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My Story

Where's that rusty butter knife? Oh there it is. Goodbye cruel ... Oh, hi... I was just... Anyway, Hello! My name is Tom but some people call me Soup. That's right, Soup. Sure you've heard of me, feared me perhaps, but we'll get to that later. I'm a Ph.D. graduate student in the Computer Science Department at the University of Utah. My academic information is online so I won't repeat it here. I was born in Maryland but I am from nowhere since my father was in the Air Force. Get high in the Air Force! Or wait maybe thats... Anyway, see the world... I always have an odd number of socks and carry a pen with no ink everywhere I go (except the shower, of course, I have a large "Pen-On-A-Rope" for that). I have a question for every answer given to me. Phil Donahue and Oprah won't stop asking me to appear on their shows and housewives love me. I am known as Soup by millions of followers. My initials are TV and that has controlled my destiny from day one. People call me "The Man" but I am not sure if that is because of my being SO popular or because they don't know my name. On that bitter note, back to what I was doing -- world! Arrrrrhhhhhhh!!!

The Bionic Man

Ok, so technically I am not Bionic, but I do have two knees that have been reconstructed. More interesting perhaps is that I had the two ACL replacement surgeries only six weeks apart! But as they say, I am feeling much better now. I have had problems with the knees for most of my life. When I was 11 I played Little League football in the "Top of Texas" conference. Hell, I played quarterback, linebacker, punter, and special teams. Anyway, in one game I ran after a fumble but when my halfback picked it up I turned to block for him. That is when a defensive player struck me squarely on my right knee with his helmet. The result was a broken femur, a dislocated kneecap and an undiagnosed torn ACL. They put me in a cast for 12 weeks. The next year I was pushed out of bounds playing flag football as I was scoring a touchdown. My left knee contorted and resulted in a severely dislocated kneecap and another undiagnosed torn ACL. Recently I tore cartiledge in both knees (right one summer and left another) so I went into the doctor to have a more modern diagnoses performed. I had an MRI done for both the left knee and the right knee. I kept all the images from the left knee in case anyone was interested. Basically, they said I had bilateral disfunctional ACLs. Which is not all that common and amazed them that I had such bad knees and have played sports my entire life, even collegiate tennis. Freak.

Surgery Reports
Right: 9.8.99
As indicated in the MRI, the right knee required both ACL and cartilage repair. These images show a couple of views of the original tear. Fortunately, the tear was near enough the middle of the meniscus that it could be stiched back together. Further, it wasn't so large that it would need to be cut away. Since the tear is central, cutting away the torn area would have forced around a third of the meniscus to be removed. The second pair of images show the stiched together cartilage from both the top and the bottom. The stiches are in black and while they appear large and seperated by too much distance, the scale is just fooling you.

The ACL required replacement. This image shows that the original ACL was not normal. It twisted and was connected only by scar tissue. Even though the standard KT-1000 test showed some resistance, and possible ACL function, in the pre-surgery exam, once under anesthesia the knee showed no such resistance. It was completely disfunctional. The new ACL was built from a graft taken from the hamstring. This was the case since my knee has rather severe patella tendonitous. Taking a patella graft was out of the question.

Left: 10.20.99
The left knee did not require any cartilage or meniscus repair. This is evident in these shots of the meniscus. Notice smooth edges as well as no holes or tears. The surgeon did say there was imflamation of the cartilage, that it appeared to have been recently torn but repaired itself. (Oddly, there is still pain where the reported tear was to be from the MRI.)

The ACL, however, did require replacement. The first image shows the original ACL. It is snubnosed and connected only via scar tissue. The surgeon decided that it was disfunctional and had to be replaced. The graft was taken from the hamstring (again because of patella tendonitous). The second image shows the new ACL in place. Notice the adjacent bone to the new ACL has been shaved back. This is to allow a better path for the new ACL since the attachment points are not identical to that of the original.

Other fun medical facts

Sure, that knee story was fun, but am I just some kinda whinner? A couple of knee injuries and I cry like a baby? No, in fact here is a list of other serious injuries I have suffered through. To quote the great Gloria Gainer, I will survive.
- broke nose in tee-ball 3rd grade
- broke right knee in football 4th grade
- broke 2 ribs in football 5th grade
- dislocated knee by jumping out of bed 5th grade
- broke left knee in flag football 5th grade
- dislocate knee ridding bike 6th grade
- broke shoulder playing british bulldog 6th grade
- broke right hand in basketball 7th grade
- hyperextended knee in basketball 7th grade
- inverted metacarpel in right hand in basketball 8th grade
- had stick jammed in right knee 8th grade
- hyperextended knee in soccer 12th grade
- ankle sprain in tennis junior ugrad
- shoulder subluxation in tennis senior ugrad
- tore right knee cartilege summer 97
- tore left knee cartilege summer 99
and the list goes on...

Trips and Stories

So, do I do anything besides work and rehab? Yes, damnit. I travel. I watch movies, actually a lot of movies. But it is the travel we focus on here. A few interesting trip reports to fill your extra time. Some have pictures and all are humorous (to some degree).
- Boise Ultimate Tournament 1995
- Wendover Gamblefest 1996
- Idaho Falls 1997
- Southern Utah 1998
- Avon Ultimate Tournament 1999
- Bear River Rendezvous 2000

Quotes of Importance

"Patience is a virgin."
- Don Smith on patience

"If you can't stand the heat get outta your pants."
- HBO Movie of the Week

"Rome wasn't built as the Romans do."
- Don Smith on originality

"That's an enormous cranium, a virtual planetoid."
- So I Married an Axe Murderer

"I'm fired? You can fire someone for having squirrels in their pants?"
- Me, summer of `86 at Dairy Queen (jk)

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Last update: January 8, 2000