The Charlie Bravo Story

Consider the puppies…

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans back in the summer of 2005, the flood of refugees and their stories of despair into the surrounding states was devastating. Getting the family heavily involved in the relief efforts alleviated the stress and anxiety somewhat; doing something is always better than doing nothing.

It was during this time that I was playing basketball with some kids, lunged for a rebound and heard a BANG behind me and I hit the ground like I had been poleaxed. My immediate impression was that I had been shot in the back of the leg, but actually I had suffered a catastrophic rupture of my Achilles tendon, my foot flopping on my ankle like a beached mackerel.

The fun really began when I came out of the hospital in a full length leg cast, and I quickly discovered that hydrocodone and claustrophobia don’t make good bedfellows; I remember thinking frantically “if I could just see my toes…”. After mom went to bed, I crutched my way out to the shop for a pair of tin snips and a hacksaw to perform a little cast modification which turned into a LOT of cast modification; at this point I realized through my drug induced fog that I might not have made the best of decisions and fled the scene of the crime. The next morning mom awoke to the sight of a living room awash in plaster, cotton, and hand tools, and had to take me back to the hospital to be recasted; I’m amazed to this day that they didn’t send me home with a cone on my head like a dog be restrained from chewing on her stitches.

This set the tone for a time of depression that lasted for months; “Wake Me Up when September Ends” by Green Day was popular at the time, and became my personal theme song. I was confined to the house, Arkansas was in the midst of a drought, the effects of Katrina still being felt and a second hurricane, Rita, was already forming off of the coast. The incessant barrage of bad news on the media and my total inability to do a blasted thing about it had me pinned to the ceiling, figuratively speaking of course, as I was incarcerated in my recliner directly in front of a 27″ flat screen sewer pipe spewing toxic waste directly into the living room of the Casa del Whackos.

I HATE not being able to make a difference , and you can only imagine the effect that my mental state had on mom and the kids. I’m still surprised that they didn’t just wheel me out to the curb for Monday’s trash pick up, but they probably knew the landfill would just send me back; it was not a good time to be a resident of the Casa.

I remember a particularly stressful day in front of the TV, feeling the surging anxiety when I noticed my dogs in a semicircle in front of me. I was eating a ham sandwich to which they obviously all felt entitled, and had their backs to the TV, oblivious to the bad news I was actually feeding on. It occurred to me that no matter what was happening on the outside, they trusted implicitly that they would be taken care of, and how much more should I trust in a Father that, unlike me, had proven time and again to be unfailing?

Now here we are again: Ebola becomes Zika, Ferguson becomes Minneapolis, Bruce becomes Caitlin, Bush/Gore becomes Laurel/Hardy, and the “crises” keep goose stepping into our lives, each making us feel a little more ineffective and disconnected than the last. But there is an answer: be not weary in well-doing, as though our individual actions may seem insignificant, together we can and do make a huge difference.

We all have something to give, but until we actually give it, it’s not a gift…

…and I can’t wait to unwrap mine!

Join the discussion

  1. Elisabeth Parrish

    You must be drinking from the well of wisdom up there at the casa, sir. (And your wife must be a saint!) Lol!

  2. Darling Nikki

    I’ve been feeling down lately… thank you for letting me know I’m not alone. Wise words from the Casa.

  3. Sue Robilliard

    What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

  4. Robin D Mahan

    I too, share not only your love for animals and pain for others, but your despise for being confined. Those casts are tough. I went through three before they gave up and put me in a boot. Not even soaking them in a tub of hot soapy water weakens them. And frantically cutting, plucking and tearing wet plaster really makes a mess.

    • Charlie Bravo - The Motorcycle Rescue Dog Story

      I used a Dremel tool to cut holes is mine so I could get a coat hanger on there, which only compounded the problem by getting the cotton wadded up in there like a mis adjusted sock… I’m not a good patient.

    • Robin D Mahan

      I totally understand. My first two I ruined by poking sticks, coat hangers, gravel, household items, etc., and tearing at them with a pair of snips, all the while begging for a boot. But, they were replaced with an even bigger cast, above the knee with a ball on the foot so that I wouldn’t walk on it. I thought I was going to die! I couldn’t breathe! I managed to stand it for about a week, but i was a nutcase. After a good soaking, using the dremel, tin snips, and a pointed hand saw, got it torn off. Lord, what a mess. I guess they gave up and AMA, finally gave me the walking boot. I guess if I ever end up in a bigger cast I will just have to die. Or be sedated. It sucks to be so freaked out by containment. And, I do realize how silly it sounds. Needless to say, I am not a good patient either.

    • Debra Marcks

      I’m so glad you shared your craziness with your cast. I broke my foot a few years back & was a complete loon about the cast. I had it absolutely filthy & falling apart because I couldn’t stay out of my garden! I couldn’t stand being “shackled”! I thought there was something wrong with me. Now I know it was normal.

    • Elisabeth Parrish

      Charlie Bravo – The Motorcycle Rescue Dog Story Did you really hear a bang? I thought that I just imagined it! The same thing happened to me when I was taking some type of medication that has the side effect of weakening one’s ligaments and such. While I was mowing grass, my foot slipped into a hole that Jake had dug . I heard a gosh awful loud snap at the same time that a shocking bolt of pain snapped up through my heel all the way to my back and slapped me right down to the ground. I thought that I had stepped on a power line and was electrocuted, until I found out that I was crippled. Could barely breathe the pain was so bad for a bit. It took forever to heal!

    • Charlie Bravo - The Motorcycle Rescue Dog Story

      They say you can always tell when a tennis or racquet ball player ruptures an Achilles as he looks over his shoulder for whoever whacked his ankle with a racket, and yes, I did hear a bang. To this day I can’t look at a picture of someone restrained in a body cast: just shoot me.

    • Elisabeth Parrish

      Lol! I made my husband did way down in the hole looking for an underground power line. It was inconceivable to me that simply stepping backwards into a hole could have such a powerful effect.

    • Robin D Mahan

      Wow! That makes me shudder!

    • Annette Eakins

      Charlie Bravo – The Motorcycle Rescue Dog Story I was in a cast for 4 months(i broke my ankle). I actually asked for the cast. I am so damn clumsy I didn’t want to rebreak it. It was a long 4 months! Never ever want to go through that again. You did make me laugh trying to picture you sawing the cast off!

  5. Charlie Bravo - The Motorcycle Rescue Dog Story

    Just wait until you hear the Wal Mart walker story from this era; funny now, but at the time… yikes.

    Like and share to if you care to!

  6. Sam Howard

    Know that feeling, felt that way when I fought the “Big C” had to fight that battle and no one else. Now I need to be in Baton Rouge [family there] but you still can’t get in yet. Feeling helpless, you bet. At least the phones are still working.

  7. Lisa Taylor

    What a beautiful piece of work thank you for sharing this I am sharing with others

  8. Mikki Calm

    Thank goodness someone invented the boot. The old casts are archaic instruments of torture to be placed in Madam Tussauds chamber of horrors!

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