Just the other day, Mr. Calendar marked April 26th. What an auspicious day that always is in LaurieLand.
You see, this past April 26th 2011 commemorated the 20th anniversary of a nasty, nasty truck- freeway overpass-semi-dry creek bed below accident I had in 1991.
I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that it was bad and I broke 11 bones and was injured all to hell. It happened on a stretch of Interstate 10 about 35 miles outside of San Antonio. I was transported to a hospital there where I would eventually under go three surgeries in the almost three months I was a patient there. More came post hospital stay.
I will tell you that among the many bones broken were my pelvis, my sacrum (the base of my spine at the pelvis) and I had two comminuted fractures in the tibia and fibula on my right leg (comminuted means the bones were literally pulverized; sanded down. Former NFL legend, quarterback Joe Thiesmann had one, remember that game back in ’85? Well, I had two of them. Wuss!). I also broke my rigth shoulder, a few ribs, shattered my nsoe to bits and lost about a quarter inch of lip. In addition, I broke by ankle mortis, the little bony box thing that comprises the ankle. These, coupled with other injuries meant I had to lie in a bed, encased in this pelvic sling thing…a strong piece of material of some sort that was suspended from a bar above my bed. It stabilized my pelvis and gently squeezed it together. My doctors chose to go that route because my leg breaks required a full leg cast from butt to toe. It was in my best interest across the board to remain in bed and immobilized.
And believe me, I was. I couldn’t move. I only had my left arm freeand my left leg, but that combo did me no good. So, in order to attend to the specific things that doctors and nurses must do for proper patient care, I had to remain naked from the waist down. A single sheet covered my legs and was funneled through the pelvic traction device, to cover my upper torso. I was naked on the bottom, but clothed on top.
I hate hospital gowns, so my mother bought me these hip looking T-shirts (well, “hip” in my mother’s mind. One said “Benny Goodman Rules” and another one read, “23-Skidoo, Bitches!!”). She then cut them up the back so with all my injuries they could be put on or removed with relative ease.
For three months, I lived in a world of intense pain, uncomfortable plaster casts, horrible food, lousy TV and that nasty hospital smell that still permeates my olfactory system’s memory banks.
Birth, death. Illness, wellness. Each has a smell and they smell like hospitals.
Anyway, my friends and colleagues in Houston would come to visit me frequently and let me state here that TV and radio types, they can be …oh what’s the word? Uh…it’s uh…it’s….Oh yes, assholes.
They are loud, bombastic, ballsy, in-your-face, unfiltered and few possess any semblance of social boundaries.
But I love ’em!!
One gentleman friend in particular came calling one Saturday afternoon. Steve was cute, smart, funny, the consummate definition of a lusty, skirt chasing heterosexual man. He loved women and I constantly served as his chief counsel when it came to the opposite sex. I was often his “wing woman”, in fact. He didn’t need me though. The ladies loved him and he loved the ladies.
Anyway, he appeared in the doorway of my hospital room with flowers in hand and immediately announced, “Get out of that bed, Faker!!! You look like shit!!”, which is Broadcasting code for, “while I care about you, you’re in that bed, in pain, battered and bruised and this isn’t our usual dynamic, therefore I’m not at all comfortable with this situation, so I’ll attempt to diminish these feelings with a failed attempt at inappropriate humor.”
He sat down in a chair beside the bed and we made small talk at first, then he asked for details as to what happened. I conveyed what I remembered and then went into depth about all the procedures and indignities I’d endured up to that point. He sat there, listening with a rather pained expression on his face.
Minutes later, he obviously felt the need to lighten the mood, so he stood up and demanded, “Now, let’s see that cast. It needs my signature!”. And when he did, he yanked the sheet before I could say a word and there I was….lying there with my leg cast and everything else exposed to the elements.
Nothing was said. My naked pudendum said it all. And with the volume amped up to 11.
He just stared at my naked pelvic area in an its hirsute triangulated glory and I stared at him, staring at my naked pelvic area. The silence was deafening; he was in shock; I dare say, he was traumatized; his face was contorted. He was seeing his very platonic female friend in a whole new and unfortunate light.
I was mortified.
Well, what felt like a millennium later, he dropped the sheet, completely crimson-faced. I knew I had to say something to shatter the awkwardness, but the only thing I could muster was a question.
I asked, “So tell me, how do you like my impersonation of Lincoln?”
He didn’t miss a beat and replied, “It was good, but as presidents go, I thought it was a fairly decent portrayal of Bush!”
UPDATE: Steve and his life partner, Ron have been together for eight years now!!