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The dark side of the moon
  1. Robert W Tarr
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert W Tarr, Department of Radiology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, 11100 Euclid, Cleveland, Ohio, OH 44106, USA; robert.tarr{at}

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Crack, snap, pop. No, none of these words quite describes the sensation. How do you convey a sensation that you hear, feel and see at the same time? How do you describe a sensation that arises within you and yet your mind perceives it to be separate from your being? I am still not quite sure how to put that sensation into words, but I knew in that instant that my ankle was broken.

I am not writing this piece to garner sympathy from the readership, although I am certainly not too proud to accept any monetary donations you might wish to send if the spirit moves you. My intention is merely to relate my experience on the dark side of the moon—that is, my experience as a patient. While some of you may have had your own experiences in this position, up to now I had not. I had never been hospitalized nor been subjected to surgery. My recent journey has provided me with a new perspective. At times I felt like a secret agent in a spy novel accumulating information from a well-known source. At other times I felt like a helpless little boy who had got separated from his parents in the grocery store.

I was running along Lake Michigan in Chicago. It was the weekend before Thanksgiving and my wife, Cheryl, and I were visiting my son, Andy. Cheryl and Andy had planned to go shopping which I thought was a good opportunity for me to go for a run.

It was a beautiful sunny and unseasonably warm day. I decided to run a loop course. Those of you who know how directionally impaired I am would consider this to have been a good decision. However, during my journey I made a couple of decisions which …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.