The Wheeler

Chapter Five

Of course, the trail rides picked up again as we hadn't had that much snow yet and lots of those trail riders had been attracted by the hayrides. They rode trails on the weekends and late afternoons during the week. Seven of the trail cutters had stayed on as leaders of the trail rides and between Ian and Rob and even sometimes Wayne and Tom, we had enough help to continue right up ‘til the first of the heavy snowfalls around a week before Christmas that first year.

The day that we were starting our winter vacation from school, December 19th, I had a checkup at Dr. Chris's office. It was another round of X-Rays with Harry and then a consultation with Dr. Chris right after. While waiting for the X-Rays to develop Dr. Chris did the regular physical exam and he asked a lot of questions about how I felt, and did I have any problems in my walking or while riding and did I tire easily or get sore down there where the plate was still inside me. He did draw several vials of blood for testing and soon Harry was back down with the X-Rays. They talked between themselves for a bit, in rather hushed tones, which got me a bit uneasy, and Josh and Ian must have overheard something, because they both came over to the exam table and each held one of my hands, Josh looking quite scared, and Ian's hand had started to feel clammy.

Harry left the room without saying anything and Dr. Chris pulled up a stool and sat right in front of me and put his hands on my knees and told me that he was sorry, but he was going to have to operate to remove the metal plate in my pelvis. He said that my body was still treating it as a foreign substance and continued to treat it as an invader, a virus. Parts of my body were trying to encapsulate it in bone, which wouldn't be bad, but the structure of the new bone was not even and smooth and would at some point impede the smooth movement of my leg on the right side of my body, in fact, it could end up tearing the muscle and sinew around the joint. He was sorry to mess up my school vacation, but he wanted to operate before the holidays and reduce my out of school recovery which should last about a month or two.

The surgery was scheduled for the 21st and he would try to go in at the crease of where my leg met my outer groin, where he had gone in to place the metal plate after the car accident. He wasn't exactly sure how long the operation would take, but he said the longer it took the better, as he was hoping to avoid cutting any muscle or connective tissue. He thought that would give me a shorter recovery time, but he thought I might be able to return to school in February, either on crutches, which he would be against, or in my old friend the wheelchair I had used after the accident which had caused my pelvis to be broken in the first place.

Ian had loads of questions and the good doctor told him that he had noticed me wince a few times as I mounted or dismounted my horse during the hay rides, he was able to attend. He thought I should be admitted into the big hospital in Springfield by the afternoon of the 20th and he would be performing the surgery starting at 7 AM on the 21st. He said it was difficult to say how long I would be in there, but he hoped I would be home for Christmas day, but right now he wasn't going to promise anything. He apologized for interrupting our holiday plans, but the sooner he operated, the sooner I would be back on my feet again.

It was a very restless night for me, and for Josh as well, as he insisted, he stay by my side until we were separated by my hospital stay. It was Ian, Wayne, Bill, and Josh who got me settled into my hospital room the next day, but by five in the afternoon they were gone, leaving me to sleep with a little help from a pill the nurse gave me after a very small dinner shortly after my guys had left. About six in the morning I was greeted by a nurse who was to get me prepared for surgery. She was well versed in my type of operation and she said she would actually be in the operating room as Dr. Chris performed the actual surgery. Once I had made use of the bathroom facilities, I was given something to relax me, as I admitted I was a bundle of nerves. Just before we were to leave our floor for the surgical ward Ian and Wayne showed up with Josh and I got plenty of hugs from my dads' and a sweet kiss from Josh before the nice nurse came to oversee my transport to surgery.

I barely remember that ride through the halls, and once in the waiting area an anesthesiologist and Dr. Chris came out to talk to me. As Dr. Chris was explaining what he was going to be doing, the other doctor was inserting a needle into my IV and I was soon out of it again, and would be for over three and a half hours of actual surgery and for two hours after. When I finally woke up it was early afternoon already and Josh was sitting next to the gurney I was on, holding my hand and his head next to my shoulder, sound asleep. By moving my left hand, which still had an IV attached, I was just able to reach his head and run my fingers through his hair, which only made him snuggle into my shoulder even more tightly.

