Have you ever made plans and knew for certain that things were going to take place according to the way you had planned? Your plans were so perfect that it couldn’t take place any other way. The book you’d written, or photographs you had taken, were so remarkable that everyone would love them and in turn love you for thinking of them. Then you would be called upon stage to receive the Pulitzer Prize. Well … Maybe not quite that far. In fact, few people would admit to going that far, but all of us do make plans that benefit us personally, and that’s really not a bad thing on the surface. But what if there’s a monkey wrench tossed into the middle of our planning that’s going to require us to depend heavily upon the talent and willingness of those around us just to get by.

Last January I was walking my dog in front of the junior high school and slipped off the curb. I felt my left hip snap as I hit the pavement. The school was closed due to COVID-19, but there were several people who saw me fall and came to my rescue. Our dog, Molly, came and sat quietly beside me, knowing there was something wrong. One of the good Samaritans called for an ambulance while I called Judy on my cell phone. She brought the car to take the dog home while I was carted off in an ambulance, and a crazy period of life began that I’d never planned or thought would happen to me.

First of all, I have to admit I never felt a lot of pain during the whole process. How much of the pain-free process was due to my body’s ability to reject the pain or some nurse pumping drugs into my IV, I don’t know, but thank God either way. On the downside, once you’re admitted into the hospital, it’s just you and the doctors and nurses. Judy and I couldn’t see each other due to COVID-19. Conversations were over the phone. The closest we came to a real conversation was to stare through a window while talking on a cell phone.

One of the things I learned was when you break a bone your body rushes a great amount of blood to the break to start the healing process. The amount of blood depends on the size of the bone. The problem was, I lost two units of blood and began to hallucinate. I can remember not knowing where I was or what was happening. Needless to say, at this point Judy was beside herself. I do remember at one point that I thought I was in the middle of a shopping center looking for a men’s room so I could urinate. The nurses had trouble keeping me in bed, so I naturally fell out of bed. I don’t believe this helped the placement of the steel rod they inserted into my leg, but it’s good to know with the amount of steel they used, I’ll never break that hip again.

To shorten a rather long story, they finally decided my body was not going to replace the blood on its own, so they gave me a transfusion and I began to recover some sanity during the process. Judy gave the nurses a bag with extra clothing and my razor to make me feel a little more at home. I did learn the value of a good nurse during the process, and thanked God for our daughter, Debbi, who is an R.N., and our granddaughter, Lisa, who will graduate from nursing school soon. They are very good at their jobs. I was finally allowed to go home and I quickly learned the value of a good mate. Judy had not spent her time twiddling her thumbs. Our bedroom was pretty much a hospital room, with a walker, shower bench portable toilet and many other things designed to make me comfortable. The healing process has taught me the value of the words “yes, dear.” I hope none of you ever have to experience any of this. But if you do, treat the ones nursing you back to health with love and respect.

Today, I’m walking with or without a cane and have developed a pretty fair gait. The only painkillers I take are two Tyrol when needed. There are some things I believe I can do, which I don’t, because either the doctor or Judy tells me not to. But the therapist has given us the green light to attend this year’s Western Writer’s conference, so I do know my time will come.

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