Bye Bye Miss American Pie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

Bye Bye Miss American Pie.. February  made me shiver with every paper I delivered... Bad  news on the doorstep.. I couldn't take one more step..
"The Day the Music Died "
It's rather funny, but the Don McLean classic song ran through, my head when the foot surgeon took a red Sharpy and drew a red line around my right calf..
"You have to make a decision..." said the surgeon giving me a matter of fact look..
"What do you mean doctor?" I asked him, already knowing the answer..
"When the redness reaches that Sharpy line.. You have to decide to get your leg amputated or die.."
That was the day my friends, my life changed... You never really think about losing a part of your body... I know I never did... You hear about soldiers in Nam and Iraq and Afghanistan losing a limb in combat... But you never would think you would lose your's because of your own stubbornness and stupidity... But I did just that... And so the story goes..
"A Long Long Time Ago.. I Can Still Remember..."
In the summer of 2004 I cut the bottom of my right foot..Being of the male species and a drinking man...I figured I had self healing powers and everything would heal by itself... just take a few more of those little green pain pills with my friend Budwseiser and I would be good as new...
The young doctor in Mt Diablo Emergency asked me how I got to the ER? I drove my Bronco I told him..."What do you think? Antibiotics and go home.. I'm working tomorrow.."
"You won't be working for a while.." he said, trying not to look me in the eye.."We're sending you to Kaiser Main to handle this problem...
Waking up and seeing a bandage wrapped stump where your foot was several hours before is a strange sensation.. The pain MEDs held the future pain at bay .. I was drugged up, but in my heart, I was scared.. Worried..
 Who would take care of my brother Randy? Why didn't I see the doctor a long time ago? What woman will want a man with one leg? All these thoughts were racing through my mind as I stared at that bandaged stump...
On my nightstand  was a card from the gang at my favorite watering hole plus a vase of flowers from my job.. Get Well Soon..yeah right..
You really don't know how many friends you have till your in a bad way...Karen brought me Joe Boxer shorts {still wear em..} I guess she knew what I looked like in the hospital gown Lol...
Using a bedpan can be a challenge.. Peeing in a urinal a trick you learn.. Especially at night.. You don't like to bother your nurse with your call light...
You try to read all the books your reading pals have dropped off and you know from the calls you get how much your thought of.. But that damn stump is still there when you close your eyes at night and still waiting for with you when you wake up..
What will become of me? Will I be in a wheelchair ? How will I live?  So many questions? No answers....
"Bayberry... It's Not Mayberry.. A Learning Experience "
"Will be sending you to a nursing home in the next step of your  recovery.."
Have you ever noticed how many things in life have that word "Step" in them..  Step ladder.. Porch steps.. Stair steps. .Stepping stone... .. Two feet needed  to take your next step;!!! 
Now about beds..the bed in my room at Bay Berry Convelesant was a soft comfy bed..So comfy I didn't want to leave it..Untill the day the shadow blanked out the hall light..
I was thinking about suicide..Feeling sorry for myself..You know the whine.."I only have one leg..pity me..poor crippled Bill.."
"Then I heard those threatening words..
"I'll see you in physical therapy tomorrow morning at 8 am.. don't be late.."
The shadow was cast by a therapist named  "Big Mike.."
Looked like a WWF wrestler about 6 foot 6 and tipping the scales at 280..
Who the fuck did this guy think he was ruining my pity party.. No one tells Bill Ramsay what to do..
9 am came bright and early and I was still in that comfy bed when the "Shadow" came back..
"Where were you? I've been waiting for you, Mr Ramsay your appointment was at 8 sharp.."
"I didn't feel like it..." I told him matter of factly..
"Okay, Mr Ramsay I'l just say this once.. You can lay in that bed... Feel sorry for yourself.. Be in a wheelchair the rest of your life or maybe kill your yourself,,I don't have time to waste on losers.. There are people who want my help... Enjoy your bed.."
Loser!!! Kill myself... how did he know what I was thinking?
"How do I get to therapy? "
Big Mike just gave me a look like I was a third grader..
"You wheel yourself there you only lost a leg not your arms..."
That was that..Loser huh!! I used my slider board to get in the wheelchair and followed the Shadow down the hall. Left turn.. No turning back Jack!!!
There were guy's with no legs.. Women with no arms.. Missing one.. Missing two.. They all had one thing in common... They were working out.. Sweating... Grunting.. Taking their next step in their lives...
I sheepishly looked at Big Mike..Damn the man was good..He knew once I was in the room he had me...He changed my life..
"The Shadow Knows" just like the old time radio show..
The next morning Big Mike informed to wear underwear under my shorts... Seems like when I was on the workout table my goods were hanging out the leg and the little old ladies were giggling at the show...
A big thank you to Maria Bell... The best nursing aid a patient could ask for....
"Day Tripper..One Way Rider Yeah..."
"Randy push me over the door threshold.." I begged my  brother.. "Just get me out the door..."
I had been stuck in our apartment now for two months..except for doctor visits I had to stay inside..couldn't drive.. Couldn't walk.. Couldn't shower.. I had to make my great escape.. Hit the street... FREEDOM !!!!
I had stepped over that door threshold thousands of times... Now I needed my brother to push me.. Had my pant leg pinned up and was thinking it's now or never...
I never realized how bumpy the sidewalk by my place was till that afternoon.. Tree roots and uneven concrete.. One city block and I was exhausted... My shoulders burned and I was getting blisters from the wheels...
I reached the crosswalk... Crossing 4 lanes to my destination Food Max.. Coke Zero and a Baby Ruth.."WALK" "WALK" "WALK" the sign flashed and I made 2 lanes before trouble came my way.. .I was in the third lane the sign flashing 30 seconds, when my tire got stuck in the grove....
I couldn't get out.. Pushing with my left foot didn't give  enough traction and I was really starting to panic..... Traffic was looming on my street and they take no prisoners..
Where was everyone? Surely someone would help me.. What made me think I was ready to go out alone..
The oncoming cars pulled up to the crosswalk and a few horns  blared in anger at the traffic jam starting to back up..I held my hands up in surrender hoping for a driver just to give me a push...
"Hold on I'm coming.." I heard a voice behind me shout.."Got you covered my friend."
One of the city's homeless pushing his loaded shopping cart came to my rescue.. He threw the finger to the honking cars and  one handed pushed me out of the crack and wheeled his cart with all his worldly possessions behind us across the 2 lanes to safety..
We both started laughing, sweat pouring off me...
I pulled out my wallet to give him a five spot, but he just held up his hand and flashed me the peace sign..
"Safe travels my friend.." he told me as he walked away..
Well, my friends its been thirteen years since I had these thoughts on feet.. I have a leg that works best when it's in the mood and can be a stinker when it wants to..I can amuse people by telling them I can still wiggle my toes...
I've penned this little story for 10 years, but it never seemed to get past that first step... Because of all of your support, it finally made it here..
Today is Thanksgiving and I can truly say I'm thankful to all of you my friends and family for allowing me to tell you my stories...Our stories because without you they are only words on paper...
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Trails to you.. Until we meet again...

Submitted: August 23, 2022

© Copyright 2023 William Ramsay. All rights reserved.

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I can remember, the first time I cross the street blindfolded. It was scary but, I did it. It was not by choice, it was a test from my teacher. Anyhow, thanks for sharing your story. I really did enjoy it.

Thu, September 1st, 2022 4:44am

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