Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Owned by the Manhole

Late on Saturday afternoon, I was heading out to my car. I park in a spot in the alley behind my apartment building, so I walk down a gangway out back. In the middle of the gangway is a manhole. Manhole covers are generally sealed shut.

This manhole cover looked like no exception (and I've walked down this gangway hundreds of times).

But on this particular Saturday, the manhole cover was not secured in place. As I walked down the walkway, I stepped on the edge of the cover, and discovered the looseness.

(I've recreated the scene here, though in reality, I stepped with my left foot, not my right.)

So as I stepped on the cover, it flipped up and I basically fell through the manhole, though not my whole body. My body dropped down as my left leg dropped in to the hole. The left side of my ankle scraped the edge of the manhole, causing immediate searing pain, but that was nothing compared to the next pain. As my body dropped, the manhole cover was now vertical, and the full weight my body dropped down onto it. The edge of the upturned metal disk rammed into my inner thigh just above and behind my knee. The rush of pain made me collapse, so my left leg continued to drop into the manhole, while on the right side, my shin crashed down on to the rim of the hole. I screamed in pain and fell face forward onto the pavement. My shin felt like it had been crushed, but the worst pain was in my left leg (which was still down the manhole). I lay on the ground swearing at full volume, almost crying . I managed to turn over onto my back and extricate my leg from the hole. But the pain was some of the worst I have ever felt. (And in retrospect I realize how lucky I was that my manhole cover that I was basically straddling crashed into my thigh. That could have turned out much worse.)

I slowly stood up and determined to my relief that nothing was broken. I made it back up to my apartment, took off my now muddied jeans to look at my injuries. I could immediately tell that these were the kind of bruises that would get worse with time.

I got my camera to document the scene, just in case I needed to file a claim against my building management if I had to go to the doctor.

And here's what the manhole looked like after the incident:

Not very safe.

I spent the evening resting and icing my leg, but the swelling could not be stopped. On Sunday, here's what my leg looked like. The pink line down the middle of the bruise is a scrape. The dark purple spot is where the edge of the manhole cover hit me. You can definitely see how swollen my leg was, and the swelling made it hard to move my leg, especially to bend it.

So that was after one day. After two days, my bruise was so swollen and discolored that my leg looked like a purple manatee. It was pretty foul, as well as excruciating:

That's one for the Christmas card.

Now it has been three full days, and the swelling has gone down a lot. The bruise is still all kinds of funky colors, but the pain is subsiding.

So yeah, I fell into a manhole, something that I thought only happened in cartoons. Next up: falling anvils.



At 11:00 PM, Blogger Johnny B posited...

Ouch. Pizza time?

Feel better soon, JDub.

At 1:08 AM, Blogger scott w posited...

Who will be named in the civil suit? The city of Chicago?

At 4:12 PM, Anonymous DAD posited...

When you get hit in the head by a falling anvil, we would like to see videos -- not these i-phone stills.

At 8:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous posited...

Sue the city. You will be Oprah rich.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger Jason posited...

Watch out for banana peels.

At 11:25 PM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

Cut to the chase. Sue Oprah to become Oprah rich.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger matt posited...

Damn that Wile E. Coyote.

At 4:46 AM, Blogger Furious Wagon posited...



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