A very humbling experience

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 22, 2003

You’ve heard that old expression, &uot;Break a Leg.&uot; Don’t do it unless you desire a long period of near uselessness. It’s OK to have a gall bladder removed, or a bit of back surgery; body parts can go wrong over time and you can often pick when to have it repaired. The middle of January is good. But don’t, as I did, clumsily trip over an electric cord and break a hip in May. It took only a few seconds to make the journey from vertical to flat on my…hip. It’s that little round bone ball on the end of your tibia, and when it fractures you are out of commission unless you are expert at walking on one leg. They sent me home with a walker after two days in the new Louise Memorial Hospital. Now I’ve seen people use a walker before but usually they are scooting around on both feet. Try it with one and you will learn how important arm strength is. In my case, was.

From your perspective in the recliner or bed it seems miles to the bathroom, and waiting to the last moment is not a good idea. The pressure of panic sets in and you remember certain accidents when you were a little boy. Pressure is really building down below so I salute the inventor of that funny-looking portable plastic bottle. But if you ever are put in this condition, pray you are a male. And I notice that nobody – friends, family, or relatives – use my bathroom now. That rented toilet with arms is intimidating, built for the handicapped like me. Moving from your resting place to a walker, to a bathroom, to a toilet and back to resting reminds you of how helpless you were as a baby; that and your daily bath administered by your patient wife. The only difference is that now I don’t get sprinkled with talcum powder or get a fresh diaper.

I write this so you will understand why you are paying astronomical sums for your Social Security and Medicare, and why you should carry Part B when you retire.

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The benefits are better than you may have thought; I get professionals, nurses, to visit me at my home to check the lungs, ticker, stitches, dressings, pain, bowels, etc., while the traveling sadistic therapists are assigned to stretching sore muscles so that one day I will be able to dance the cha-cha again.

They look you in the eye, smile, and try to put your leg behind your ear. Of course they feel no pain, but you do and let them know it. Threats that you will happily kill him are to no avail. These kind folks – mine are from Heartland, a local company – know their stuff and have me headed in the right direction.

I actually look forward with pleasure to their next visit.

Especially the female nurses. I am not yet dead.


I’m sure Wild River Outfitters will benefit from rentals of canoes and kayaks up in our Lone Star Lakes, and that such activity will benefit Suffolk if users are paid customers of the park. I would hope the proposed activity would be primarily to benefit Suffolk residents, who own the place, rather than those from other cities. Right now the park is a &uot;wilderness&uot; and should remain so. But I fear the wrong people, or too many people, could do major damage to the physical and bring great harm to the image. It is all but impossible to patrol the many bodies of water and sections of pristine woodlot, and it would be a shame if it became necessary. There is also the threat of liability.

What is needed up there, far more than a place to launch kayaks and canoes, are regular launching sites for heavier fishing boats. There are some risks attending the launching of Jon boats from slippery banks and there are several good fishing lakes to explore. This is truly a great park for citizens of Suffolk and many expect it to become a well-used asset. Hopefully there will be a new entrance constructed off Kings Highway and a more imposing visitor center. It’s time to class up the place…for the citizens of Suffolk.


Posted on a recent church bulletin: &uot;A bean supper will be held next Tuesday evening in the church. Music will follow.&uot;

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist.