Daily Archives: March 25, 2019

BACK to the Grind

Man 1: “Do you like Kipling?”

Man 2: “I don’t know. I’ve never kippled.”

My dad was fond of telling that old joke when I was growing up. In reality, I like some of Kipling’s work. The Just So Stories come to mind. But the focus on Kipling was not why I repeated it here. I opened Facebook this morning and saw a picture of my father (with my mom and me) and for some reason I thought of that line. Still that joke must have made an impact on me. Every now and then my son will turn to me and ask: “Daddy, do you like… Kipling?” We both laugh like little kids.

Where were we my faithful follower? Ah yes, I broke my back. I don’t want to beat a dead horse. That wouldn’t be fair to the horse and simply a desecration of its body. But this is significant. First, it hurts. Second, it really hurts. Finally, it hurts a lot.

Let’s get caught up, shall we?

Determined to do hard things I realized that lifting heavy weights wasn’t enough so I started doing bizarre gymnastics-like things called calisthenics then my wife went out of town and I gave in to the whims of my children and, having prayed to share in the Passion of Christ, did a frontal flip on a trampoline at the age of 41 with two spinal fusions under my belt (literally), and broke my back. This was followed up with a visit to an urgent care facility wherein two pit bulls had been shot and killed by police earlier in the day after mauling their owner to death. That sound about right?

In my last post I quipped that I must be pretty tough that I went almost 24 hours without treating it before being seen. You see, although I probably get my love of dad jokes from my dad (go figure) I think I definitely get my grit (if you can call it that) from my mom. I still vividly remember her when I was a child and a fall from a second story window in a house fire had left her in traction for weeks. She willed herself to get out of that hospital because, as she said: “I had kids at home to take care of. What was I gonna’ do? Lie there forever?”

Do you like him?

This morning I walked into my classroom and was greeted by 18 of the happiest faces you could hope to see at 8:45 in the morning. They rose to their feet (as they always do, they’re very polite) and said good morning. Then, having already heard through the grapevine that I was injured they began asking with mouths wide open how it was possible that I was with them. I told my story.

Then it was on to my senior class who literally bowed down for me when I came in. They informed me that two of their classmates were out sick because they “didn’t feel well today”. They then told me they would be texting those two to inform them the the “legend” (their teacher) was a machine, a beast, and the most incredible human being they’d known because he didn’t let no broken back stop him from getting to work.

“Kids,” I said, “I had to demonstrate my toughness for you.” It’s an old teacher trick.

The juniors were last and just as mystified as to my presence. “Kids,” I said, “Who else was going to come in here today and have as much fun with you as me?” They appreciated my being there as much as I appreciated their presence. One of them in particular, an athlete, picked up on my fear of getting soft over the next few weeks. He offered me some advice on exercises I could do and diet tricks to keep in mind during the time when I wouldn’t be able to lift. Nice young man.

Back to the doctor’s office on Saturday, the doctor who came in to speak with me after looking at my X-ray asked me “Do you, um, like, do you lift weights or anything?” I gave a bit of a smirk, nodded my head, and said “Yes, yes I do.” “That’s what I figured,” she said. “It probably saved you.” She had just spoken with the neurologist on the phone because she was concerned with where the break was. It seems that a break like mine could easily have left my paralyzed but for my brute physical strength and charm. I tossed the “charm” in there for fun. But really, being in decent shape allowed me to thrust myself out of the dangerous position I was in and I’m glad that I can see a payoff for all the hours in the gym.

Tonight I’m back out making pick-ups and deliveries as part of my courier job. I’m hoping none of the parcels tonight are particularly heavy but as I previously stated “for everything else, there’s Percocet.”

I think Dad would be proud. I didn’t let a little thing like a broken bone get in the way of continuing to do what I need to do for my family. He taught me well. And Mom? Do I even have to ask? I think she’s probably wondering why it’s even a thing. After all, if memory serves, she broke several vertebrae in that fall. She’s probably reading this and thinking “When’s he gonna’ shut up about it? It was one bone!”

And my kids? Well, one day we’ll determine if we actually like Kipling.

A Complete Idiot to Whom Bizarre Things Happen…

First, I am so very thankful for all the prayers that have poured out from faithful readers. An all-too-common motif over the past ten years I’ve been writing this blog has been to refer to my “loyal readers” and then to add parenthetically “both of you”. But the truth is that somewhere around a thousand people have ultimately subscribed to these pages. And of those people, many have sent me messages and texts of support and prayer. I am most appreciative and I will offer my rosary for you today.

For those of you who took the time to read the long-ish previous two stories I posted you will remember that I broke my back trying to both be a good dad/husband/man and trying to transform my body into something resembling a statue of Adonis but with clothing and not marble.

You may also recall that I have said in the past that strange things just seem to happen to me. My visit to the urgent care for the spinal X-ray was no exception.

When I finally decided to head over to the office it was Saturday afternoon around 3:30. It’s only a few miles across town and I have been to this office before when I broke a few ribs about a year ago. Come to think of it, I’m starting to see myself as somewhat of a pretty tough guy what with all the broken bones and then still carrying on and doing “hard things”. I pulled into the parking lot and immediately noticed two police cruisers parked with a few officers milling about. I thought this a little odd. The building where the orthopedic care center is located houses one additional tenant, that being a veterinarian’s office. The entrance to the vet’s office is slightly around the corner from the front entrance (the door to the doctor’s office).

I entered the building, checked in, and took a seat in the waiting room. After about a half-hour I took my phone out. Looking for something to occupy my time I figured I’d catch up on the local news. I opened an app and did a quick double-take. The picture at the top of the app was the building wherein I was sitting. I read the headline but it didn’t really make sense. I turned the phone toward the receptionist and asked “Did something happen here earlier?”

“Is it on the news already?” she asked.

Here’s the story…

One week earlier a couple of pit bull terriers had bitten someone. Those two dogs had been placed under quarantine and that quarantine was being carried out at this vet’s office. Earlier in the day the dogs’ owner had come by to feed and play with her dogs. The staff in the vet’s office had allowed her to head out back to a fenced in area in order to have “play time” with her pups. And then around 11:45 AM as the office was preparing to close for the day it became apparent that the owner had not been heard from in a while. Stepping out into the outdoor pen the worker discovered a terrifying scene. The woman was lying unconscious and covered in blood. The dogs were snarling. Mind you, I heard all of this from the receptionist in the doctor’s office. The fire department was called out to offer medical assistance. Unfortunately, firemen could not get near the woman as the dogs were still unhinged.

I feel it imperative to state that this is not made up in any way.

The police were summoned. True to form for Texas, the officers responded and promptly shot and killed both dogs. Paramedics retrieved the woman. According to my source the paramedics were performing CPR on the dogs’ owner as they loaded her into the ambulance. As of the time I left the office an hour later there had been no further update. I later came to find out that the woman was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital.

I don’t even know what to make of any of this. Sure, it’s bizarre and I’m used to things like this happening in my general sphere. But this one was just too bizarre.

Say a prayer for the woman. God rest her soul.