Within an hour or so I was moved back to my room where my dads' and Bill were waiting for Josh and me. I thought it was nice they had relinquished their privilege to Josh to be with me in recovery and I thanked them for that after the orderlies got me settled back into my bed. Billy had to be boosted up to hug me and he had a million questions which everyone tried to help me answer for him. After a while, Dr. Chris stopped by and everyone else left the room as he began his post-op exam and dressing change. He let me look at the incision when he took the dressings off and I saw it as being quite reddish and about five inches long, right at the crease where my leg met my crotch. I would have to say it looked angry. He applied some ointment, an antibacterial cream he told me. He explained that because of the location of the surgery he had used strong regular stitches which would eventually have to be removed, but that everything had worked out almost exactly as he had planned, and he was willing to bet that I'd be up and about within a month, on my own two feet, so only about four weeks in the wheelchair.

He further explained that there were also internal stitches that were the self-dissolving type, and that he had to do some excavation to the plate, but he had accomplished this by moving internal ligaments and muscle to one side temporarily and then used really small tools to remove the screws to the plate and then gently removing the plate and the unwanted mal-formed bone encrusting it, he colorfully described it as a badly formed topographical segment of my anatomy.

 He further told us that I was to expect some discomfort from him messing around in there (his words) but that what I might feel more was the external stitching, and he was sorry about that, but my comfort level would actually be better served by using the wheelchair for several weeks until the wound itself was healed. That didn't mean I would not be totally immobile, he was even going to have a therapist assigned to me in the morning. Nothing more than a few steps here in the room for the first few days and hopefully out of the room and in the corridors by the middle of next week, Christmas Day, when he hoped to be able to release me.

It was a tough four days, and I told both Ian and Wayne how much I missed being at home with everyone around me, and yes, I admitted that I missed Josh something terrible.

They tried to make my hospital stay as comfortable as possible for me, and I totally loved them for that, and for bringing Bill and especially Josh to see me every day. Ron and Tom showed up frequently also and they even helped me finish what little Christmas shopping I had left to do. Ian and Wayne had made sure I had plenty of spending money while in the hospital and I had asked Tom if he would mind picking something up for me, something I had picked out for Josh and had ordered, but it wasn't expected to be in the store before the 23rd. I gave him the cash I had, which would cover the balance due, and he reported on the 24th that he had wrapped the item and placed it under our Christmas tree. I thanked him profusely for doing that for me and he told me he had peeked at it and it was truly a wonderful gift, one he knew his son would love, almost as much as the guy giving it to him.

I blushed at his remarks, but admitted that I did really care about Josh and I hoped we'd always be together. About ten on Christmas morning the whole gang appeared in my hospital room to take me home, well, to church and then home. Ian and Wayne had rented a mobility van for the next month, so Bill explained that he and Josh would ride with me, because the van was so cool, well, and they both wanted to be with me now I was getting out of here! I had to laugh at my younger brother's enthusiasm about my getting released, and wanting to ride in the cool van.

Tom and Ron had driven in their own car and took off for the church and the rest of us, once I was formally released and Wayne and Ian had the care instructions presented to them, we're off to the parking lot and my temporary (I prayed) chariot. The van had a higher top than normal and when the side doors were opened a lift could be lowered electronically to the ground with a platform on it and a wheelchair could be rolled right up onto it. On the platform of the lift was my motorized wheelchair from the summer, now cleaned and polished and I gingerly, with Wayne's and the orderlies help, transferred myself onto it, as Josh wheeled the hospital's manual wheelchair back into the entrance and then he came back and took the seat next to Bill on the other side of me.

