This piece could also be called the luckiest, unlucky guy I know …
Billy Bob is puritan in his work ethic. He much prefers physical activity, does not like to sit still; he is always puttering around doing something even on his time off work. Over his career, he has had the opportunity to work in the office; to estimate and close deals. He tried it; he hated it and went back into the field as fast as he could. No more two-hour lunches to hash out deals while other people REALLY worked … (no offense all you desk jockeys, me being one myself)
My personal experience is that some judge that his trade is somehow less than. Less than what ?!?! Pisses me off. Words cannot describe how practical having him around is … He is super resourceful. Yes that’s a good word to describe him – resourceful. So unfortunate to be judged! Fortunately there are those loving souls out there who do NOT judge. Good thing there is room in the world for diversity. We can’t all be MBAs. Not to diminish academia or white-collar work either; I am just pointing out that one is NOT better than the other – they are just different.
Mini-side bar aka rabbit hole … my nephew is a 17-year-old high school senior. He wants to be an auto mechanic. My mother in law is horrified (her words not mine). I am like “Are you freaking kidding me that is AWESOME!!!” That is the career his mom (before she died) told him she wished for him because he was naturally mechanically inclined. Of course why should I expect anything different, the mother in law did the same with her two boys – Billy Bob’s brother by default was better – with college degree and job in the state attorney general’s office while Billy Bob was a lowly laborer (again her words not mine). WTF, I mean really. Billy Bob is a sweetheart; super talented … not better just different. He was a part of the enormous crew that restored the TX state capitol. He was the freaking Michelangelo of plaster-work, creating beautiful ornate plaster moldings on the domed ceiling. Who can do that? Not many! A dying art unfortunately. Who will the next generation of plasterers be??? … And scene … out of the rabbit hole, hopping along …
Back to the unfortunate events … there are three and here I will divert some from chronological order … 1994 is next then adding 2013 and 2014 before going back to 1996-1998 in future editions.
Unlucky #1 – The summer when Billy Bob was working on the capital, they took time off for the 4th of July – 1994. I wanted to go to the movies but the so called summer blocker busters were not very good that year. Plus have I told you? He can’t sit still; movies are not really his thing. So instead, we were cleaning house. This was before Lulu was born and Pony Boy was done with his room so he was outside playing in his fort.
Our stove had a row of candles on the top in various states of melt. Billy Bob was cleaning out the candle holders with a steak knife … you already know what’s going to happen right?? Not his brightest moment. He broke the candle holder and the steak knife pierced the tendon in his left hand. Blood squirted everywhere. I was across the hall cleaning the bathroom and I hear “Jill, come here” He doesn’t panic, he calmly walks to the drawer pulls out some kitchen dish towels, wraps his hand and says, “get Pony Boy, we’re going to the ER”.
SE Baptist Hospital … again … a place jammed packed with all kinds of memories for us. It’s a holiday and maybe more the usual, we wait and we wait. A gunshot and motorcycle accident go back before he does … people are staring, and moving away … not sure how many towels he went through. He would require surgery. The ER doc did a temporary “stitch” to hold and then an appointment was made with Dr. G for the next day. The lucky was when his hand was pushed back, the tendon popped out making the repair easy. Like a rubber band, Dr. G said the tendon could have popped in, the other way = more extensive and invasive surgery. Billy Bob was fortunate despite having this weird apparatus with his middle finger doing a reverse flipping the bird. This would have looked like a hook em horns \m/ but the ring finger was not involved … there was also what looked like fishing line holding everything in place. He was out of work several weeks that time and he has pain until this day that he is just used to. Me, that’d be an excuse for permanent disability!!! See people, going to the movies beats cleaning house any day.
Unlucky #2 – March 2013 – Spring break and I am working in Phoenix because it is easier than trying to figure out how to get Lulu to school if I travel while school’s in session. I always picked March and October for my business travel to Phoenix … back when I used to go twice a year to see my peeps. I miss Phoenix by the way … that particular job not so much but the people … well I miss them immensely. What an awesome group of co-workers!!!
Anyway as I get ready to drive to the office my last day there, Billy Bob calls me to say, he’s had a little accident … torques his back on the job. This is where we learned the bureaucracy of insurance. Ah Calgon take me away. The paperwork: drowning and confusing. He was at first treated like a criminal, sponge of society, big phat phoney … when in actuality all he wanted to do was get back to work. Eventually the carrier ruled him out as a money seeker and did the right thing.
