Last Thursday was a beautiful sunny day in Kalamazoo until… Coming the 100 miles from Ann Arbor, I dropped Kathy at River Street Flowerland (1) where’s she’d buy her own Nessie and learn how to stuff it with foliage. She’d become enamored with the topiaries she saw in Bronson Park the previous week and the chance for a private lesson accounted for the quick trip back. I wandered the 20 minutes over to NW Kalamazoo Township to have lunch at Old Goat Tavern with VHS classmates Rollo and Tom. The trip back through twisty streets found Rollo’s description accurate until I hit Market, home of the many rows of greenhouses that make up Kalamazoo’s bedding plant industry. Signage was meager and I’d forgotten which one was Kathy’s. I pulled into the intersection of Market and River hoping my Jeep would lead me there. Instead, I heard and felt the impact before I ever saw the responsible truck. The result wasn’t pretty.
Except for being a little dazed with a bit of a backache, I was fine. Kathy was less than a half block away from the accident. She heard the crash, then walked out to see others doing the same to take a gander, saw the mangled car and recognized it as ours. She came running over and was expecting the worst, relieved that I popped out even before the firemen got there. They got me on a stretcher into the ambulance while Kathy gathered up contents of the car. She joined me, sitting up front, as we pulled out to Bronson. She quickly had ‘em going with her NASA schtick. Wadda girl. The afternoon in their ER was mostly boring. I emerged with diagnoses of a fractured vertebra (T9, 3 from the bottom of the thoracic spine) as well as recognition of a spinal condition called D.I.S.H. (“diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis”(2,3)) – very common, especially in the elderly – in which the ligaments attaching vertebrae turn to bone and allow much less motion. Immobile bone loses density, so the vertebrae can become osteoporotic. The CT found I had 2 other partially compressed vertebrae. So, I guess I know where that 2 ½ height loss came from (used to be 6’8”, recently measured as 6’5 ½”). The condition is painless and there’s nothing much to do for it other than to tend to those things that preserve and promote bone density. Nothing life-changing here. I’ve had 2 Motrin (one in the ER), 2 beers @ Bell’s, and part of nice bottle of vino (Poggio del Moro Rosso Toscany) to quiet things down. I slept well and Kathy and I got up early Friday morning and walked around the mall and Bronson Park with no problem. Just have to be a little cautious when I change positions.
Mainly, I get concerned that I’ll be about $60K poorer when this is all through. We’d just sunk close to $10K into our beloved ’11 Patriot, hoping that replacing tires and its rusted-out frame would give us a few more years of service while we save up for that 4-door Jeep Wrangler soft-top we’ve been eying. With inflation like it is we’ll save money if we get it sooner rather than later, plus we’ll still be able to get one with an internal combustion engine.
But overall, the feeling is not as expected. I actually feel kinda elated.
As Churchill wrote: “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” (4)
And as Prine sang (5).
It could have been worse.
- River Street Flowerland. https://riverstreetflowerland.com/workshop/
- Mayo Clinic. Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diffuse-idiopathic-skeletal-hyperostosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371661
- Luo TD, Varacallo M. Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis. StatPearls (Internet). 5/1/22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538204/
- Churchill WS. The Story of the Malakand Field Force. London: Longmans, Green, and Company, 1901
- Prine J. The Accident (Things Could be Worse). YouTube 8/18/14. Track 9 on Sweet Revenge (Atlantic), released 10/1/73. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd9RTTGq1eY