Church services on Christmas day were always crowded, but Tom and Ron had snagged one of the last pews, so I could sit in my chair at the end of the pew and not be in anyone's way. It was to be their typical holiday mass and we were all able to sing along with the choir as it was, for the most part, holiday carols that day. At the end of the celebrant's homily, he welcomed me back from the hospital from the pulpit and asked the congregation to include me in their prayers for a speedy recovery. I was embarrassed and pleased at the same time, I mean no teen wants to be singled out from the crowd, especially for additional prayers for a speedy recovery, but pleased to be recognized in this big church we had only been attending since the summer.

We were able to make our way out of the church before the rest of the attendees, but since it took a while to get the van set up again for me, what with waiting for the lift to descend, Bill and Josh having to get in, and then aligning my chair on the platform before raising it up and into the van itself, there was plenty of time for several people to leave the church and make their way to the only handicap van in the lot and come to extend their personal wishes for a great holiday to all of us, and a fast recovery to me. Many were the classmates and their parents who had helped so much with the haunted hayrides, as well as Dr. Chris and Noah. Dr. Chris made a big fuss over me and pronounced to all that he thought I'd be up and about, and riding my horse again in just over a month, or two.

Our classmates asked if I'd be going back to school after the holiday vacation was over and they were told that I most likely would, if not then the week after, as soon as he (Dr. Chris) was able to remove my stitches. We thanked everyone for their interest and we were soon on our way home, where I was first escorted to the bathroom, as I had a pressing need at that point, and then we all had a snack before the tree was attacked, Bill having had a chance to open one of his presents before we ate. He was so pleased with his new soccer ball from Tom and Ron that we joked that we might just give him one a day to open. Thankfully he knew we were all just joking, and we did hurry our Danish and hot chocolate along, so we'd have time to open our presents before our planned big holiday meal at 3 PM.

We agreed that all the presents would be handed out before any opening happened so that Ian and Wayne (who were playing Santa) would be in on the opening fun. No one was left out, both Tom and Ron were included as family, as was Josh and all their presents for us had been included with ours under the tree. Those three had had their own gift exchange earlier before coming to the hospital and Josh told me that he had received several nice presents from them, including a much more powerful laptop computer and tons of new clothes.

When it came time to open our presents, I found that Ian and Wayne had also gotten me a new laptop and that Ron had placed the really big box with my present for Josh under our tree. Josh had tears in his eyes as he hugged me, thanking me for the tooled leather saddle with his name embossed on it I had to ask Ron to pick up from the farm store for me. Josh had gotten me something with my name on it as well, a heart-shaped pendant on a chain with my name on the front, and his on the back. He told me privately that he had his name engraved on the back, so he'd be rubbing my chest whenever I wore it. That earned him a kiss or two when we were in private.

He told me then that I shouldn't have spent so much money on his present, and I had, in all good conscience, to tell him I had not only gotten it on sale, but I received a further discount because we had used the farm store's name on all the printouts and advertising for the haunted hayrides as they had agreed to co-sponsor the rides with us. We three boys all got new riding boots and Bill even got a complete cowboy outfit (minus the pistols).  We all got new cowboy hats and we just had to have a picture taken with everyone in their new Stetsons, even the four dads! We had a lot of fun and then Wayne and Tom were in cooking mode to ensure that everything would be ready by dinner time. Ian and Ron took care of clearing up the torn wrapping paper, with Josh and Bill helping where they could.

I was able to set most of the table and Josh helped with what I couldn't handle by myself, and then we went to have a rest for the last half hour before we all ate. Bill wanted to accompany us, so we let him snuggle in between us after I placed a pillow between us, so my hip stitches wouldn't be disturbed. Josh and I held hands over his head as we all snoozed for the half hour.

We were woken by flashes of lights as Ian snapped shots of us asleep on the bed, stacked like sardines in a can. He told us to hustle, as our midafternoon feast would begin in fifteen minutes, they had let us sleep for the full half hour. He did help me to the bathroom before he went downstairs to help the others get the food to the table, and we three followed in just a few minutes.

