July 10, 1983.
I spent most of the late afternoon lounging on the couch, eating nearly an entire bag of potato chips. Grease 2 was on cable, and as I watched it for probably the 10th time, my 12-year old self was once again awestruck at a then-young Michelle Pfeiffer. (It's funny that when I watch the same movie today, based on this particularly lame performance I find it amazing that she eventually became the star she did!)
When the movie ended, I could hear that my mom had finished mowing the front yard and had moved to the back, so I decided to help out. I actually didn't mind mowing the yard and it was better than any number of other chores that I could've been stuck with. So, I went out to the back yard and began pushing the mower.
We had a swing set in the back yard. It's probably more accurate to say that we had a swing set frame, because there were no longer swings, a slide, or any of the other usual items attached to the rusty metal poles. I've probably mentioned in previous posts that I consider myself to be very meticulous when I do virtually anything and mowing around the swing set was no different. I found great irritation in those clumps of grass that would grow at the base of the poles, and I had recently discovered a way to allieviate that problem. If I stood on my tip toes right under the swing set frame, I could barely lift the entire thing off of the ground and move it, allowing me to mow where the frame poles had originally met the ground. I had done this numerous times before without any problem whatsoever.
That was not to be the case on this day.
I lifted the frame from the gound and walked it a couple feet out of my way. Unfortunately, in a moment of utter carelessness, I walked right into the mower! You've got to remember, this happened 28 years ago, and lawnmowers weren't equipped with the safety precautions that they are today, such as the handle shut-off lever or blade guards. My left foot stepped right into the grass discharge opening and met with the spinning blade.
Fear set in! I suppose it was an adrenaline-fueled burst of energy, but I sprinted around to the front of the house where my mom was sweeping the sidewalk; I got her attention and we quickly made our way to the hospital. This was a Sunday evening, and the first thing I remember telling the nurses was that I had a baseball game on Tuesday night so I needed to get this taken care of as quickly as possible Little did I know that the injury was much more serious than I could've imagined: I was sent to Research Medical Center in Kansas City, where I spent nearly a month enduring several surgeries, a couple crazy roommates, and a feeling of complete seclusion since I was 100 miles or so from home. (In my mind, one of the worst parts was that I completely missed the three-week run of Return of the Jedi at the Plaza Theater back home!) 25 days later, I was finally released and headed home.
I've lived a pretty normal life ever since. It's true that my left foot is pretty weird looking, but I've been able to run and do virtually anything I've wanted to since the accident. It's strange to consider, however, that my foot has been altered for more than twice the number of years than it was normal. It's just a part of me and I can't really even remember it being any different than it is today.
#262 July 9, 2011, Pen