Tough

I’ve had a lot of people say they like this stuff I write. I can’t imagine why but if your up for more here is something I wrote back last summer.

It was raining, the kind of rain coming down that soaks you through in a couple seconds, my wet boots and rain coat on the floor and this doctor is giving me hell like I’m wasting his time. My foot is an ugly color, streaks going up my leg. The nurse traced around the dark red stuff with a marker. I’m busy, I have work to do and Happy is home having puppies and I don’t got time for this.

My rational brain says this ain’t no big deal. I’m taking enough antibiotics to kill this stuff and the lyme disease I came down with three times over, it just takes time. But the part of me that I try to keep locked away is out running loose and it’s saying We’ve seen this before, more than once, and it didn’t go well.

They keep asking for my regular doctor and I keep saying I don’t have one. I don’t. I’m not the one who gets sick. I’m the other one that drives the wheel chair and finds the next appointment and reads to her in her hospital bed and holds her hand when things get hard.

I can’t help thinking what Lisa would do. I don’t know a thing about tough compared to Lisa.

Years ago we were at her podiatrist appointment and the doctor came in after looking at Lisa’s x-rays and she said Lisa’s Charcot’s was much worse, the bones in her foot that support the leg bone had broken and she said Lisa would probably loose her foot and the doctor was crying. Lisa got up and walked out of there, found another doctor, spent over a week in the U of M hospital healing up an infection on that foot and went on to walk many more miles on it.

When they were taking her in to amputate her toe she asked the surgeon if she could have it. The doctor wanted to know why. She said when this all started I called to get in to see my foot doctor and the nurse said their computers were down and she would get right back to me. She never did. She forgot me and by the time I got in it was too late. I’m going to put this on her desk and tell her this is what happens when you don’t do your job. They wouldn’t let Lisa have her toe but she did go back and pay that lady a visit she won’t ever forget.

It was a fall day a few years ago and we were driving down highway 14 towards Mankato headed home, combines running down the corn rows, semi’s hauling it away and dust hanging in the air. Late afternoon and tired after an early morning drive and a long day of tests and doctor visits. Her phone rings and it’s one of the doctors. The team discussed her and they think the best thing to do is amputate the front part of her foot. She said I was sure that’s what you would decide. It is what it is. Let’s just get it done so I can get back to work.

The doctor said they could do surgery Monday and they would have to keep her a few days. She said that’s fine but when your done with me I’m going up to the river to heal.

We were in her hospital room and the doctor was explaining the operation and she asked if she would be able to driver afterward and he said yes. I said That’s great, she never could drive before! She couldn’t. Lisa rolled two vehicles and traumatized a lot of people that were foolish enough to ride with her. I think she learned from her grandpa who was getting speeding tickets when he was in his 90’s. When Lisa was pretty little he used to set her in the front seat of the pickup, put it in drive and tell her to steer down the field while he walked behind and threw bales on the hay rack.

When one of the doctors was getting Lisa ready for surgery, checking her to make sure there was no jewelry, no dentures, she said you can have my foot but you leave my teeth alone, I might need them to chew someones ass! The poor guy almost fell on the floor laughing.

Lisa’s grandpa died at home a few months before Lisa. He was 96 and he was her hero. It was winter and they had a grave side service after the funeral in the cemetery behind the church. Lisa started walking and I said No, we will drive you out there and she said No, I’m going to walk to my grandpa’s grave! Her heart was getting bad by then and she was short of breath, her hip hurt her and I was afraid we would be having a double grave side service. I don’t think anyone there really knew what it cost her to make that walk, but nothing was going to stop her.

Now Lisa’s ashes are buried on our farm, on the hill overlooking the river bottom next to a lot of good dogs that were her friends. It’s a quiet place where the deer and bear, turkeys and wolves come by, and on cool mornings mist comes off the river and fills the bottoms. It’s a good place to go and heal.

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