Progress Report 14

Brian J. Sullivan

Recovery from my near death fall has been slow and methodical. Three times a week for approximately two hours, I spend in physical therapy. In addition, I spend many more hours each day on my own doing prescribed stretches and using different weights. And while my foot is relatively pain free, the daily grind/regiment of exercises is a pain in the ass. But I am making progress. I've now graduated to a "green" rubber-band, up from the "red." "Green" offers more resistance, and therefore more of a challenge. Whoopee-de! However, unwelcome flashbacks are occurring more frequently.

Do you all remember the 1970s, the disco craze and Lawn Jarts (the kind with the real metal points on them, the ones outlawed because of the number of impaled children)? Well, I'm beginning to feel like a Lawn Jart myself as I have "flashbacks" of my head first fall off the garage roof, thereby embedding my head into the hard ground. When I came to, I was in the emergency room looking at the mirror ball hanging from the ceiling casting flashes of light throughout the darkened room. I was wearing a 1970s polyester shirt and could hear "Saturday Night Fever" in the background. And then everything went dark.

So far my physical therapy has not been able to exorcise this "flashback." I've even gone so far as to dig out my old Lawn Jart set and my three remaining polyester Disco shirts from storage and burn them in a large bond fire at the local park. However, the only good it did was to bring the wrath of the fire department. They were not so understanding of my need to remove these items from my memory. Once they were satisfied that the conflagration was out and all the ashes cooled, they moved on. I was happy to see them go because I also had to go.

Nearby was an old fashioned outhouse. Slowly I made my way toward it, careful where I placed my crutches. I opened the spring-loaded door and used the crutch to hold it open as I scooted the rest of my body inside. The door slammed behind me. I was curious as to how deep the hole was and leaned over the stool to peer inside. However, as I did my camera slipped off my shoulder and dropped in. Way in. Way down in. I could barely make out my camera case in the darkened environment. It was way beyond my grasp. I thought for a moment, I still had my "green" rubber band from physical therapy. I tied one end onto my crutch and held the other end, giving me an extended reach of approximately 15 feet. I carefully lowered the crutch down into the hole as I flexed the industrial size rubber band hoping to snag my camera strap. After what seemed like a rather long time, I in fact did snag it and brought it up to the surface. In my mind, the camera case had become undesirable and I decided to leave it. Luckily, the camera inside the case was well protected. I hobbled back to my truck thankful for another small miracle.

On the way home I stopped to get some gas. I turned the pump on, pressed all the right buttons, and inserted the nozzle into the gas tank. I locked the handle in the "on" position and began to wash my truck windows. Believe me when I say trying to wash windows while on crutches is a real challenge. But even more frightening is hearing the sound of gas flooding out of your gas tank! As I rounded the end of my truck I could see gas running down the side of my truck and forming a mini lake on the ground. I quickly hobbled over to the raging gas nozzle, thoroughly soaking myself and my leg-cast. Now fuming, I put the gas nozzle back into the holder. On the pump, a small postage size hand written sign read: automatic shut off does not work. Gee, thanks for telling me. And at $3 for a gallon of gas, I probably left $15 worth on the ground. I drove off wondering how many times that must have happened already today.

Stopped for a red light, it happened again—another "flashback." There in a yard off to my right was a group of children playing Lawn Jarts.