First, I'm impressed with this site as so many others are. The information is practical, useful, relevant and user-friendly.
Second, I have two questions (uhm, well, sets of questions):
1. When retrieving bone fragments in the spinal canal, what happens to the central spinal fluid? Is that a pressurized area? Does the fluid regenerate itself/re-pressurize? How does that happen? (I was an EMT nearly 20 years ago for ski patrol and I recall some anatomy, but I'd like to know what happens here.)
2. How long can I expect to be out of it from a C7 ACDF/allograph/Atlantis plate on C6/7? What I mean by that is how long will I be down? I intend to fully comply with Dr orders on rest, but I'd like to know approximately what to expect. Ie- when can I get back to my computer to do some work and post here again?
Third, I apologize for the length of this message, but I'm cutting and pasting a memoir I wrote about to some friends that explains why I'm here.
I have been asked by several to explain why this 38 year old broke his neck playing “old man baseball” (as some have affectionately called it).
Before I get into that, let me say that this has been a humiliating event. Not only because of the fact that it happened, but I feel like a dog with one of those cone collars that’s been cutoff from licking himself… Here’s what happened:
We were in a baseball (not softball) playoff game Saturday afternoon and I was playing left field. We were in the third inning, down by a run, the other team was at bat and they had a guy on 2nd base. The player up to the plate had a good swing so I had taken a few steps back, knowing that he could drive one deep. Sure enough, he did.
I crossed over to my right and ran back on a hard hit ball that was about to carry over my head. Given its trajectory and the speed at which it was headed out to left field, I never checked to see where the left field fence was.
I tracked the ball in full sprint until it was just about to pass over my head. I lifted my left arm and grabbed the ball with my glove. With the ball firmly in the glove, my arm propelled me in a horizontal diving position towards the fence.
I felt like a road runner, with my body basically horizontal, with one leg at a time touching the ground. Except I had no rudder and I was headed for what would have been a dive slide had the fence not been there. Trying to gain balance, I took no more than two steps, one of which was on the grass and the other on the warning track.
The outfield fence was approaching faster than I could avoid it. It has a large sign on it in remembrance of Frank Sollecito Jr., an outstanding kid we played against in high school who spent a lot of time at that park before he passed away of leukemia at an early age.
Time froze as I instinctively threw my right arm up and spearheaded the fence with the top of my head, hand and elbow. I heard the loud smack of hard plastic slats woven in a chain link fence and internal crunching within my head and neck that retrospectively make me feel queasy.
I’m not sure what happened after the initial collision. Our shortstop and center fielder say I dropped like a rag doll.
All I know is I landed looking straight up at the sky with my back, right arm and both legs lying flat on the warning track surface. My left arm, with the ball still firmly in the glove, remained in the air.
Unfortunately, the center-fielder-to-short-to-catcher relay after grabbing the ball out of my glove didn't work out. The runner at second scored (jerk). Neither did the score for our team. I found out later that we lost decisively, despite my attempts to rally our team with the "thumbs up" from the ambulance parked in left field just before leaving...
But, I remain lucky, blessed and exhilarated knowing the speed, angle and compression of the collision. I've been granted another chance. And, after all, I made the catch.