I’ve been putting this off long enough.
I promised to tell you why this column was missing from the paper for two months — basically October and November — and I have decided to quit stalling.
So today I am going to tell you — sort of.
I am not going to tell you the whole story because much of it is too personal, too embarrassing to talk about and, in many ways, not interesting unless you are a graduate student in medical science and want to know all the lurid details about such things.
I will thus skip most of the details, while thanking you for remaining interested in my situation, calling me to find out what in the world was going on, and calling the paper to ask where I was. Things like that.
It all began with an early morning trip to Lake West Hospital by way of a service provided by the Willoughby Fire Department.
The first thing they did there was to introduce me to a Mr. Foley, who was to be my constant companion for the next two months.
If you do not know what I mean by “Mr. Foley,” be advised that it is a medical term, and if you are not familiar with it, don’t bother to look it up. It is extremely unpleasant.
I was in the hospital for a little over a week. They took very good care of me, and the food was excellent. I was allowed to order from an extensive menu, anything I wanted, so I had chocolate ice cream thee meals a day.
After I left the hospital they told me I needed re-hab, so I went to Breckenridge Village for almost two weeks.
Other than the constant presence of Mr. Foley, it was a marvelous experience.
David Schell runs a fine program. The staff members are outstanding. I asked everyone who took care of me where they got their training, and the vast majority of them said Lakeland Community College. That pleased me to no end.
I had three meals a day with a guy I really liked talking with. A widower, his name is Alvin Sabroff. He’s a retired engineer from Eaton Corp. He has a son who was a first-string running back for Mentor High for two years.
Al is a most interesting guy. I hope to meet him again someday (though not in re-hab, thank-you very much).
But my adventure was far from over. I was ordered to have a PET scan. That process is an ordeal in itself, unless you like being trapped in a tiny tube for a couple hours.
One of the things it revealed was a “hot spot” on the back of my left thigh. So I went back to Lake West for the surgery.
The hot spot was removed. Guess what? It was benign.
That was the good news. The bad news was that it was attached to a nerve in my left leg, so the procedure left me with little feeling from the knee down and a left foot that is floppy.
I trip over everything. Cracks in the sidewalk, rugs, anything that is slightly uneven — or even even. My stumbling is indiscriminate. If I were a football player running for a touchdown, I would trip over the 50-yard line.
I walk with a four-footed cane. Meanwhile, I am awaiting an ankle brace and some special shoes so my left toe will no longer dip when I walk.
The last time the lady of the house and I were at Hellriegel’s Inn for dinner, we saw dozens of people we know, many of them very good friends.
They all wondered where I had been. Of course, I didn’t have time to tell them the whole story, so I gave them an abbreviated version.
The staff insisted, over my protests, on wheeling me out to the car in a wheelchair when we left. So I let them. But I did it mainly to put an end to the bickering.
I have no trouble driving the car. Or even getting in and out of it. But walking is a chore. If I don’t remember to lift my left foot up in the air with every step, I trip.
I look goofy when I’m walking, but there is nothing I can do about it.
By the time this appears in print, I hope I have that ankle brace and my two new pairs of shoes — one brown and one black.
I hope to see you around someplace. If we meet, you will know if I got that brace yet by the way I’m walking.