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A Big Pain in the ... Back

Made in America - Fuzzy Logic


You remember Del my old neighbor that had borrowed my mules during his fight with cancer. As I mentioned he was old school and really mistreated this little team. I went to see 'em. Thru no provocation or fault of my own, that little John Mule, as I approached, swung around, showed me his butt and kicked me with, of course, both feet. I knew what he intended to do as soon as he swung around so I turned to make my escape but was...too late.

I was paralyzed from the waist down, or at least my left leg was and I was taken to the hospital in Ypsilanti, MI. Upon examination it was determined that I had two blown out disks and they put me in traction (I don't think they do that anymore do they??) and scheduled back surgery for me.

I remember being strapped in bed, at least my legs and arms above the bed. When I verbally tell the story I'm swinging above the bed, it makes a better visual but I'm fuzzy about that being exactly right. In any case, I am completely immobilized. They let me down to eat but mostly it gave me new meaning of bein' "strung up".

The day before surgery two buddies from the mill showed up to visit with a large bag. In the bag was a twelve pack of....uh well Strohs. My roommate was real straight laced and even tho' we offered him one (three a piece) he declined so we made him sit outside the room in a chair as a sentinel in case the nurse or doctor showed. Besides then we could have four each.

They got me outta my contraption and we polished 'em off. Then I said to Greg and Pete, "Hey get me dressed, lets go to the Alibi and have a few more."

They were all for it so they got me dressed, and with one on each side of me we shuffled out the door to their truck and went to town.

We got there about 6 o'clock in the evening and carried on where we left off. At 1:30 in the morning we had last call. I kicked the chair back and said, "Ok boys, get me back to the hospital." I got up, stood, walked to restroom and came back...I was kinda cured.

We walked up the hospital step without a limp in the crew only to bump into the security guard.

"What in the world are you fella's doin'?" he yelled.

Pete told him we were there to see a buddy. "Get outta here, it's 2 in the mornin'."

I asked if I could use the payphone inside and he told my two bums to wait in the truck and told me to make it snappy! Once inside I skipped up to the second floor and into my room, My roommate, kinda a sissy, was a nervous wreck. Evidently they were lookin' for me for, oh bout five hours.

"Never mind that, get me back into this contraption quick." He got me strapped in and about 3 a.m. or so a nurse shows.

She commenced yellin' and screamin' something awful. "Mr. Pecora we've turned this place upside down for hours lookin' for you." She was beyond mad. I said I was in the smokin' room.

No I wasn't! They checked countless times and informed me I smelled like beer and cigarettes. I told her again I was in the smokin' room and found a can of beer there...hey, it was the best I could do.

She continued on her rant and told me surgery was in less then six hours. Then she gave me some meds, muttered under her breath and left. As soon as she left I told roomie to get me out of that contraption again. He resisted but I wouldn't take no for an answer.

I got dressed, went to the all night desk and went to check out. The receptionist looked at me and said, "Can't you wait till morning it's not even 4 a.m., what's the hurry?" I persisted, she asked me my name, looked and said, "Mr. Pecora, you're scheduled for surgery in less then 6 hours."

"Yea...uh I'm not gonna make that."

I left and walked to the Ypsilanti Farm Bureau, let myself in and slept an hour or two till we opened. My wife called the hospital to confirm the time of surgery and was informed I had vacated the area.

Now you know why I walk with a limp thirty years later.


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