Nothing in There !
Imagine you were there. In a hospital room. I was groggy and hurting. Just coming out of anesthesia. Nurses, a surgeon and my dear departed wife Loretta at the foot of the bed. Yes, another hospital story. Please don't laugh, it'll just make my head feel worse.
The locale was Lubbock, Texas, and I was in a room on the third floor of Methodist Hopsital, now known as Covenant. Unlike the episode about the hospital in the teeth blog a few days ago when I vehemently exclaimed I wasn't going to die, this time I was sure I was going join my maker and the way I was hurting I thought I just about wanted to do so.
Before I get into the story, you need to know a little background. Early one morning in Hobbs, Amigo and I were enroute on the job to the local fire station when a young man in a red pickup ran a stop sign and hit Amigo, Loretta's trusty little yellow staton wagon, sending it in a wild right swing into a wall surrounding a portion of a church.
The result was that I was jerked, shoved and battered around in the vehicle, ending up with my head smashing against a doorpost. This was just kitty corner across from my doctor's office. There was an ambulance trip to the local hospital, and the usual batch of tests including x-rays.
Those x-rays disclosed a blotch in my brain but not something caused by the accident. The doctors decided it was something to be worried about and looked at again later.
Meanwhile, rib problems. cuts, bruises and other minor injuries were handled in due course. It was decided a specialist in Lubbock should look over the blotch in the brain.
Dr. Lloyd Garland was the specialist. He determined there was reason to examine the head again in another month. This was done and then again in another month until it was decided something was wrong in my brain and an operation was scheduled for December 28.
"Why on my birthday?" asked a son. "What a birthday present, a brain operation." (It was a matter of insurance. If done by the end of the year - all paid - if in January, I pay a lot.)
In the meantime came an already planned Cheyenne Christmas trip . Making matters even more complicated, I had a sudden and terrific pain in the head in Cheyenne that made me pass out. But the pain subsided and the trip back to home was uneventful and I duly reported to Lubbock for the operation.
Now the comical part of the story. Expecting the worse from a brain operation, I said so long to the wife and others who went to the hospital. I'd already had said so long to those living elsewhere either by telephone or in person. I breathed in whatever stuff was to put me to sleep and rolled off to the operating room.
Some hours later I was coming back into the world with those few folks around my bed when I heard Loretta say, "well , doctor, what did he have?"
Clearing his throat, Dr. Garland replied "we opened up his head and there was nothing in there," sponsoring a chorus of laughing and for me some horrific pains as I apparently started myself to laugh.
Then I heard Loretta, always a jokester, exclaim jokingly" That's what I always thought," bringing on another chorus of squeals and laughter and more pain for me.
To this day whenever the subject of anybody's brain operation comes up, it is sure to bring on a recitation of Charlie's brain operation.
Of course, there needs to be a little explanation here of the medical procedure. It seems there was something found. Explained Dr. Garland "There was some old material which might have dated a long time back."
What happened in Cheyenne may have been a brain tumor that was getting bigger and which imploded that day he had the head pains," he said
He continued "It was good that whatever it was imploded instead of exploding because it collapsed into itself, not out into the rest of his head which might have been fatal."
At this time I trace that "old stuff" in my brain back to the time I was knocked from my bike by Engine 4 while riding on a fire call as a youngster which you read about earlier.
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