Unfortunately the first authorized treatment made the ailment worse leading down a road of injections and stronger medication than would have otherwise not been needed. One particular night after the medication stopped working; we ended up at the ER around 2 o’clock in the morning – Mission Trail this time (no doctors are there by the way; something had changed between 1994 to 2013) I guess this was evidence of the shortages in healthcare. Billy Bob was in triage, his weight was announced and he looks over and tells, me “life style changes start now, I will not go through this again”.
Unfortunate event, fortunate outcome – to this day in 2016, he is 35 pounds lighter than his all time heaviest. He couldn’t quite maintain the 60 pound weight loss he reached by the end of 2013. The weight has been creeping up this past year, by how much he won’t say (but … +25, I can count and not saying doesn’t make it not so) … my guess why was stress over Lulu leaving for school made ice cream a renewed fave. However, as of Monday 8/22, it is 2013 all over again. Certain sound lifestyle choices are being made. So far we have both been good. Let’s see where this leads …
Unlucky #3 – April 4, 2014. I am at lunch in the break room @ 12:30ish. My phone rings, Billy Bob’s face comes across the screen. I answer “hey” nothing. Me again “hey, can you hear me?”
Instead of what I expect, it’s Kimbo. Cousin and co-worker. “Jill … Billy Bob’s had a little fall. He was knocked out and we think he broke his nose. EMS is with him and he is talking … sort of … so they think he’ll be okay. I have his keys and wallet which I’ll keep with me. We’ve got to figure out how to get his truck from the lot before midnight so it is not impounded. They’re making me go to the office to give a statement. I’ll call you back when they decide where to take him … either University Hospital or SAMMC”
Unfortunately, the scaffold he was on collapsed and he fell about 10 feet to the floor with it. Prone, hitting like a belly flop into the water, only there was no water; he fell onto concrete sub-flooring. Immediate forehead swelling, think Frankenstein. Nose pushed under left eye. Facial bones pulverized was the word they used. Right wrist broken and various cuts and bruises. He spent about 36 hours in surgical ICU. Released quickly after the brain bleed was ruled out. He went back for various treatments until he was sprung from the pokey completely in August of 2014. This unfortunate event was why Lulu didn’t learn to drive that summer as we had originally planned. It’s why she went a little off the rails herself that September of 2014. Two unfortunate events I may or I may NOT write about in later blogs. Only to add, everything did NOT go not as planned but everything is still as it SHOULD be!
Fortunate, he was working at the St. Anthony Hotel and EMS was at he NIX so they walked over to him in less than 5 minutes. Plus he ended up at SAMMC where trauma is the name of the game. Fortunate, he did not re-injure his back. His recovery this time was aided by a 60 pound weight loss he had maintained. Unfortunate, he only has about 80% mobility in his right wrist, fortunate he has reached his maximum mobility index and he can work with that. Could have been so much worse, a slight turn one way or another and bam, wheelchair, brain injury. re-learning to walk and talk. I am not minimizing what did happen because that was BAD too … and I didn’t even unleash all the gory details … and there were facial surgeries gone bad and other assorted messes … though in the end, it is just … well as my daddy would have said … “no harm done, it could’ve been worse”
Now for the lucky parts:
#1 – he is married to ME :). Hehe, very funny … I know … I thought so too … actually that’s kind of lucky for both of us don’t you think ?!
#2 – he is stronger now; we all are … we learned what we are made of. Injury and/or illness can either push you together or tear you apart – in our case the bond was sealed forever.
And #3 – since I have known him, he wins at any raffle he enters, he has won several thousand dollars on scratch off lottery tickets. He’s just lucky that way; always has been! Maybe karma is offsetting some of the unlucky following him around … who knows?!?!? March 2013 and April 2014 became superstitious months for him … (well me). My fears dictated that if we made it through May 2015 and June 2016 then he’d be home free. Of course July 2017 will be a jittery month … you’ll see. Anyways, that is all for now except to say:
Life is too short … “theirs is not to reason why, theirs is but to do or die” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
As always, more to come …
Here he is in hog heaven …