The rest of our Christmas was great. The big meal was wonderful, I mean it was a whole table of things I could eat, and not only that, it was all food that I hadn't been served in the hospital! The fact that I got to share it with all the people I loved was just the best!

The rest of the vacation brought one more surprise, Theresa, the therapist assigned to both Josh and I during our summer of recovery, was re-assigned to me and showed up on the Tuesday afternoon after Christmas and we had a bittersweet reunion. She was so sorry I had to have surgery in exactly the same place again, but I told her that I was sure with her help I'd be up and about in no time. She started me out slow, showing Josh exactly what she wanted me to do because she was only going to be here every other day during our vacation, and twice a week after we went back to school the week after New Year's. Josh did all my leg exercises right along with me. She certainly made exercising fun and she told us that she had enjoyed the haunted hay rides during the week of Halloween.

Going back to school was a trip in itself. Josh wanted me to use the regular wheelchair during school. He told me that he'd see that I got to all my classes, since he shared the same schedule as me, but my dads' (I still have some trouble getting used to that!) wanted me more mobile, especially as Josh would still be attending gym classes while I would be in study halls during my regular gym periods. They liked the idea of me using the motorized chair at school. They said it would give me more flexibility, especially in an emergency, and also would allow me to get around quicker, thus eliminating the chance of being tardy for classes, and hopefully not holding up the school bus, which had the capability of transporting two wheelchairs and their occupants to and from school.

Josh told me that he had only wanted to take care of me at school too, but I told him I loved how he took care of me at home, but we could wait until after school for outward signs of affection, after giving him an extra special kiss for wanting to take care of me. So, it was arranged that our bus route would have one of the two handicap accessible buses the school department had, and since one was used for a student on the other side of town, the other was reassigned to our route. I still got to ride, and visit with friends to and from school, even if I had to sit in my own chair in the rear of the bus, Josh sitting right next to me in the last seat before the section for the wheelchairs.

The first two weeks went really well, Josh and I getting together to work on homework most nights, and both of us helping Bill with his grade school studies. One thing for certain, we were all doing well in school that semester after the winter holidays. Josh and I wanted to stay after school one Friday in late January for an intramural basketball game that was being held in our school. Coach had told us we could sit at the bleachers closest to the team bench, as that end of the bleachers wasn't an area that had a lot of foot traffic and we'd be right there with mostly the parents of the home team who were able to attend. That way my chair would be parked at the end of the lowest bench, and Josh could sit right next to me. Wayne and Ian would drive the rented van with the lift in it to pick us up after the game, so we were psyched to be able to have something different to be doing after another full week of classes. It was during the second quarter that our home team moved ahead, first by two points and again in the same quarter by another basket moving us ahead another two points.

Of course, my bladder chose that moment to make itself known to me and I leaned over to Josh to tell him I was going to use the restroom. He was in the middle of a conversation with the father of the guy who had just pushed our lead ahead, but he did acknowledge me, so I turned my chair around and left the gym by the nearest door and rolled out into the hall and over to the nearest restroom. All the restrooms in the school are handicap accessible so I had no worries there, it was just getting the door open as I knew it had a strong opening and closing mechanism at the top of the door. This was the one restroom without a push button opener in the school, it was manual.

I decided to back the chair up to the door, thinking that the padded backrest of the chair wouldn't scratch the door and as I did the door was opened from within and I inadvertently ran into the guy who had opened the door. Not hard, or even enough to knock him off balance, just a cushioned bump, but this visitor, who must have been the older brother of a member of the visiting team, went apeshit on me. He called me every name in the book and then some that even made me blush, or at least flush with anger, which I guess was what he was after. By then we were facing each other, me in my chair and he towering over me and I guess because I wasn't verbally responding to him it made him angrier and he came toward me in a menacing way and I just turned my chair slightly so he was to my left and as he reached to pull me out of the chair I used a defensive maneuver Theresa had taught me and flipped him, using the arm of the chair as a fulcrum to do so, as I couldn't stand to use my hip.

