Laugh or Cry

We used to joke that every time we went to the beaches of Naples on vacation, it was Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. A few few episodes of man-eating sharks and our kids began to think maybe we should have went to Disney instead of the Gulf. But we kept on going, kept on playing in the water and I can happily report that after about 30 plus visits, so far so good!shark

I haven’t seen Shark Week in a while, but I have dubbed this last week of March as “Disaster Week.” After writing my last blog, bragging on how I felt this would be a good riding year, the forces of the Universe decided to knock me down a peg or two by reminding me that there are a lot of things out of my control.

The first two events that happened last week are not funny at all. No humor here. They are, in fact, tragic. My mother was scheduled for a serious surgery the 26th of March. My wife followed me up to Indy so she could return to home after the surgery. About 3 miles from the hospital, in 4 lane, rush hour traffic on I65, dark and raining, a semi-truck merged right onto the road. He kept on merging over into our lane. I saw him come behind me, between my wife and I. At least that’s what I thought happened. But a mile or so up the road, I noticed a large distance between myself and the vehicles behind…and no Lori. A few seconds later I received a panic call from Lori. The semi had came into her lane, sideswiped her, sent her spinning into the other lane and eventually off the road.

Thankfully she was not injured, but very shook up. I had to drive 3 more miles to exit, then back before I could get to her. It was the longest 15 minute drive of my life. We waited 30 minutes for a police officer. He turned out to be one of the rudest people I have ever met. I have a lot of respect for the job a police officer does. I know there is a lot of stress and pressure. I don’t know what this young man had been going through, but he was so rude that he made my wife cry…which made me very angry.

The car was drivable, so Lori followed me to the hospital. Mom went through the various procedures with little complication, however, a pacemaker was added to the list of needs. She spent the better part of  6 hours back in OR. Things went well…until they didn’t. She was recovering in her room when I went to check on her. As I stepped through the swinging doors to the critical care unit, I heard over the loudspeaker, “Code Blue, 3rd Floor…room 3202.” Mom’s room. As I pushed into the CCU, at least 10 people stood at her door and immediately looked at me. A nurse came to me, held me back. I understood I needed to stay out of the way, so I let her lead me back to the waiting room so we could talk to my sister. 30 minutes went by as the team worked hard to save my mother. It was not possible. We lost her.

My mother was quite a woman and one day soon I will write about her life, but not today. We eventually came back to Mom’s house and began all the preparations that one must make. Then more crisis struck home. But that’s enough depressing information for one blog. Disaster Week was in full swing.

Eventually, after the funeral, I came back to Louisville. I decided to ride one of my motorcycles the next day. I rode back to Bloomington, both for some stress relief and to take care of some business there. When I got home, I parked my bike in front of the garage. Later in the day I decided I better put it up. Now, we have been renting a condo here for the past couple years. It only has a 1 car garage and I have it pretty well packed with motorcycles and coffee stuff. I rolled the bike in the garage and, well, I’m not sure what happened. I thought I had the kickstand down. It either got caught and folded a little or something; all I know is as I set the bike on it’s side, it just kept coming. It fell on me, and because of the small space, pinned me against the wall. I jerked my left leg up and out to keep from getting it caught or crushed and that’s when I felt it…a sharp pain tearing up the back of my leg. I knew instantly it was bad.

I tried to walk on it and couldn’t. The pain was excruciating. The kind that brings tears to your eyes if you try to ignore it. The kind that makes you scream and curse. I hopped and crawled to the door into the house and yelled for my daughter. She came, looked at me and asked if she should call 911. I told her I would be fine. I just needed to get the bike back upright. Now, my daughter is about 5’2″ and maybe 95 lbs on a good day. She isn’t going to be picking up any motorcycle. And I couldn’t even stand up, so I knew I wasn’t going to be doing it. Fortunately, one of my friends and coworkers, lives across the street. I called Dan and he came over and picked up the bike for me. By that time I had crawled into the living room and was on the floor. I’m sure Dan got a kick out of that!

As it turned out, and as you can guess, I pulled/tore my hamstring. And if you have done that before then you know it hurts like Hell. I have been on crutches since last Wednesday. My days have consisted of lying on the couch, sitting on the couch or in a recliner, sleeping, watching more TV than I have watched in my entire life and slowly going insane. I tend to fall on the hyperactive side. I don’t sit well. I get very restless quickly. My wife is waiting on me hand and foot. She has learned how to make my oatmeal and coffee. She has had to help me get in and out of the tub (I couldn’t stand in the shower so I had to use the tub…which I also hate!). She has had to help me get dressed. She has brought me drinks and food and phones and laptops and iPads. She has been so kind and patient…and I can’t stand it! I do not like to be waited on. One of the things I hated most about being a manager is telling people to do things I could have done myself.

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. I spent it on the couch in pain. Lori spent it waiting on me. How romantic! While running an errand, she called me to check in. I said, “I’m going to hobble outside with a big glass of bourbon and a cigar.” She said, “Go for the bourbon, but no cigar!” I told her I thought I had “earned it.” I did neither…it wasn’t worth the trip.

It has been so crazy this past week that Lori and I have just looked at each other and…laughed! Plenty of stuff happened that’s not funny on any level, but sometimes you have to make a choice: laugh or cry. We did our share of crying: might as well laugh. Oh, I almost forgot; my oldest daughter was trying to help a little boy get his dog and she fell and fractured her ankle. She lay on the asphalt calling for help and finally crawled home. Stubborn runs in the family. But wait! That’s not all; the company I work for caught on fire Friday and one of the buildings turned into a 6 alarm fire…welcome to “Disaster Week.”

Later,

Shep

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