Dean Bog is not missing. There is no need for a search party or a sleuthy, Headlong-style podcast to track him down.
Dean is okay — but he’s definitely been better.
For those wondering what happened to the local YouTube personality and filmmaker — who up until a few months ago was churning out a prolific and very popular stream of TV-ready content about Pittsburgh, its neighborhoods, its robots, and more — the answer is fairly mundane and, yet for Dean, incredibly painful.
Bog was rock climbing in early May at Ohiopyle State Park when he slipped and shattered his talus — a very important bone in the ankle — into “over a thousand pieces.”
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Bean Dog is down and out with a broken talus (took a fall at OhioPyle and smacked my foot on a ledge). The talus is an important little bone in your ankle that you definitely don’t want to break. This pic is my leg after the first surgery. I have another surgery next week and then I can go home and start recovering. It’s a strange time to be in the hospital and I’m grateful for all of the healthcare workers who are taking such good care of me. I’ve been recording the journey on my phone but it’s mostly just selfie footage of me in pain so I’m not sure if I’ll end up making a vid about this whole thing or not. I know folks have been wondering when I will start posting videos again. I don’t know when that will be but I plan on making videos for a long long time and promise that I will be back on the Tube before ya know it. Thank you to my loving friends for all of the support❤️
He’s undergone surgeries and been recovering while trying to figure out what comes next for him and his work as a pandemic steamrolls artists and creatives nationwide.
We spoke with Dean earlier this week about the injury, his recovery, his ketamine angel, what super-quarantine is like, and why his friends are literally the best.
Portions of our conversation follow here, edited for clarity and length.
The Incline: What on earth happened?
Dean: On May 2, I went rock climbing in Ohiopyle with a couple of friends. We were lead climbing or sport climbing, where you bring the rope up with you as you go and clip it into bolts that are already in the wall.
You fall all the time in sport climbing. I’ve taken plenty of falls and been fine. But this time I fell about 15 feet and ended up hitting the ledge before the rope caught me. My right heel took most of the impact and it completely shattered the bone in my ankle known as the talus.
The doctor said the bone shattered into over a thousand pieces and just turned to dust, essentially. They took the chunks that were still there and screwed them back together.
The Incline: This sounds awful.
Dean: One resident told me it’s one of the worst injuries they’ve ever seen and they look at broken bones at least 15 times a day. It’s really scary. Currently, I have 11 screws in my ankle and those will stay there forever. I’ve had three surgeries and hopefully won’t need any more, but there’s a definite chance that part of the bone will die and they’ll need to put a piece of my hip in my ankle. All sorts of stuff can go wrong with this, and I will likely have arthritis.
I probably won’t be a runner again — I used to consider myself a runner, but jogging might not be the best thing for me going forward.
The Incline: Can you still ride a bike?
Dean: Yes. Two days ago I biked 12 miles and felt on top of the world. Then I walked into a park and (the injury) locked up on me and I had to hop my way home.
The Incline: Have you documented any of this?
Dean: I’ve been recording most of the experience, but I’m not really thinking all that much about a video yet.
I mean, I definitely want to turn this into something. And I definitely want to continue documenting and being a part of Pittsburgh. I just don’t have a really clear picture of what the future holds right now. My whole life has been consumed by the injury.
The Incline: You’ve essentially been quarantined within a larger quarantine. What’s that like?
Bog: A day in the life is really boring. I’ll do physical therapy, make a smoothie. I’ve been learning French. I try to do 30 minutes of reading a day and 30 minutes of French. I’m also gambling in the stock market a bit and doing some gardening. I got some rockin’ tomato plants going now, which is really fun. There’s also some rosemary and mint.
The Incline: Who’s been helping you through all this?
Dean: I have an absolutely amazing doctor named Ivan Tarkin. He’s legendary. The first time I talked to him it was like talking to an angel, granted I was on ketamine and all sorts of drugs at the time.
In the hospital I watched a shit ton of “King of Queens” and then I got sent home. My friends were here in shifts living with me and doing all sorts of gross tasks like cleaning pin sites and holes where the rods entered my legs.
After having an external fixator on for seven weeks, everything feels miraculous now, like being able to sit on my fire escape and read.
The Incline: Have you heard from fans, and how can they support you?
Dean: It has died down but I did get a ton of well-wishes from people on Instagram and Patreon. The most common comment is “Where the hell are you and when is the next video coming?” which is nice to hear but also frustrating because I want to be like “I’m doing my best. I can’t walk.”
I paused Patreon payments for now, but you can still make a donation if you like my videos or want to support me being able to make more or get new equipment or pay rent. (You can find Dean’s Patreon page here.)
You can sign up for a monthly donation of $5 or $10, and it wont kick in until I start working again and turn it back on.
The Incline: Any idea when that might be?
Dean: I still can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re getting there. Day by day it feels like there’s no progress, but then I look at where I was two weeks ago.
But it’s frustrating because I felt like I had an enormous wave of momentum going (with the videos) and it feels like that was ground to halt, which it was. Hopefully by September or October I’ll be on my feet enough to ramp back up.
The Incline: We hope so, too, Dean.
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