That one time I broke my neck or something

by Ben

I have been to the hospital 517 times in my life. One time everyone thought I had diabetes because I lost 20% of my body weight in a month and I had to pee in a jug for twenty-four hours for the tests. I didn’t have diabetes and the tests were inconclusive, which is a central thesis to my story -whenever I get around to telling it. I am convinced the sudden weight loss was due to my jovial use of beer as a 3x-a-day meal supplement and frequent incidences where I poked my head out of the window in my residence hall and vomited. I think that’s called ‘bulimia by intoxication,’ and I had to drop my neuroscience class that term because the professor called me a ‘drunk idiot’ and told me to ‘stop reading so far ahead in the book and ruining [his] lectures.’ I was simply too awesome for him and too smart and everyone loved me and so I chose instead to leave the psychology college altogether and switch to communications. Now I write on the internet and masturbate at least twice a day.

So now that you have a little background on me, I’ll set the scene.

No, that’s boring. I’ll just get right to it.

It all began like this, when I somehow got tricked into going out to eat with my ex’s friends before I had to work. I was gainfully employed overnight, doing manual labor things like a man while university was on break.

When I was asked an hour later why I wasn’t ready to go, I provided a blank look then hurriedly put on something decent (I carefully avoided asking what I was getting ready for). I forget where we actually ate, but none of that is important and mostly it went something like this:

Ex: Where should we eat?

Me: Somewhere with burgers.

Friends: We want big salads and bread and nothing with meat at all!

Ex: Let’s go get salads!

Me (internal monologue): I hope I get run over by a zebra.

It was evening, so the sun was in that pissy stage where no matter how you are positioned in relation to it, there is always a lance of light ready to stab you in the retinas. This is important. We were awarded a coveted window booth for our party of four, which would normally be great because then I could stare blankly out the window and ignore what everyone else was talking about, because they were all boring and liked to converse about things which had nothing to do with beer, how to react in case there was a zombie invasion and space velociraptor attack at the same time, or the geometry of breasts.

Unfortunately for me, as will soon become evident, it was still evening by the time we all sat down and ordered food. The current situation was thus:

As the sun got lower and lower, it began to shine directly into the window behind me.

One of the ex’s friends asked me to close the blinds so they could continue to babble on about their salads or tampons or boyfriends or whatever it was they were talking about. Thankful for any task to occupy my time, I turned around and bent over the back side of the booth. I had to stretch my arm as far I could to reach the cord.

When I had stretched and strained as hard as I could without farting or pooping a little, something happened in my neck.

It was so loud, so violent that everyone at the table heard it. I had no idea what was going on, though I felt nothing at all, not even a pinch. The snap had clearly come from my neck area, and something had clearly happened which wasn’t supposed to. But since it didn’t hurt, everyone forgot about it after a few seconds of me being the focus of attention. They went back to their prattle and I returned to imagining them all naked and making out.

By the time the meal was over, a little bit of pain was going around in my neck, but I ignored it because I am a man and no one ever died from a little pain in their neck.

We got back and everyone wanted to play Wii for a bit, and I still had about an hour before work. Unfortunately, within twenty minutes of sitting on the couch, my neck had been overcome by a wave of pain not unlike being kicked in arm by a horse. If, you know, that’s ever happened to you. And your arm is in your neck.

I was immediately alarmed, obviously, since the pain was accompanied by the inability to move my neck more than about twenty degrees in any direction. In a panic, I phoned my mother who told me to meet her at the hospital at once, because ‘you don’t fuck with neck injuries’ (paraphrased). Since I am extremely smart and capable and am also a man, I knew that I could drive very easily to the hospital and it would be perfectly safe and in no way wasn’t the best idea.

Proving once and for all that I am right about everything, this turned out to be true.

I went into triage after only a “short” wait.

When the nurse took my blood pressure, the top number was 207 and the bottom number I forgot because the top number was so high and I thought I was going to die.

Me: Am I going to die?

Nurse: High BP is normal for people in a lot of pain.

Nurse (what I heard): You will be paralyzed in ten minutes.

As she kept doing tests and poking me with sharp objects, I couldn’t help but imagine all the things I hadn’t got around to doing yet. My young life was over and I hadn’t even gotten to…


or even

…so naturally my blood pressure went even higher and I absolutely started panicking. No one else seemed to think it was a big deal, even though I couldn’t move my neck at all at this point. My ex started sending me messages, but they didn’t help much.

Ex: Are you OK???????

Me: I am dying and also I will be paralyzed soon.


Me: I guess you’re on top forever now.

Ex: OMG I’M SO SORRY!!!!!!

Me: I’m going to go be paralyzed now ttyl.

Ex: OMG I’M SO SORRY!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Eventually I was put on the fast track (even though I was already in the emergency department and one would think I my condition would be treated as such) and got in to see the backup emergency surgeon. I saw the backup emergency surgeon because the normal emergency surgeon was out sick that night. The backup emergency surgeon reminded me a lot of Demi Moore, except without the chin, she had brown hair, and was ugly(er).

After six hundred x-rays and an hour of back-and-forths because the x-ray techs kept messing up, the backup emergency surgeon came in and told me

and then that was it. I got a big bottle of hydrocodone and was told to go home and lie down. I couldn’t move my neck at all, my heart was beating fast enough to knock out a dwarf, and all she could say was that ‘I probably tore a ligament or something.’

So I went home and took the proper amount of hydrocodone -because I always follow instructions and prescription medications are dangerous and should be handled with care- and had a terrible time.

Just kidding.

The end.