Life: ‘Push button before falling’

Published 8:24 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2015

By Frank Roberts

While I was conferring with the “cardiovasculist” about getting my third defibrillator installed, I was thinking about a scheduled second session of physical therapy to get my right arm working again.

The rest of my bones are slowly turning to dust. It’s called bone degeneration, which, unlike most diseases, is stubbornly “cureless.”

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Simply put, the “bones-turn-to-dust” deal is a process accompanied by a lot of pain. When the bones finally say bye-bye, so does the patient. Right now, I get about with a cane. I’m supposed to use a walker, but my wife doesn’t have the strength to get it in and out of the car. I don’t use it in the house, because it scares one of my cats. I feel like a resident of “Dilemma City.”

Next, I am told, is a wheelchair. Maybe I’ll be like one of those characters in the wheelchair ads — grinning as I do wheelchair wheelies. Without the cane/walker/wheelchair, you learn the art of wobble-walking.

Oh, yeah, I can sit down, but that hurts too. Lying down is salvation.

There is the added bonus of wearing a doohickey around your neck. Instructions are something like “Push button before falling.”

Don’t bother contributing any bucks. For what? There is no research, no cure. It’s like watching a really good movie — you know it will end, eventually. The popcorn runs out before the movie does.

Not movies, but plays, are something I really miss. We used to go to all the local productions — heck, I performed in many of them — but now, just walking to the mailbox is a chore. My chauffeur/wife is not thrilled about nighttime driving. Netflix and books keep me going.

The so-called good news is that I’m a mere 86 and I just might have a few more years. Meanwhile, I can endure the pain which ranges from “damn” to almost taking the Lord’s name in vain. The pain seems to increase with regularity.

The worst news was when I was told I could no longer drive a car. My last stint behind the wheel was in November 2013. At least I don’t have to worry about speeding tickets.

Driving was something I dearly loved. Farewell to those wonderful drives to Arkansas to visit members of the family living in that lovely state.

I first found out about my mess when my doc said “Sheesh” and made arrangements to work with a specialist in Greenville, N.C. When I first saw that learned gent he broke the news about the breakin’ bones. He grinned like Mr. Hyde and asked, “How old are you?” I said, “85.” and he said, “I hope I make it to 85, but I hope I’m in better shape.” ZING!

People tell me I look pretty good. I have a standard reply: “I wish I felt as good as I look.” When people ask, “How are you feeling?” I ask them, “How much time do you have?”

The only thing I’m not complaining about is the past. I loved my time in the Army, the enjoyment I got out of writing, 40 years of reviewing and interviewing mostly country stars, and my work on the radio and on TV. Before that, I loved my school years.

So, I’ve had a good life, which has included 54 mostly happy years of marriage (wife No. 1 lasted seven years). Then came three kids, five grandkids, two great-granddaughters.

After all that, I’m still working, both here and on the radio. (Go to RCH103 if you’re curious and a glutton for punishment.)

To quote Roy and Dale — “Happy trails….”

During a 60-year career spanning newspapers, radio and television, Frank Roberts has been there and done that. Today, he’s doing it in retirement from North Carolina, but he continues to keep an eye set on Suffolk and an ear cocked on country music. Email him at