Just as he regained his footing, he was coming at me straight on, grabbing my shirt front to pull me out of the wheelchair when the door opened behind us and Josh appeared. I'll say something about my boyfriend, not only is he good looking and smart, but he is a quick thinker also. In about two seconds he had that guy curled up in a ball on the floor clutching his groin, probably trying to find his balls which I think were now residing in his throat after Josh's punt to his jewels a second before.

Thank God the man Josh had been talking to earlier had decided to use the facilities also, before the half-time whistle was blown and had been right behind Josh after Josh told him I might need his help in the restroom. Of course this was not the kind of help Josh had intended, but having an adult witness everything, from the older teen attacking me, to Josh using the most effective means of getting him to stop his attack proved to be very helpful as the guy went back out and called over one of the cops from the end of the hallway just as the half-time whistle was sounded.

It took a while, but the older teen was detained, and Ian, Wayne, and Ron were called to come to the middle school gym, so a parent would be with me as the police took my statement, as well as Josh's and the parent of the player for our team who had witnessed the final skirmish. Ron was sorry Josh had been involved at all, but so proud of him for standing up for me before the guy had a chance to do much more to me than rip my shirt. Since our three stories all matched the police placed the teen under arrest for the attempted attack, and for possession of the weed he had apparently been smoking in the restroom and the stuff he still had on him as they frisked him before placing him in the cruiser for the ride to our town's police station.

Josh and I did get to see the last few minutes of the game as our team increased their lead once again and our team won the game, while our dads spoke with a policeman out in the hall. The weekend was pretty uneventful after all that, but Josh did get to sleep over on Saturday night after I promised that a pillow would separate us in bed, thus preventing any bumps on my hip and the sutures.

Tom and Ron had been taking the fostering course online during January and once they passed that their application to become foster parents was processed and all the expected interviews, financial stability reports, and compatibility assessments were done and by Valentine's Day in February they had an appointment in Springfield to meet a couple of prospective foster sons at the DCFS facility.

To their credit, they had asked each of us on the estate what they should look for when they met the boys at the DCFS facility, and they got different answers from each of us. Bill wanted a playmate, someone he could pal around with. Josh wanted a younger brother like Bill, someone he liked, and thought would make a good younger brother. Ian and Wayne thought a boy who wasn't afraid of physical work would be a good companion to all three in that house, and when I was asked I thought for a few minutes and then told Ron and Tom about my childhood, about not having a father, or a mother for that matter, around me as I grew, so I told them that no matter who they choose, if they were willing to spend time with him, then that was what was going to be important to the boy, whether or not he was a physical activity sort, or a bookworm. As long as they liked the boy enough to spend one on one time with him, then that was the boy we would all come to like and accept into our extended family. Go with their hearts, they'd never regret it. That earned me hugs from both of my surrogate dads.

Ron and Tom, with some help from all of us, had spent months turning the unused dining room in their small ranch into another bedroom and adding a ¾ bath in the bedroom hallway from space formerly used as a big linen closet and storage room. In addition to that they had made a big roomy family room down in the basement, now that they had a dry new basement to work with, and a new bedroom and bathroom had been added there also, and Josh had asked if he could use that space as soon as it was finished. He thought it would make the perfect space for our sleepovers once I could handle the stairs in a month or two.

Josh had dinner with us as his dads went to meet prospective foster sons at the DCFS facility in Springfield. We didn't expect them to return until about eight that evening, but at seven their car drove up in front of the house and they escorted not one, but two boys out of the car, and neither one was any bigger than Bill was, which made them about seven or eight years old. The boys each clung on to one of the two men, one holding Ron's right hand and one holding Tom's left hand. Bill must have seen them getting out of the car and starting up our walk because he was the first one to the front door and flung it open, ready to be the first to welcome the two boys his own size to our house.

Of course, we all went to the door, me in my motorized chair, the others watching Bill greet Tom and Ron, asking who these new guys were, were they going to live next door? Could he take them to school? Did they like to play? Did they want a cookie? Because it was almost time for a snack. Did they want to run up the new ramp? Did they know how to play nerf ball?

