“What did you do in life?” he asks cheerfully, interestedly, and I nearly punch his lights out.

“The last time I checked,” I say, dryly, “I was still doing it.”

He’s about 18, just entered college, determined to be a doctor some day. I think he’s got a way to go on the bedside manner, but he means well. He crept into my room, reached for my arm in the dim light of the nightstand, and is trying to learn about me as he “takes vitals,” i.e., my blood pressure, oxygen saturation, temperature.

I’m his practice patient, the practical part of his education. The caregivers at the Fortress work with local colleges to show students the ropes, and he’s drawn the night shift in my wing. Most of the students are ready to graduate, and I wonder how a freshman got into the program.

“Do you prefer ‘Mrs. Morgan’ or ‘Cynthia?'” he asks, “I want to be sensitive to your needs and respect your age.”

I really am going to punch his lights out.

“Robert,” I say firmly, “I am not retired. I have a job. I actually go out in the world on occasion. Not everyone in The Fortress is 89.”

“Oh!!! I’m soooo sorry!” he gasps, finally turning on the lights and getting a good look, “I didn’t realize. You’re my last patient tonight and everyone else is so ol…retired. I guess I should turn on the lights before I start the conversation part,” he finishes.

“A distinct advantage,” I agree.

The Saving Elmo series covers my adventures after crashing to the ground on Elmo, my replacement knee, sustaining an “open, comminuted fracture of the left femoral shaft.” It’s a tad more dire than it sounds; if my bone doesn’t grow completely back and return me to normal function, there’s a new, more painful, less effective femoral replacement in my future…with eventual amputation.

If you want to follow along on the journey, try these posts:

End goals and impossible things

May 7th, 2018|21 Comments

Getting rid of granny(walker)

April 30th, 2018|2 Comments

Jury booty

April 26th, 2018|3 Comments

Beachwalking and the denizens of the deep

April 23rd, 2018|9 Comments

Walking and the well-grounded non-gardener

April 18th, 2018|6 Comments

Learning to fly

March 27th, 2018|7 Comments

Desdemona dreams of oceans

February 11th, 2018|13 Comments

Recovery Road

January 22nd, 2018|10 Comments

V-day, legs, eyes, and…the rest of my life

January 12th, 2018|16 Comments

Joy to the World

November 30th, 2017|23 Comments

JitterDay tripping

November 29th, 2017|12 Comments

Pelican Lady

November 27th, 2017|7 Comments

Life in the slow lane

November 24th, 2017|5 Comments

Mantis lessons

November 14th, 2017|10 Comments

Mischief managed

November 8th, 2017|19 Comments

Surgery musings and kudos to Marriott

October 15th, 2017|22 Comments

I think I’m in love…with my bathroom

October 10th, 2017|8 Comments

Chirurgia interruptus

September 28th, 2017|11 Comments

Inaccessibly accessible: When ADA compliance really isn’t

September 27th, 2017|7 Comments

Happy Crashiversary, Elmo

September 18th, 2017|19 Comments

So how did you break your leg?

August 10th, 2017|2 Comments

View from the mountain

August 4th, 2017|4 Comments

The ravell’d sleeve of care…

July 26th, 2017|6 Comments

Test: Can you spot the cripple?

July 22nd, 2017|14 Comments

Zeroing in and leveling out

July 20th, 2017|34 Comments

Femurs, accessibility, and Utah: Saving Elmo II

July 16th, 2017|14 Comments

Tripping the light surgical: Saving Elmo II

July 14th, 2017|12 Comments

Wheelchair traveler…

July 12th, 2017|7 Comments

Filling up on sweetness, with fragility

July 6th, 2017|8 Comments

Saving Elmo: Sometimes the bear eats you

June 26th, 2017|17 Comments



  1. BRENDA ALBERT April 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm - Reply

    Wonderful!!!Hopefully someone will educate him in the fine art of conversation before they let him out on the world!

  2. ellen abbott April 2, 2017 at 6:57 am - Reply

    I think I’d have had a few words with him myself.

  3. Colleen Bell April 1, 2017 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Hoping you are doing well and your time at the fortress is winding down soon!

  4. kathryncecelia April 1, 2017 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    LOL… 18 you say? I have clothes older than him… oh, that I still wear from time to time. (Not easily dated, classical you might say…)

  5. tbachblog April 1, 2017 at 8:07 am - Reply

    A “Classic!”

Comments welcome! (thanks)

%d bloggers like this: