No Bones about it…The longest first date and how I morphed into a Voice Over Talent ….
So I left off as I was being whisked off to Victory Memorial Hospital. It’s now called Vista Medical Center East, but Victory was THE hospital in it’s day. I actually worked there as a candy striper (a hospital volunteer) when I was 16 doing medical transcriptions. Yes, the white shirt with the red pinstripe skirt with suspenders. I’m sure I have a picture somewhere….Anyway I digress…
The ambulance blaring, we arrived at the hospital which was just down the street. They pull in and I get wheeled into the emergency room with of course my leg still deformly bent. I guess in the time it took to pick me up off the ground and transport me, they got ahold of my parents and they had already made phone calls and met me down at the hospital (it was only a couple miles from our house). I recall my mom telling me that she was getting ready for bed and then said to herself she had to pick me up, but then shook that off since I was not living at home. She continued to get into bed when the phone rang to tell her about my accident. Freaky eh?
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Mom and Dad were in the service and they had several contacts in the medical field from the Great Lakes Naval Hospital (also no longer in existence). A friend of theirs was a local orthopaedic surgeon from the Navy and they called him to meet them at the emergency room. Dr Gregg Moga, he took GREAT care of me, but I’ll tell ya, that first meeting was tough. I remember him coming into the room and while looking at my xrays said, “Well, we’ll have to straighten this out” and with that he grabbed the toes of my injured leg and yanked it straight. My 2nd blood curdling scream of the evening. Then they took me right into surgery since the car that hit us broadside and totaled Michaels Yamaha (no, I was NOT on a Harley Davidson this time… Hmmm maybe that’s why?) had caught me in the left knee and severed the patellar tendon, so they had to go in right away to reattach the tendon before it fully receded into the muscle. Surgery #1.
Now, due to the swelling and multiple breaks, they couldn’t fix the bones right away, they had to let the swelling go down before they could set the bones. The overall result of the accident was a fractured hip, compound fracture of the femur (that puppy tore right thru my jeans!), severed patellar tendon/cracked knee and damage to my ankle. All in all, not too bad considering I had no helmet (not real popular back in the 70’s…we were “free spirits”), flip flops resulting in a small cut on my toe BUT I did have a leather coat on and thank goodness I did….I must have slid when I hit the ground and that wore a hole through that jacket at the elbow. There is a small scar, but nothing like it would have been had I just been wearing the tank top I had on underneath! I do recall the EMT’s thinking I had a head injury since they saw blood behind my ear, but that was from Michael when he tried to move me. I must have instinctively tucked and rolled since I didn’t hit my head at all!
Ok, now I’m out of surgery, leg in traction to keep the bones in line till the next surgery and I’m not able to get up or out of bed. One week later, they took me into Surgery #2. I ended up with a hip screw, 3 plates in my thigh and 19 wood screws! I was in the hospital for 3 weeks which at 20 years old is a lifetime. Michael ended up with a cut chin (probably hit on the handle bars) and a lower left leg that was pretty much crushed. Multiple pins if I remember correctly.
Now for the reason I say this was the longest first date. I was in the hospital with Michael for about 3 weeks. He would come in and visit me in my room and actually taught me how to play backgammon during our time spent in the hospital together. I probably would have dated him a few more times after our country ride on the bike had the accident not happened, but getting to know him during those 3 weeks made me realize we were good friends, but it wouldn’t go any further. Not really a fun way to find that out tho!
The girls on my softball team came to visit and gave me the game ball which they all signed for me. I’m thinking I was a team captain plus I was the first baseman, so it was really special for me. I still have that softball somewhere. Guess who I am in the attached picture! Sorry for the quality, but this is “pre” digital age. When we had to wait for developing…
I was finally able to go home with a full leg cast. During my stay, Mom and Dad would bring me some of my favorite foods; fried shrimp from Hillside Seafood in Waukegan (yes, long gone) mmmmm they had the best at that seafood market. They’d bread it and then fry it up fresh, put in a paper bag and then Mom would deliver it. She hated it tho going in to get it. The place was a fish market and whew… a VERY strong smell of raw fish that did not sit well with her! But she weathered the smell to bring me the shrimp. She was the bestest Mom….
Now another favorite was the Seafood restaurant Mathon’s in Waukegan. Yes, another great restaurant that bit the dust several years ago. They had great breaded fried shrimp and the owner was touted as the purveyor of finest fish in the area AND a prognosticator of weather based on the fish. I don’t know if it was true and if he actually predicted the weather, but it was their “hook”. His son Johnny took over after he passed away, but didn’t carry on the forecasting tradition with the fish.
Well, the day I was coming home from the hospital, Dad had the idea to stop before we headed home to have lunch at Mathon’s. We went in to eat; me on crutches, Mom and Dad. Well in hindsight, probably not the best idea since I was pretty weak and as you might expect, about midway through lunch I started to feel it. Queasy, lightheaded and extremely tired from the exertion. I tried to stand up and quickly sat back down, so Dad and Johnny carried me out. It was rather comical. Dad had the right side of me and Johnny the left with the cast and all the while Dad is stepping on Johnny’s feet as they’re carrying me out to the car. It’s a wonder they didn’t drop me. Anyway, we finally made it home and into bed I went.
I mentioned that I had moved out of the house prior to this accident and had a little apartment about 3 blocks from my folks house. It was a cute little basement apartment which was SOOOO illegal, but I didn’t pay attention to that. You’d walk into the mechanical room from outside, and walk through a hollow core door to my apartment. The furnace was right outside my door and when you walked in it was right into my bedroom. Tough having dates come over as they walked right into the bedroom and I was not THAT inviting! LOL That was the only entrance and I guess they didn’t worry about fire hazards at the time, cause there was no way out if there was a fire. Anyway, while I was in the hospital, Mom had gone over and packed up all my things and moved me home.
Next installment… the following 2 years of crutches and canes and what I discovered…