The bulletin board in my room tells me it is Sunday, Jan. 29, and that today my nurse is Barbette and my tech is Sheila. GeeGee and Vera will be my next caregivers.
I'm pinned down in my rehab room 315 at Morgan Memorial Hospital TCU in Madison being well-treated, well-fed and worked hard by a dedicated group of physical therapists. They are trying to put me back on the track to recovery after a fall on the Newton County Rifle Range on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 18.
It was a required night shoot; and, after dark, I appeared to take my place with my fellow officers to complete some training. I walked out on the range, stumbled off a low step, fell onto the concrete walkway and shattered my left kneecap. Dr. Jimmy Spivey told me I did a number on it and surgery was required to restore my ability to walk.
This was not my first injury on a rifle range. Back in late May or early June of 1989, in Henry County, I was at a federal law enforcement firearms training session when they demonstrated one of those new flashbangs. The grenade exploded and a piece flew through the air, hitting me in my jaw and breaking it into three pieces. I was in another rehab room, in Macon that time.
Having gone through World War II as a combat infantryman and fighting in Italy, France and Germany, me ona rifle range seems to be my undoing. I'll be reading this room bulletin board for the next few weeks, I'm told; and, hopefully if I do as I'm told, I will emerge once again able to function in society.
The names on the board will change, but each and every day, dedicated, well-trained caregivers will be attending to me as my leg has to be kept straight and cannot be bent. Yes, it is very painful. And, yes, I am almost dependent on others to help me through each day and night.
My spouse is having her own health problems at present and is doing all she can to assist in my recovery. We are an unlikely pair, but determined to walk through the shadows into the sunshine once again. We will survive!
Thanks to all my co-workers, friends and family who have stepped in to help. Having such an extended family of just plain "good" people is amazing to us and something for which we give thanks daily.
I am getting to know, for the very first time, my grandson Jason Sapp, and what a great surprise it is to really get to know this loyal, loving, truly helpful human being. He has stayed with me in my room and anticipates and fulfills my little needs (like for a warm blanket over my cold feet). Getting to really know him has been one of my life's highlights.
Thanks to Sheriff Ezell Brown and my fellow officers at the Newton County Sheriff's Office. They have been there for us in our hour of need. Thanks, too, to members of the Society of Former Agents of the FBI for their kind words, visits and phone calls of encouragement -- just like the one from retired Special Agent Al Brown, who called me from his vacation in Puerto Rico (not once, but twice).
It looks like Madison will be home for a while until I've recovered from my knee surgery. I believe I am in good hands and those hands will help me eventually return to my daily routine. May God bless everyone.
Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.