On September 16, between the hours of five and seven pm, I was walking on a beach, its exact location is a mystery to me, but Aruba is the most likely culprit.
The sand was… well, sand, but I never lost my footing. The sun was blistering hot but welcoming. The waves were meeting the shore in the epitome of harmonic balance. The gulls did their thing above, squawking like Republicans in front of a television camera.
And that’s where my memory ends – with one glaring exception which I will recount in a moment. But truthfully, the location is irrelevant. All that truly matters is this irrefutable fact: On September 16, between the hours of five and seven pm, I was lying on an operating table at the Greater Niagara General Hospital. A surgical team was repairing my broken body, specifically my shattered left hip.
The hip joint, known in medical circles as the acetabulofemoral joint (art. coxae), is the joint between the head of the femur and acetabulum of the pelvis. Its primary function is to support the weight of the body in both static (that’s standing to us laypeople) and dynamic (walking or running) postures. The hip joints have very important roles in retaining balance, and for maintaining the pelvic inclination angle, without which we’d all be… I believe the medical term is “screwed”.
Let’s get back to me and the result of my ineptitude while carrying a case of dog food and a bag of flyers, shall we?
The surgeon made an incision over the hip, through the layers of bruised tissue through which he removed the diseased and damaged bone and cartilage, leaving only the healthy bone behind. He then implanted a replacement socket into the pelvic bone after which he inserted a metal stem made of titanium (apparently Canadian health care, as awesome as it is, won’t cover the cost of adamantium replacement parts) into the top of the thighbone, which was then topped with a replacement ball.
I’ll give you a second to stop cringing. All good? Then we’ll continue.
By now you’re no doubt attempting to reconcile the two conflicting accounts of my whereabouts on September 16, between the hours of five and seven pm. I know I would if I was in your place. However, I’m in my place, and so there is no conflict. For you see, the second I regained consciousness in GNGH’s recovery ward I knew exactly what had happened – though I was as mystified as you’re about to be. Then again, I spent the next two hours pulling an Uma Thurman from Kill Bill Volume One (trying to shake the effects of the anesthesia and move my left foot) so there was plenty of time to analyze the situation.
Here is what I concluded: My damaged body was in a GNGH operating room. Conversely, my soul, the spirit or immaterial part of a human being, the seat of human personality, intellect, will, and emotions, regarded as an entity that survives the body after death, was on a beach somewhere in the universe.
Sounds kinda scary, doesn’t it?
And of course, it raises all sorts of questions:
- Was I hallucinating as a result of some really powerful anesthesia?
- Did my mind create its own reality as a coping mechanism?
- Am I making this shit up?
- Has The Hook finally snapped?
- And if so, who won the pool?
I’ll let you, my gentle readers, debate those queries among yourselves. But in case you’re wondering if I was frightened in any way, worry not, my friends. For you see, as some of you have no doubt realized by now…
I wasn’t alone on that beach.
Far from it. In fact, that beach was exactly where I needed to be. It was a place I wished I’d visited years ago, the year 2017, specifically. But Mistress Fate obviously concluded the time wasn’t right back then, that my need wasn’t great enough. Fortunately, she extended her mercy to this lost soul that evening.
And so, The Hook and Rockin’ Ronnie
(you just knew it, didn’t you?)
were reunited at last on the blissful sands of Limbo Beach.
The precise details of our conversation remain beyond my reach, sort of like trying to hold a fistful of sand; you can see it, but you can’t control it.
But my fallen brother told me everything was going to be okay.
And it was.
There’s nothing more to say, nothing of significance at least.
I love you, brother.
Thank you for being there when I needed you the most, even when the boundaries of space and time stood in the way. I’ve spent five years regretting not being able to save you, but you saved me.
I miss you – every damn day, Ronnie, every damn day.
(Man, typing through tears royally sucks.)
See you in the trenches and the Halls of Limbo, kids…
I have re-typed this line a ridiculous number of times. There is so much I want to say but really, the only thing that needs to be said is, “Thank you”, for sharing that with us.
It wasn’t easy, but it was worth doing.
Some will think I’m a bit mad or delusional, but I recognize reality.
Thank you, Michelle.
Like the last reader, there is so much to say yet maybe not. I’m so glad that you found solace during this surgery. Maybe the point is that friends are friends forever.
Friendship/love is a good thing, and no good thing ever dies.
A good friend is always there… my what you’ve been through!
My daughter sometimes thinks we’re cursed.
I can’t really argue, given the overwhelming evidence.
But still, it’s been a life well lived.
Thank you, Marina.
it IS a life well lived! 😉
An uplifting story, Hook. Thanks for sharing.
“Uplifting” is a perfect word choice, all things considered.
Thanks for reading, John.
Always a good story for sure.
I was not prepared for this tear jerker 😭
I get it.
Why do you think it took me six months to write the thing?
But thanks for reading.
Glad you are OK Robert. Interesting account and not unusual when stressed for whatever reason. When I was in A&E with a suspected heart attack, I was convinced my Dad was behind a curtain watching over me. When he smiled and waved at me before turning away, I knew my time hadn’t come yet.
I have no doubt Dad was there exactly when you needed him, and he departed once his job was done.
I think so.
Did not see that coming. Glad he was there for you.
He certainly was, Loretta.
Ronnie’s never let me down – even death won’t stand in his way.
How’s your hip doing now? Everyone I know who have had that procedure done (two of them, one with one new hip and one with two) have been happy with the results.
Never had that sort of major surgery, and my former taste in recreational drugs was never of the narcotic variety, so I can’t speak to those sort of effects, but I do quite regularly see my dead brother and my dead friend Dirty Dan in my dreams, doing the sort of things they would no doubt be doing were they still walking around amongst the living.
This was a piece of courageous and quality writing Mr. Hook, and I thank you for it and applaud your progress in dealing with the situation.
I’m 62 now, still disabled from a stroke, and snowed in completely. Last weekend I had a fever from a tooth infection play hell with my balance and had me fall on the floor four times in two days between the bed and the bathroom. Each time I was like “Don’t break your hip old man, the ambulance can’t get to you just now…”
Glad you escaped relatively unscathed, Doug.
You have my sympathy and understanding, not-so-old-man.
Damned it Robert, you just brought me to tears! What an absolutely perfect experience!! You know me well enough to know I’ve walked on the metaphysical side more than a time or two, and yes, you had an actual metaphysical experience with Ronnie. I’d venture to say he’s been with you all along, but being knocked out gave him the “in” he was waiting for. He came to let you know he’s right as rain. And to help you let go of any guilt, thinking you could have stopped him. If anyone could have, he’d still be here. And that’s a fact, Jack.
Oh, and I’ve had surgery before- there’s nothing in between being put out and waking in recovery. No dreams – nothing.
I appreciate the support, old friend.
It definitely was Ronnie reaching out to help when he was needed the most.
Love is indeed strong, powerful, and everlasting. Thank you for the reminder ❤
Ronnie and I both say you’re welcome.
Ah my dear Hook… Grateful always for our friends. Know that, as your friend was there for you, you have been there for your friend, in your love and compassion, in your memory, you are there for him. Love transcends time and space. Much love and happiness to you!
Wow. You nearly died, your spirit went to heaven, Ronnie told you everything was going to be okay and sent you back to earth. You are one lucky dude to meet your friend once again!!
Ron will never let you down. We miss him everyday and will never forget his kind heart and beautiful spirit. Your daughter just came across a bracelet that Ron had brought back from Aruba and gave her. I put it on a shelf to keep it safe. I have no doubt that Ron came to you to calm your fears. He will always be by your side.