game-winning three-pointer in a local basketball league championship game.

The Much Less Cool Explanation

I exit my apartment, fresh with the glow of a recently-completed fantasy football draft. I've got a fever, and the only cure is a smoothie. Lucky for me, there's a Robeks Juice just down the street.

I make my way down the walkway that leads from my building toward the street, looking around to soak in the day. Sunny, warm, just the right amount of aesthetically-pleasing puffy white clouds. That one there looks like a bunny.

Yup, another perfect summer day in California. I think I'll have a Mahalo Mango, or maybe a South Pacific Squeeze. It's definitely a citrus day.

As I approach the sidewalk, I hop to cut the corner from walkway to sidewalk. Not a hop exactly...really, it was almost more of...a skip. There, I said it, it was a skip. I skip to cut the corner from walkway to sidewalk. And with all the grace of a booze-addled one-legged figure skater, my right foot hits the edge where the sidewalk meets the tall-grass lawn, elevated about two inches. I come down with all of my weight, roll the ankle, and jump up and down on my good left foot in the most masculine way you can imagine (which is to say, not very masculine at all) before laying down on my building's lawn and contemplating moving all of my belongings out of the apartment and boarding a 15-hour flight to Hong Kong over the next two days. I do my darndest to ignore that popping sound I thought I heard coming from the ankle.

Perhaps the greatest joy came shortly thereafter, when my good samaritan neighbor asked if I wanted him to call me an ambulance to make sure there was no break or ligament damage. "No thanks," I answered. "I have no health insurance!"

My dad retired on August 1, and I was under the (mistaken) impression that my school-provided health insurance plan didn't kick in until September 1. I attempted to call the Harvard University Health Services office to confirm this, but naturally, it was past business hours on the ever-useless east coast, and my inquiry would have to wait.

With some extra internet research, which was facilitated by a few doses of 800-mg ibuprofen - why oh why did I decline my neighbor's offer of a vicodin?? - I eventually came to believe that my school insurance might have actually kicked in on August 1, just as my dad's insurance evaporated into the ether. And sure enough, the next day, I was able to confirm it. But just 6 hours of pain-addled, neurotically Jewish worst-case scenario contemplation of ruptured ligaments and unsubsidized diagnostic tests and arthroscopic surgeries is enough to make a man really ponder the merits of a little national health care.

For now, however, I am left with the shame of knowing that I'm shambling around the outrageously hilly city of Hong Kong on a bum ankle because of a skip gone terribly terribly wrong. Today I am a man. High five.

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