Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bionic Man

When I first began teaching, I worked closely with a friend who was from Boston. I saw her at Glenn's funeral and reminded her that she was the first person I ever knew that used the word "wicked" as an intensifier, such as, "That was wicked good."

I had a wicked hard appointment today.

My mother broke her arm in April and the events afterwards led to her new residence in an assisted living home. Today was her final visit with the orthopaedic surgeon who treated her break, and although I almost backed out, I went with her. I knew I had some things to say to him.

If you knew Glenn, you would know that I used to call him my "bionic" man. He had all major joints replaced except for one hip and his ankles. One knee was done twice. I used to joke that when they invented a brain transplant, I would have the perfect man. I'm glad he really did know that I believed I had the man perfect for me.

Fifteen years ago this month we moved into a house in Brainerd, the same week that a young man, fresh out of his residency in orthopaedic surgery, and his wife and  2 year old daughter did. We lived four houses away from each other. As the years passed, they went on to have 3 more children, and he began rebuilding Glenn's joints, the casualities from a lifetime of abuse in sports and ranching. Soon they moved on to a bigger and well-earned home, and we moved on as well.

But the connection stayed, and we were always so thankful for the skills that this man was blessed with, that allowed Glenn to have as high a quality of life as he did, right to the end. He even had taken up snow shoeing last winter.

I knew I would break down when I saw him, and he did too a bit. But I needed to thank him for the gifts of health and the quality of life that he gave back to Glenn.

As the appointment ended, there were no more words. He dismissed my mom with tongue-in-cheek instructions not to fall again. 

Then he gave me one final hug. We both knew it was a goodbye of sorts. 

It was the end of another part of the era that was Glenn Evans Derby. 
Bionic man.