Ron and Tom were giggling at his antics and when Bill paused for a breath, they introduced him to Brian and Justin, who were coming to their house for their first weekend visit to see if they liked it here and they thought they had better stop and pick up Josh on the way around to their own house. Wayne insisted they stop for a snack, so soon all were in the house and introductions were being made all around. Of course, Josh was thrilled at the prospect of having not one, but two little foster brothers, and twins to boot! Even though they were not identical, they sure looked alike to us.

Brian asked if they were home yet, and Tom told them that this was the neighbors' house and that their son Josh was visiting his friend Max and that he wanted them to meet Bill, because he lived here too. The three little boys had their own conversation at the table, while they munched a few cookies and had a glass of milk each. It was a Friday night and no school the next day, so after our neighbors left, we four Wheelers settled in the family room to watch a few programs before bed.

The next morning, after breakfast, Josh came over with his two new shadows and Bill and I went with them to the barn to introduce Justin and Brian to the ponies and horses, and the two dogs and cats that lived there. Again Bill took the lead, taking the new boys to the dogs first and they now followed the three as they stopped at each horse and ponies' stall, instructing them in how to "pet" them by rubbing and lightly scratching, which earned all three boys some licks, from the horses and the dogs, the cats seemed indifferent and aloof as it wasn't their feeding time.

Ron and Tom came down to the barn and began showing Brian and Justin all the tack necessary for saddling up their ponies and once two ponies were saddled up, they began to lead them in a circle in the barn, not something you could do very well on a horse, but the ponies could handle it pretty well. And while they did that Josh and I got Bill's pony ready for him and then two horses for Ron and Tom. By then Ian and Wayne had come down and they were filming Brian and Justin astride the ponies and Wayne helped Josh and me saddle up four more horses. There wasn't a lot of snow on the ground, only in the shady areas, like under the pine and fir trees, and the far side of the house and the barn. We rode out in the farm lane separating all the fields where we could ride at least two abreast for most of our ride and there was always an adult to ride next to the three youngest. Tom and Ron had a lead on each of Brian and Justin's pony's halter, so they had control over their ponies as we rode down the lane to the fire road at the end of the fields and back to the barn.

Once the equines were once again free of their tack and groomed, we all trooped up to our house for lunch where Wayne had set a hearty stew to cooking before he and Ian had left the house.  Over lunch, we found out a bit more about Brian and Justin. Tom and Ron told us how the two boys had been passed around from one relative to another after their mother had given birth to them and then took off with a new boyfriend by the time, they were one. They had been passed around to various relatives' homes until one day, when an aunt and uncle they were staying with were arrested on some drug possession charges, along with several other family members. That is why the DCFS had custody of them. Bill had done a great job keeping the other youngsters occupied during this explanation and after lunch while I did my leg exercises Bill showed them how to do the exercises he did while Theresa was here. After that, it was rest time for all, with the three youngest resting in Bill's bedroom and Josh and I cuddling on my bed.

Before Justin and Brian were taken back to Springfield Sunday evening, we all got to spend a little time with them again and we made plans for their next visit the following weekend. Ron and Tom were so sad when they came back from dropping them off, and Josh wasn't even in the mood to cuddle. I felt so bad for all of them. All three of them moped around most of Monday, but during school, Josh did start to liven up and, on the way home, we discussed what we could do over the weekend with all three of the younger boys.

By the end of the week, Josh had two fathers officially. The short delay was caused by the lawyer's attempts to locate his birth mother and without anyone having heard from her in well over 10 years they had tried advertising in national newspapers and on various websites, but none of the leads panned out and finally, after presenting their research to the family court, Tom's petition to co-father Josh was granted. He was so happy by Friday that even with all the relaxation techniques I used on him he was still on cloud nine when his dads brought Brian and Justin home for their second weekend visit.

