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Watching Derek Jeter of the NY Yankees, former Major League Baseball League MVP, writhe on the ground in raw pain after a 220 pound catcher landed right on his shoulder blade, DISLOCATING the shoulder, brought back for me the experience of dislocating my own shoulder.

I won't go into the exact circumstances which created that moment, but let's just say it's a testament to the strength of an angry, determined person and the overall precariousness of the human musculo-skeletal structure. Now I've had a couple broken bones, a few severe ankle sprains, a severe twist of my wrist last year that put me out of commission for weeks, a moderate concussion (concrete - out for almost a minute), chronic shin splints, a ripping chest-wall injury a few years ago, etc.

All the pain felt from that stuff pales in comparison to the sheer physical nerve shock from the dislocation. I once broke both bones in my right forearm and then had the inept school nurse twisting things back and forth to make sure I wasn't "faking", and it was nasty and stunning, but totally endurable. The 45 seconds my shoulder spent out of socket was on a different plane. But the most pain I'll probably feel in my life unless I have to go fight in the war is when I managed to pop the joint BACK in.

There's nothing like trying to move your arm up and it's just HANGING there off to the side way below where it should be at a very strange angle while you're blind with pain and some dumb bitch is screaming "what the hell happened!?!".

Anyway, I did pop it back, and maybe not in the best way possible. I couldn't drive my car for at least six weeks. It wasn't the fact that it was a manual and my right arm was useless, I could deal with that with my left. No, it was the lack of power steering in that car (RX-7). No way I could maneuver it in a parking lot.

I can't believe it's been almost five years since that incident. Of course I realized a couple years ago that this is as good as it was going to get. I have to watch the way I lie on a bed or the floor, or it'll try to come out. I CANNOT throw a football or baseball, not even a tennis ball at all. I cannot make an overhand pass with a basketball, though I'm still able to shoot baskets pretty effectively. Aleve is my best friend (at prescription dosage, of course, which is two and a half tablets). There is an exercise machine in most gyms that is absolute dynamite torture for me--you sit down and try to bring two bars together with your arms and shoulders. Other arm exercises are strangely painless though.

Jeter has a long road ahead of him. That looked nasty. Good luck.

But dislocations pale themselves next to some of the injuries our soldiers are suffering in Iraq. Lower legs blown off by land mines, shrapnel to the face, run into by a pickup truck driven by some crazy suicide attacker, multiple machine-gun bullet wounds...