The Charlie Bravo Story

Anesthesia IV: remember the puppies

The final installment in the Saga

The road to recovery from an Achilles tendon rupture is a long one, over eight months in a cast or boot of some sort. At first there’s the description; “tendon” and “rupture” are two words that should be forbidden by law to be mentioned in the same room, let alone the same sentence. Then there’s the procedure; after re-attachment, I was sent home in a cast with my toes pointed down like as plaster ballerina, only to be brought back in every two weeks to have that cast cut off, my foot brought up 2°, then recasted. This was to be repeated ad infinitum until my foot was neutral, then into a walking boot it would go for another few months.

On top of this was the weather; Arkansas was in the middle of a drought, and plants at the Casa were not bearing the brunt with dignity. The first to fail was my dwarf Japanese maple, too far from the house to use the hose, and I couldn’t tote a five gallon bucket and use my crutches at the same time, so I could only watch her wither and die.

Katrina had just laid waste to New Orleans, and Rita was lining up offshore to take another shot at the Gulf Coast and finish the job. The media was packed wall to wall with accounts of human and animal suffering, and I was letting them pump their sewage pipe directly into my living room, causing me to worry myself sick over things of which I had no control.

So between the cast, the drugs, the weather, the sense of uselessness, the unhealthy diet of crappy news, I was not a happy camper. I remember one particular nasty afternoon as I was sitting in my recliner, my offending appendage stuck up in the air, you know, “toes above nose, young man!”, an admonition guaranteed to drive me from suicidal to homicidal in a microsecond. I was gnawing halfheartedly on a ham sandwich as the television performed Katrina’s Symphony of Woe No.9, and I could feel the anxiety amping up inside.

Then I looked down, and saw the then current band of inmates arranged in a semicircle around me; Max, Furio, Angel, Skinny Minny, Beebe, Uki. They all had their backs to the TV, intent instead on my ham sandwich. It dawned on me that they cared not a whit what was the bad news of the day, as they had unfailing assurance that they would be cared for: regardless of what might be happening beyond these four walls, herein was safety.

If these goofy dogs could demonstrate such faith in me, who had proved myself fallible time and time again, why should I not have like faith in the One who had never failed me? “Consider the lillies, neither do they toil or spin, giving no thought of tomorrow”; at the Casa del Whackos, it’s “consider the puppies”.

So it’s deja vu all over again; summertime, surgery tomorrow on the same leg as it was back then, weeks spent with my cast propped above my heart. The drought and storms approaching offshore are still there, only this time financial instead of meteorological, and although the names and faces of the inmates have changed, the dynamic has not: Charlie, Mia, Claire Bear, Ajax and Micro Polo.

It’ll all work out in the end; if it ain’t working out, then it isn’t the end…

Happy Father’s Day from the Casa del Whackos.

Love, dad.

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