That turned out to be another fun weekend with the young boys, all three of them. They spent a lot of time in the barn, with J&B (Justin and Brian) getting further riding lessons and Saturday during the afternoon we all went on a short trail ride with them, picking one that customers were not using at the time. Once the trail ride was over, we all rode a bit longer in the big corral next to the barn and we got to see just how well they had listened to Ron and Tom during their lessons as he had them trying circles and stopping and starting, just to make sure they had retained their earlier lessons.

I was pretty sore after and Ian and Wayne insisted I use the whirlpool tub in their bathroom for a while and I couldn't believe just how relaxing that was, until the three imps found me there and decided to join me in the swirling water. I knew I had pushed my boundaries a bit, but it was only three days until my next set of x-rays, to be taken on Monday afternoon after school. I did feel a lot better after being in the tub for a while, and then the fun began when the little guys decided to hop in with me. They really enjoyed the whirlpool tub and it didn't seem to make any difference to them that I was in it. Josh had tried to ask them to wait until I got out as he was afraid they might injure me, but I stayed in my corner of the square tub with a washcloth in my lap and told Josh it was alright, but soon the water would cool off and maybe he might need help getting them all dry and dressed in a little while. While Josh went to enlist help from the adults, I showed the boys the different cycles of the jetted tub and we all had a good laugh at the different variations in the flow of the water from the jets as the boys were tickled by the water. Tom had come back up with Josh and he helped get his two dried off and dressed as Josh helped first Bill, and then me do the same.

Josh helped me get dressed, but he insisted that we do some stretching exercises before I put on regular clothes, so it was into some workout shorts and top and then into the exercise room where he made sure I went through a regular workout, complete with several stretches included. I should have done those before we went riding, but I hadn't wanted to hold everyone up, and my compassionate task master gave me several rewarding kisses during the workout routines, as he felt bad, he hadn't insisted I do them before our ride. This weekend went as well as the first one and soon enough it was another Sunday night and Ron and Tom had to take the twins back to Springfield. It seemed harder on them this weekend.

At Dr. Chris's office on Monday afternoon it was a trip up to see Harry in the X-ray lab and then downstairs to see what the results were. I fessed up to my little transgression on Saturday, my going for a short horseback ride, and not doing any stretching exercises beforehand, and how I'd learned my lesson from that and how Josh had put me through some exercises after and all seemed well. He did ask if I had mounted my horse from the ground, and I told him that I wasn't about to risk everything we had been working on, so Ian and Wayne had lifted me up onto the saddle, which they had placed a high impact foam pad on before to help absorb the impact of my butt bouncing on the saddle and he nodded, saying that is what he would have suggested, at least until he had a look at today's x-rays.

Once he and Harry had gone over them, they both turned to me and showed me that everything was very intact in my pelvis, the bone appeared to be smooth where the break had been, and they were both very pleased with my progress. Ian and Wayne proved they were proud dads, and both tried to hug me to smithereens between them. I was doubly pleased.  Dr. Chris went on to say that from now on Theresa would be giving me more leg strengthening exercises and he suggested our family join the swimming center, so I would also have the benefit of the water exercises Theresa would help me with. He wanted me out of the chair now, relying on crutches when needed.

After we had said our thanks and goodbyes, I actually walked the wheelchair out to the van and got to stow it in the back on the lift.  I then was able to sit between my dads' on the way home. I know I'm getting too old to be doing kid stuff like that, so sue me, I relished the times we could be together like this, like when they would sit on each side of me when I sat on the couch, or when we sat in a pew in church together. Soon Bill would usurp me of that position, but he too would thrive with the attention of these two great guys.

On our way home, we stopped at the Swim Center and although I had heard a lot about it, this was my first time there and man was it big! There were two Olympic sized pools in an 'L' configuration, the farthest pool having all those diving platforms, even one that seemed to reach the girders of the roof. Ian signed us all up, and by that, I mean all of us at the estate, including Brian and Justin, Josh was going to love this, exercise and mostly naked guys at the same time!!! (me too!).

Comments appreciated at Art West