Okay.  Truth be told, Ferd Keeners (names have been changed to protect the innocent – nah, it’s just a nickname I have for Ken Frieders) did not break my leg.  It was the culmination of teens fucking around.

It was the first day of Christmas vacation my senior year of high school, and I attended a party.

Now, you have to understand the party was hosted by Jon Hubbard, the son of a Wesleyan Minister, in their home, next to his father’s church.  This was a fun party, but it was also a no-nonsense party.

So being teens, we have to find our own trouble to get into, right?

Oh, to be young and stupid again.

Anyhow, the party was breaking up and Ken was heading home, but Peggy Dennis (nee Pack) and I objected, and we went out to where Ken was behind the wheel of his Mom’s station wagon.  We opened the tailgate – it was one of those that didn’t flip down – it was one that opened like a regular door, and we sat on the back of the car in our attempt to make Ken stay.

Ken warned us – repeatedly – that he was going to start the car (he did), and that he was going to back up (he did).

The thing was, it was winter in Michigan, and Ken hit a patch of ice, and the car skidded backward, into the corner of the church – forcing the tailgate door shut.

Fortunately 3 of our legs were pushed backwards into the car.

However, 1 of my legs was not so fortunate.

I have noted that when faced with a true crisis, my emotions automatically shut down.  It’s a very good survival skill.

My first thought was, I’ve been seriously injured at a party of teenagers and if I panic I could die.

Instead of screaming, I bit into the (vinyl) upholstery of the back seat.

The kids at the party, called an ambulance and my parents.

One of them stayed outside with me while we waited for some adults to show up.

My mom and stepfather arrived first, and my stepfather immediately started yelling.

I told him to shut up, that it was an accident and no one was at fault (not true – it was my own damn fault) – and that I was upset enough without him adding to it.

The ambulance came, took me to Mercy (the catholic) hospital.

I asked them if they would turn on the siren, and they said “no,” – so I knew I wasn’t going to die.

What I didn’t know was how close I came to losing my leg.

I was so lucky that there was a doctor on call that evening who specialized in severe lacerations and he decided to try to save the leg.

I had one break in the leg, and 2 cracks, a crushed ankle, but the lacerations were the real danger – they basically encircled my leg in a spiral and at some points were down to the bone.  Since I would have to be in a cast, there was a big concern about infection – so the doctor had a big ‘ol hole put in the top of the cast, so the laceration could be checked regularly.

And it worked!

I was in a wheelchair for a few weeks (most of December)

Then on crutches for a little over 2 months.

Because it was still winter in Michigan and I was on crutches, I fell a few times too – and this caused the cracks in my bones to get bigger and the doctor threatened to put me in a cast up to my hips and I could stay at home until it healed; but it never came to that, thankfully.

While on crutches, I was under orders to put absolutely no weight on that leg.

Orders that I totally ignored because I didn’t want one withered leg and one regular leg, so I would ride my stationery bike almost every day to keep the muscle toned.

And (against doctor’s orders) I marched in Bay City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade – which was great because it took the swelling right out of the bad leg.

So I still have both legs.

I have an impressive scar and some issues because that leg has bad circulation.

But all in all, I was incredibly lucky.

And, no, Ferd, you did not break my leg.

The scene of my youth and stupidity:


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