I read Hubby all of your well wishes!
Your support and kind words were so wonderful, that Hubby felt the desire to speak to you all.
So, without any more fanfare, here is Hubby’s blog #2.
HUBBY BLOG #2
AN EARLY THANKSGIVING
–From the files of Trauma Rancho, Nazi Hunter
First off, I’d like to offer heartfelt thanks to all of the H&M community for your get-well wishes! Your support is what keeps Dawn motivated to do what she does, day in and out.
So, for those of you who don’t know, I broke my neck. A couple times a year, I get together with a group of guys in Moab, Utah ostensibly for mountain biking, but with a considerable amount of whiskey, cigars, and general tomfoolery thrown in for good measure. This trip was going to be especially good, since my best friend Eric, the Navy doctor, had just returned from Afghanistan. On day 3 of the trip, we were blasting down a trail called Hazzard County and I fell and hit hard. I know I was knocked out for at least a couple of minutes, and came to with my friends leaning over me. It was like a scene in a movie – I could see things, but there was no sound, and everything was happening very slowly.
Friends: ” – – – – – – – ” (Lips moving, silence)
Me: “….uh, wha…?”
Eric: “- – – – – – – – fingers am I holding up?”
Me: “….uh… twelve?”
Somehow, there just happened to be a couple of elk hunters passing by in their truck just at that moment, and Eric flagged them down and got them to agree to take me to the hospital. Unbeknownst to me, while I was bouncing down the mountain with the hunters, Eric rode ahead to tell the rest of the group what had happened and then RODE HIS BIKE ALL THE WAY TO MOAB HOSPITAL. Had to be at least 20 miles, and he got there about 10 minutes after me. They slapped a cervical collar on me (just as a precaution) and sent me in for a CT scan, fully expecting to find nothing but a concussion. I was feeling a little more like myself, and we joked around in the ER, calling in an order for some top-shelf bourbon with the guys who were just finishing the ride for the evening’s fun. Then the CT results came back, and everything changed. Eric walked into the room, looking genuinely worried.
Eric: “Dude, you broke your neck.”
Me: *gulp* “What does that mean?”
Eric: “It means we need to get you to Salt Lake for surgery right now.”
Me: “OK, you’re the boss.”
Since a preponderance of H&M readers are women, I now offer a brief insight into the male psyche. We spend years and fortunes learning and training for our jobs. The diplomas and certifications on our walls and letters after our names announce to the world our competence and expertise in our chosen fields. To the rest of the world, we appear supremely capable, but to ourselves, we are deathly afraid of the responsibility that we take upon ourselves, always afraid of making the wrong decision and being exposed for the fraud that we fear that we are. The ability to sack up and make decisions in the face of that fear is what separates men from boys. As an engineer and a Naval Officer, I have had a tremendous amount of trust handed to me just by virtue of the training I’ve had, and now I was placing an even greater burden on my best friend. The thing is, for me it was a no-brainer – of course I trust him, he’s a spine surgeon for pete’s sake!
The next few days are a drug-addled blur of a medevac airlift, CTs, MRIs, and lots of pain. They did tell me that I had the added bonus of two broken ribs. Since I came in the the hospital as a trauma patient, they assigned a code name to me: I was known as Trauma Rancho! For the next couple of days, people would ask me what my real name was, and I’d tell them I preferred Trauma Rancho. Hospital people as a rule don’t have much of a sense of humor. They also don’t seem to understand that for a body to mend, it needs sleep. Every hour throughout the night I would be awakened by someone new.
Hospital person: “Mr. Rancho, how are you doing?”
Me: “I was doing great, right up until you woke me up.”
HP: “Any history of toenail fungus in your family?”
Me: “What?!? What does that have to do with anything?”
HP: “Well, we need to know about this. When my shift ends at 2am, there will be someone else to come by and ask you the same stuff.”
Poor Dawn, trying to sleep on the hide-a-bed next to me, woke up every time I did (and often, to be sure, when I did not) and they weren’t giving her any drugs.
I only vaguely remember going into surgery, being a little worried but having Dawn at my side as they wheeled me away. Waking up was a interesting experience — I opened my eyes and found myself in a large room with lots of beds and people milling about. Nothing made sense — and then I realized I was being held by Nazis for medical experimentation! I was struggling to get out of the bed when the lead torturer came up and tried to calm me down.
Nurse: “MR. RANCHO, BLAP WERDLIC FREEB LINKPAM!”
Me: “….ehhh…get away from me you damn dirty Nazi…”
Me: (realizing how ridiculous this is) “Wait a minute, where am I?”
Once they got me back to my room I asked Dawn if there was some sort of CIA/Nazi experimentation room at the hospital. She casually said no, as if she expected a question like that from me.
A couple more days of rest and we were headed back to California. Flying with a neck brace is a serious drag, but it does get you to the head of the line. Dawn was incredibly tough and helpful. I thought she was going to kill the wheelchair-pusher when I was bashed into the side of the jetway. By the time we made it home, we were both exhausted. My dog was the first on the scene to greet me.
Shiva: “YAYYAYYAYYAYYAYYOUREHOMEATLASTOMIGODICANTBELIEVEYOUREFINALLYHOME… wait a minute. What’s wrong with you?”
Me: “I’ll be OK. Just a little beat up.”
Shiva: “OK…. YAYYAYYAYYAYIMSOGLAD YOUREHOMEYAY!”
The next afternoon, I got a call from my older daughter: “Dad, Dawn wants to know if you can feed the animals.”
What, doesn’t she know I’m an invalid? I might fall and break something… I might get hay in my surgery wound… I might pass out on the way to the barn… Ugh. Stop being such a baby, Trauma Rancho, it’s not like it’s that hard. “OK, sure.”
I stepped out of the house and into a glorious California autumn afternoon. Golden sunlight angled across the yard, recent rain had started some green shoots poking up through the brown summer grass, dragonflies were zipping about, and the air was rich and fragrant. I stopped and wondered if it had always been this beautiful. Norma, ever the impatient, brayed at me to get in gear.
I hobbled down to the barn where Dame Tess was waiting for me, as if to ask why I hadn’t come to see her before then. I think she could tell that something wasn’t right by the time she could smell me — she sniffed my hair to make sure I was going to be OK. I assured her that I’ll live, stroked her neck for a while and then went off to feed the malcontents (aka Wrigley, Finn, and BG).
Nothing like a brush with death to cause you to appreciate the things that you have. When I think about it, I am rich, really. I have a loving wife, two lovely and smart daughters, friends that would do anything for me (and vice versa), a dog who thinks I am the most amazing person in the world, horses, cats, dogs and a donkey, and a beautiful spot in which to enjoy them. And to top it all off, I remain (relatively) healthy.
It’s good to be alive.
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
It’s good to be alive.
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