Four weeks ago, on a Thursday morning at around 6:30 a.m., my accident occurred. This Thursday morning, like the last four, it’s hard not to wonder why it happened. How did an ordinary Thursday go so wrong?
Happily, in three weeks, I intend to walk and in three months, I’ll be 100% back to normal!
In the meanwhile, my mind, helped by narcotic pain pills, has been dredging up childhood memories that were long forgotten. When I was eight, my father had a heart attack, caused by a congenital narrowing of an artery leading to his heart. In those days, the treatment for a heart attack was oxygen, bed rest, and a low-sodium diet. Heart surgery didn’t exist.
My father had a garment factory in downtown Los Angeles, which made fancy dresses and pant suits for Saks, J.C. Penney, and other department stores. After his heart attack, my mother ran the factory until it could be sold months later. My brother and I alternated staying home from school and taking care of my father. For the most part, we probably watched TV and occasionally got him something to eat.
That summer, we were sent to a day camp at a local college. The camp was a front for a nationwide study on children’s fitness. Along with participating in many activities like swimming, gymnastics and kickball, we were weighed, measured, photographed, and tested for strength. The study was eventually published and reported that American kids were out-of-shape. No doubt. Princess Julie, who was highly uncoordinated and disliked almost all outdoor activities, was part of the study.
The best part of those summer days was coming home to my father who would prepare elaborate lunches. He’d cut up fruits and vegetables and artfully arrange them on plates. Even leftovers where treated with reverence.
An hour or so after lunch, we got to swim or visit with friends. It was probably the best summer of my childhood.
Six months after my father had his heart attack, an embolism lodged in his lung. He was dead within minutes of arriving at the hospital.
People wonder why I had no cuts on my face after my accident. I’d like to think that my father had his hands over my face as the windshield shattered and shards of glass flew across the car.