I am not sure if my face gave away my horror…at least, not to the extent that Jamie’s face betrayed his attempt to mask his outrage…how would we spare our Grandmother’s feelings?
I knew the train was verging derailment when we departed the Beach House early that summer morning in the year of our Nation’s Bicentennial celebration. Shit, it had just started out wrong….and went worse from there. Try to imagine the two of us digging through our suitcases chucking clothes behind like a dog would move earth in the act of burying a bone. It had to be a near simultaneous discovery when Jamie exclaimed, ”I don’t have my bathing suit!” “I don’t have mine, either,” I shouted. So, off we were to go shopping for new suits with none other than my Grandmother….gulp! (Insert the part where it feels like swallowing a spoonful of peanut butter with no milk chaser!) Man, I bet you could dress a small country with the many articles of clothing my Grandmother had bought us that sat untouched in our wardrobes at home. Sweaters with cables, checkered pants, and shirts with epaulettes…if it wasn’t made of corduroy or didn’t say “Keep On Truckin’ “ then we didn’t wear it. And if it didn’t have a zipper or the zipper was in any other place than “hey diddle diddle straight up the middle” then it would never advance further than first -string dust collector sitting ass last in the depths of our chest-o-drawers.
There are a thousand places to take a kid to replace his swimming trunks and probably double that in a beach town like Aptos. We just assumed we would hit Vessey’s, the local convenience store. Vessey’s had it all, candy, kites, comic books, wiffle balls and bats…and swim trunks! But, no we watched the fancy cursive fonted Vessey’s sign over our left shoulder as we went straight into some off-the-wall young man’s department store. We stood there staring at each other…expecting that the other would have the courage to stop the atrocity that my Grandmother was about to commit. Right there on the counter sat two matching burgundy colored (burgundy? I didn’t even know there was such a color until my Grandmother told us that day) polyester liner less swimsuits. I wanted to cry but I knew if I did I would set Jamie into full fledged meltdown mode….we had to keep it together. “Perhaps, it won’t be as bad as we think when we have them on”…I muttered. I saw the skin between Jamie’s chin and lip start to twitch and took that as…”you can shut-up now”
So, there we stood examining the other as we inspected the swimsuits for serviceability. It was horrifying. The suits made us look like some cross between Pierre from South France and Mr. Furley (in reference to 70s hit show Three's Company). The polyester made the shorts tighter than the trendy loose fitting board style shorts…you know the ones…the ones that every other kid on the beach was wearing! And, they were form fitting in the front sparing nothing to the imagination…making us appear as though we hijacked the appetizer tray of the last of the “lil smokies” and cherry tomatoes and tried to smuggle them out in our pants! And, burgundy meant that when we did wear our Keep On Truckin” shirts it only accentuated the fish-out-of-water ensemble that was sure to make us the laughing stock on the beach. But, the biggest faux pa was not having a liner. This meant we had to pay particular attention to the old “no matter how much you wiggle and dance…the last drop always lands in your pants!” Picture this…two boys in burgundy polyester trunks….pee stained and their block and tackle all out there for the world to see. It was all wrong…horribly wrong. So, Jamie and I faked being under the weather for the next week until my Dad arrived and made the situation all better. When my Grandmother wasn’t paying attention…he hustled us up to Vessey’s where we got new suits. Mine with a Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull pattern and Jamie’s with the traditional Schlitz Beer logo…cuz remember, if you’re outta Schlitz…you’re outta beer! They were loose and lined and we were ready for the beach! Cock of the Walk, Baby!
Anyway, as I drove away from Santa Rosa Memorial yesterday for Truckee…I had lots of time to think…and man did I. I thought about Jamie and some funny stories of our childhood. Though, he is recovering nicely…I felt pretty bad about leaving him. That story makes me laugh as much today as ever and so I wanted to share it with all of you…and Jamie…as I know he will be laughing as he reads it. I asked Gail if I could return for today’s blog and She obliged.
