Break a leg!
By Gordon Robinson
Finally, The Old Ball and Chain has me where she wants me.
Everybody knows I'm a recluse, rarely leaving home. So, as if to underscore the wisdom of that lifestyle, while attending the Norman Manley Law School's (NMLS) 40th Anniversary Revue, I missed a step down, fell and fractured my ankle in two places. I felt like an old lady in a commercial complaining, "I've fallen and I can't get up!" Two casts and one emergency surgery later, I'm restricted, at the time of writing, to an upstairs bedroom for two weeks before the surgeon will consider permitting me up and about (on crutches).
I'm defenceless. Old BC, wearing a permanent Mona Lisa smile, is enjoying having her way with me, my diet (starvation rations), and my recovery. I must submit myself to myriad personal indignities at her hands. I feel like an insane uncle chained to a bed in the attic while gruel is occasionally slipped under the door on a tray.
What've I learned from this? First, don't take wives anywhere with you. This inevitably leads to desperate escape plans (like, while attending revues, finding excuses to head backstage) that could spell disaster. Google it: 'Disaster' means having to depend on Old BC.
I know I sent you packin'
but now I want you back again.
Livin' without you ain't no livin' at all
How I miss your naggin'
and your tongue a-waggin'
and the crash of the coffee cup up against the bedroom wall"
Second, don't challenge 'worse'. Don't say, "It's just a dislocated ankle. It can't be worse." That becomes severe ankle fractures; an initial cast as heavy as chain smokers' breathing, orthopaedic surgery inserting plate, pin and screws ensuring one is properly screwed; and Old BC's recurring, "I told you so!"
In the kitchen early in the mornin';
midnight walkin' the floor.
Without your cryin', cussin' and your moanin'
home ain't home anymore."
Third, listen properly when anaesthetists are advising numbness returns from 'top to bottom'. The following might happen:
1. You 'wake up' with everywhere from the waist down feeling like bloated rubber.
2. Movement! You wiggle the toes of your bad foot. Then the toes of the 'other foot'. For hours, nether regions nearer top than bottom ('the good foot') don't return to life.
3. You express understandable concern about this ignominy but are greeted with howls of laughter.
4. Finally, in his post-op visit, said anaesthetist explains that by 'top to bottom', he meant internally (section of spine affected), not externally. Whew.
5. You inadvertently provide Old BC with grist for funny stories at your expense told indiscriminately.
All that's left is: grin and bear it. Pretend to need her every attention. Smile. Most important, plot your revenge.
So come on, honey.
Come home and spend my money.
Come back, mama, and take another swing at me.
On a serious note, thanks to a good family friend (who's almost as reclusive as I, so no names) who answered Old BC's cry for help (I begged her not to bother him) and quarterbacked the medical response; leading orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Kenneth Vaughan; very patient-oriented anaesthetist, Dr Phillip Barrow; all Tony Thwaites nurses who put up with my curmudgeonly conduct; and, of course, one-of-a-kind Patrick Walker, my pilot for all intra-hospital transportation.
Special thanks to first responder Mark Anthony Grant, a Fly Jamaica flight attendant who never left my side until I was admitted and whose calm professionalism was invaluable; Norman Davis of NMLS who went above and beyond the call of duty to make me as comfortable as possible; former JamBar president, Ian Wilkinson, who kept tabs on me in-between MC duties and sent me off to hospital with a "not your average lawyer" (thanks for the 'big-up', Ian); and all the young (and not-so-young) lawyers, judges, students and lecturers, especially my former (nearly wrote 'old') Comparative Law lecturer, the great Dorcas White, who regaled all and sundry with stories of me as a law student while we waited in vain for the public-health system to respond. All helped to turn what could've been a miserable experience into one as relaxed as possible. You're all special.
Take Another Swing at Me was one of two newly recorded songs included in country music balladeer, Randy Travis', 1992 Greatest Hits 2 album, the last of Travis' certified platinum albums. It's an example of the perennial male dilemma regarding women. Can't live with 'em; can't live without 'em.
Peace and love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.