dad v. mower.

My dad did not get the memo about being old and sickly, I guess, so he went and flipped a lawnmower on himself. He was mowing the hilly landscape of my parents' acreage, when I guess gravity shifted, and man and mower rolled down the hill as one. At the end of it, the mower was upright and on top of his foot. Luckily, these fancy modern lawnmowers have a safety feature where they will automatically cut off if you lift your tuchus off the seat. Unluckily, my dad had disabled that safety feature, because daggummit, he knows when he wants to turn off the motor, and if he wants to leave the mower running while he goes inside for a glass of iced tea and then catch up to it somewhere else in the yard, that is his business. Luckily, these fancy modern lawnmowers also have a safety feature where if the mower is upside down, the motor will cut off.

Also, lucky: he had his cell phone with him, which he used to call the house and mumble incoherently, which my mom understood as a cry for assistance. My mother was not suited for this task, being no spring chicken herself, but she phoned over to the house next door, and from there my brother sprinted through the woods, leaped the fence like an Olympic hurdler, and arrived to lever my old man out from underneath the John Deere.

My mom was all set to take him to the hospital, but he said he was fine. Then later he got to noticing that he was actually in incredible pain, so they went down to the emergency room. That's where they found out that my father had broken five ribs and two vertebrae, punctured and collapsed a lung, and also there was some general internal bleeding. The good doctors at the small town hospital said that this was a bit over their heads, and they were all ready to ship him down to Charlotte, but he said no thank you, sir. They had to sign a form denying treatment, and then another one when they picked up the oxycontin at the pharmacy on the way home.

At this point, Mama sent an email to all of us with the whole long story. I can't speak for my siblings, but I personally found the nearest wall and banged my head against it awhile, at my ridiculous father who thinks modern medicine is all a scam. Then I thought that if he lived through this, it was really kind of awesome in an Evel Knievel sort of way. Yeah? Well my seventy-seven-year-old father rolled a mower on himself and suffered from severe internal injuries but refused treatment. He could totally beat up your dad, unless your dad is a lawnmower.

A couple of days after that, Daddy decided he was still in kind of a lot of pain. Of course, pain is all relative, and none of us has any idea what kind of pain anyone else is feeling, but based on previous refusal of treatment, let's assume that my pops can take a lot of it. But this was too much, therefore, it was real bad.

Turns out that his lung was okay now, so that was good. They had to give him a shot to help with the internal bleeding, which probably did the exact opposite of those blood-thinners he takes daily. He has to take the blood-thinners because otherwise he'll get blood clots in his brain all the time, and while that was still a risk, the bleeding inside his body thing was more urgent. I am glad I am not a doctor, who has to pick the worse-case scenario between bleeding to death inside your body or blood clots in the brain.

The internal bleeding stopped, too. They fixed him up with a back brace, which for some reason required him to stay in the hospital another night. He says they lose money on empty beds, and he may be right. After all, it turned out that he was right not to go to Charlotte, since lungs are magical things that patch their own holes, but I think that might be the kind of thing that could go either way, and it was just luck that allowed my dad to live to grump about the medical industrial complex another day.

A couple weeks later, he and Mama came to meet Josh's people for the first time at an annual fall family gathering. It wasn't even for sure that he was going to make it, but he showed up, looking like himself, the first day not wearing his back brace. Josh's family knew he'd had a recent accident, and by the way they offered seating and sweaters, it was clear they were expecting someone fragile. He was a little slower and maybe a little more cautious walking around the uneven ground, but not fragile. He was probably not what they expected, but that would've been the case anyhow, because there really is no way you could expect him.

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