Blog Entry: 9 August 10
Each day brings with it more and more progress. My Stepmother, Reenie, did the midmorning turnover with my Dad and will stay with Jamie for the next couple of days. But, before anyone arrived today Jamie had his personal grooming done. Meaning he shaved both his face and head. This is huge and speaks volumes to Jamie’s character. It would be easy to sit around all day and let people do things for you…but the truth is Jamie knows that by forcing himself to work his right hand through chores that require dexterity' like shaving will only help to get him back to normal. So, he is shirking none of his responsibilities. And, instead doing more and more each day. He was also given two golf balls from the PT yesterday…to work in his hands like Furious Styles (Laurence Fishbourne) worked his Chinese “Boading” Balls in Boys n The Hood! Both balls are held in the hand and rotated around the other using only the movement of the fingers. This is yet another dexterity drill to try to work his three fingers that seem to think they are on siesta. Jamie was not too good yesterday but had them going today. And if you know Jamie…he just wont give up until he is able to play with his balls….uhhhhh, wait…can I go to print with that?
The Diesel paid Jamie a visit today with some feedback from yesterday’s X-Rays and reported that everything looked great. To put things a bit in perspective….Jamie asked him if he could tell whether the fractures in his pelvis looked to be mending and he told him that that kind of progress is still weeks away. But, he did like what he saw. Jamie finally broke the Diesel down a bit and actually got him to crack a smile. It was only a matter of time…even for the most surly of characters. Perhaps he made the Diesel laugh when he told him the story of when the nurses moved Jamie to X-Ray but forgot to hook his cath bag to the bed. Aye Carumba!!! So, imagine the transporters pushing Jamie’s bed…Jamie saying, “uhhhh, fellas, is there something tugging my….” and a big long trail of tubing, piss bag, and leaking pee. The whole X-Ray evolution yesterday is taking its toll today as Jamie is a little sore from some awkward and uncomfortable positions he was in to get the shots. In particular, he has felt some pain in his lower back, which he suspects is his L-5 screaming! He says it feels like laying on two bowling balls.
All the discomfort aside, today was momentous both physically and mentally. Jamie’s PT session included the utilization of a slide board…which is a glorified piece of plywood…sanded of course so no fear of splinters!! Anyway, the nurse sprinkles the slide board with baby powder and Jamie slides (with assistance) from the seated position on his bed to the seated position on something else…in this case a wheelchair. Think of a flat bridge. The goal was to see if Jamie could handle the slide board and if he could to see if he could handle the wheelchair. Jamie spent a nice portion of his afternoon being wheeled around the East Wing of the Ortho Ward…no doubt checking on the pain screamer…talking about how incredibly pain free he is…but that he wishes he could find his old bed pan! Jamie had a much-anticipated visit from his dear friends Kevin and Meagan Nekimken....or knowing Kevin and his soft nature perhaps he went with the strategic hyphen! (Nekimken-Schumacher) or worse the hybrid (Nekumacher)…what up with that, Kevin? (Nah, just joshing my boy, Kevin, in a blog shout out). Anyway, Kevin pushed Jamie all around the Ward. It was a great visit. Needless to say, Jamie was pretty tired…both physically and especially emotionally. He finally broke down a bit as you can imagine one would when they go from being relegated to laying on their back to the freedom of sitting upright and moving about the hospital. It was truly momentous.
See the picture below of Jamie being pushed around the hospital by his buddy Kevin….Clearly, looking at Kevin’s shirt he has trouble with his Grandmother buying him clothes as well!
When not entertaining visitors, Jamie is watching movies….and took in the “Hot Tub Time Machine” yesterday. Also, I would like to make a late shout out to his buddies from Pacific Track Time….who decorated Jamie’s bed with black and white checkered racing tape…which has seriously improved the aesthetics of his room. Awesome.
I will close with saying that any day that has the blog sharing a story from Jamie’s childhood…must mean that all is going as or better than expected. And that is, in fact, the case. Today was another great day that saw tremendous strides in the road to recovery. He was able to keep up with an arduous PT regimen that had him move from his bed to a wheel chair…and in the words of Roger Daltrey and The Who…”Goin’ Mobile.” All exciting stuff. So, all is going very well. To all, continue to read and post. Until tomorrow….