Chapter 7 -Get Set…
I pulled out of my lawyer’s parking lot. She said the contract was acceptable and had potential for a positive long term cash flow. The downside is, if the project didn’t show results within an eight month window everything would be shut down. I wasn’t sure if we would be given a dishonorable discharge or just shown the door.
I made a right on Anderson figuring I might as well see how Dick was doing and if I was going to have to fill in for him. I really didn’t want to give a speech to the Divorce Support Group but I shot off my big mouth. I was ninety-nine percent certain that his left leg was broken…DAMN! of all the luck.
I sat at a Red light desperately trying to think of a way to get out of the Support Group. In the past I would have begged God to make a way for Dick to be at the meeting. But since my divorce became final I pretty much gave up on prayer. I remember begging God thousands of times to turn my wife’s heart back to me. I guess you could say I lost my wife and my faith on the same day.
I pulled into the Loma Linda University Hospital and followed the signs to the Emergency room parking. Walking through the double doors I could hear voices and laughter coming from somewhere behind the nurses station. I knew immediately it was Dick telling tall tales about him and John Wayne or another star who he was best friends with.
Walking into his room I said, “Sounds like a party in here. Are you ready to get outta this joint?”
“Don’t I wish?” Dick said. “Doc says I’m going to be admitted. Isn’t that right Doc?”
A woman who looked awfully Young to be an ER Doctor answered. “I’m afraid so. We have him scheduled for hip replacement surgery first thing Thursday morning. “
“I’m Not Surprised. From the angle his leg was in I thought he’d fractured it for sure. I wasn’t even thinking the hip might be broken. Not that I really know anything about medicine….I mean….I’ve taken a basic First Aid Course….but….that is pretty limited…I don’t think we’ve been introduced. I’m Fred James, an old friend of Dicks.”
I held out my hand, she took it in hers and said, “Nice to meet you, I’m Doctor Marshall.” Her handshake was firm, good solid grip, gave me the feeling that she liked people and could be trusted.
“I tell most of my patients, who are his age, not to climb up a ladder, or even a step stool. And Here he is riding a horse and jumping over fences. It’s a wonder he didn’t break his neck.”
“After he blew up my chuckwagon it’s a wonder I didn’t break it for him myself. “
“Hey Doc, Don’t pay any attention to Freddie’s idle threats. That boy is a lover not a fighter.” Dick said. “Listen Doc, I was wondering about how long before I get outta here?”
“Let’s see. ” She said, rolling the computer stand along.. “Hip replacement Thursday morning. Followed by three to four days Physical therapy. If things go well, no complications or an extended stay in rehab….You could be home by Monday. “
“Monday,” He seemed to be mulling over the idea, “I thought I’d be staying for at least a week.”
“For the remainder of the day I want you to rest. When your room is ready you will be taken up to the surgical floor, room 435.” She turned to me and said, “Nice to meet you, Mister James. “
“Thanks Doctor Marshall. Good to meet you as well. “
She left the room and immediately started talking to a nurse who was walking by.
“Listen, Freddie, I’m truly sorry about destroying your chuckwagon. I will either build or buy a new one. “
“Don’t worry about it. You need to focus on getting better. I’m sure that Maria and Pedro already have contacted our insurance company and plans are being made for a ‘New and Improved ‘ chuckwagon. “
“Thanks. I appreciate your kindness. Are you still okay with speaking for me tonight?”
“You can’t think of anyone else who could take your place?”
“Normally I could ask any of the leadership team but they are all at a seminar down in Dallas, Texas. I think they were getting pretty desperate when they asked me to speak. Fact is, when they couldn’t find anything at the bottom of the barrel…”
” They turned the barrel over and found you underneath it.” I said. “It’s an old joke. “
“And I’m an old man who likes to finish his own jokes. “
“In that case you need to get some new material. “
“Don’t you have anything better to do than to harass a broken up old man?”
“As a matter of fact I do. Give me your truck keys. I need to get your laptop to go over your talk.”
“All my clothes are in a bag under this gurney. The jeans aren’t worth a damn. Those EMT sonsabitches just took a pair of scissors and CUT them off. I told them to spare the jeans, THEY wouldn’t listen to anything I said. Just Zipp Zap, my legs were just hanging out in the cold. They’re lucky I wasn’t going commando.
I reached under the bed and pulled out a large plastic bag with the name and logo of the hospital on it. I handed him his cell phone and put his keys in my pocket.
“Do you want me to have Sam take your truck out to the ranch for safekeeping?”
“Probably a good idea. Listen Freddie….”
At that point I really didn’t have much time to listen to everything Dick wanted to talk about. I had to get back to the office before Lieutenant Baker called.