My Broken Rib: Day 8
One week after the event.
I’d still know something was wrong with my rib cage, but it’s much better.
Several sneezes today, but it’s great to be alive.
I can tell you that thing about pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth to stop a sneeze doesn’t work for me.
Might have a little aside here about a famous rib fracture....
I was one of "Dentists Who Tweet" at one stage – I’ve had to ease off twitter because I enjoy it too much, but while recuperating from the rib, I’d been noodling on it more than usual and was reminded of a recent anniversary of a famous rib fracture. One of the people I most enjoy following on twitter is General Chuck Yeager, who was an American military pilot for most of the middle of the last century. He’s in his 90s now and is pretty active on twitter. I read his biography about 25 years ago and a lot of what he did is covered in an excellent book by Tom Wolfe called “The Right Stuff”.
This was turned into a movie and he was played by the actor Sam Shepard in that, and Yeager
has a small cameo part in it himself. He also turns up briefly in the movie “First Man” when Neil Armstrong almost crashed his rocket plane at the start.
A couple of weeks ago was the anniversary of Yeager’s most celebrated achievement – he was the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight. And he did it with two broken ribs. A couple of nights before he was meant to fly he went horse riding but there was a co-ordination deficit between himself, the horse and a gate and as a result he was injured. He knew if he went to the doctor on his airbase, he’d be certified unfit to fly the mission so he went to a doctor away from work (Yeager says it was a vet, though I’m not certain he meant veterans association) who fixed him up quietly. He couldn’t close the door of his rocket plane though because he couldn’t move his arm to the correct position, so a colleague modified a broom handle to use as a lever and secretly left it in the plane before the mission. On the day, he climbed into the plane (which was launched from underneath a much bigger plane), closed the hatch with the broom handle and piloted the first supersonic flight. Given the pain on getting into my car, this must have been excruciatingly sore for him – I’ve seen that plane at a museum in Washington DC where the American Association of Orthodontists met last year, and it’s not much bigger than my car.