Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Just like the cowboys

Dad -- 91 years old and the subject of my trilogy, has a dislocated shoulder. Apparently, he pulled a tarp off a pile of termite ridden old oak during a sub-zero snowstorm, wrestled the damn thing indoors and into the basement to dry out but fell while attempting to throw it over a 114 year old cast iron bathtub. His shoulder slammed onto a protruding rocker of an antique rocking chair.  He dislocated his shoulder, but the wooden rocker prevented a fracture, which would have happened if he had hit the cement floor.
This happened on a Monday. So he went upstairs and complained a little to my Mom about it and she did nothing but tell him to put ice on it. All night he didn't feel right. Next day, he told the visiting nurse. She put ice on it and suggested he let my sister know. She lives nearby. Wednesday my sister looked at it and said she thought he needed to put heat on it. That night he started really complaining. By Thursday, his shoulder had swollen up with a knot the size of a cantaloupe. That's the first I heard of it by email through my sister, who thought he would be OK with rest, ice & heat.
So I called Dad with the message GO TO THE ER NOW!!!!!!! "No, but I'll go over to the VA."
He waited for Justin to come the next day (Friday). Jud drove over in my place because I was under the weather. He & Dad (who insisted on driving) went to the VA (in Danville, IL) where they discovered he had a dislocated shoulder with torn rotator cuff.
Dad thought that wasn't nothin'. That we should just put a foot into his armpit and pull, like they do with the cowboys. Only he's 91 and they won't do that to a guy his age.  So, "The doctor put me in a goddamn straight jacket (put him in a sling). To hell with that!"
So now he sits there with his arm out of its socket, watching westerns, kicking back an occasional shot of whiskey and waits for the season to change. Just like the cowboys.


  1. I am wincing with pain just thinking about my arm being out of its socket. I assume your Dad will eventually have the shoulder relocated - besides the pain, it can't be good for the shoulder or arm to stay that way for too long. John Wayne is a sissy next to your Dad.

  2. Once he hit the end of his finger with a sledgehammer, putting in a seawall at our house on Fox Lake. I was in the l-room when I noticed him walking kinda slow up past the house. Then I saw the blood drops. He was getting a rag and some whiskey. I ran down to the lakefront and found the tip of his finger there on the piling, bone and skin and blood. Never said a word. Days later I asked him how it felt. "Throbs a little."

  3. Your father sounds pretty awesome. He's reminds me of every badass male protagonist in every hero-esque comic/movie/videogame/novel. Where he can take multiple blows and still do wind sprint with a broken leg.

  4. "Throbs a little." Classic response.