Did you ever sit alone and wonder, ‘Where in hell have all my friends gone?'
I know I have many friends but oft times I never see them. Is it that they're too busy or it that they just don't care?
Well, this question was solved for me weeks ago. I had a debilitating accident; an accident that seniors dread - I had a bad fall.
It was then I found out how many friends I really have. They were not only friends - they were people who really cared.
The first friend to arrive was Peter Grant from Branch #26 of the Royal Canadian
Legion. Peter is a quiet, unassuming man but a dedicated and determined person. He is in charge of all the hospital equipment owned by our Legion Branch. He brought in a hospital bed, a wheel chair, cane, and walker.
Peter was assisted by two of my closest buddies - John Burke and Carl Hiltz. I was amazed how quickly they made my living room into a bedroom. And to think, I had felt I didn't have any friends.
Then I was visited by a representative of DVA (Department of Veteran's Affairs). Her name is Anne Marie Mitchelmore. She went over my case with me and promised me help, for which I was very thankful. She's worked diligently for the DVA for years and she proved how very beneficial it was for me.
Then VON and exceptional Earth Angels organized and cared for me.
The next true friend who showed care and compassion was my doctor, Dr. Feltmate.
She visited my house five times after my fall. I thought, ‘doctors used to visit homes like this, but now they are so busy that's impossible. They have so many patients.'
However, friendship and dedication were as much a part of her life as her medical expertise. The doctor also strongly advised me to go to Camp Hill for rehabilitation treatment and she was kind enough to make all the arrangements. She is another true friend to be thankful for.
As an aside, I must tell you a little story.
About two months ago I went to the doctor for a check-up. We had a nice, friendly talk and I felt we didn't need all the formalities, so as I was leaving, I said, "Doctor, you don't mind if I call you Margaret, do you?"
"No, of course not." She replied jovially. "You can call me Margaret if you wish, but my name's Mary."
Sunday, the day before I left for Camp Hill, an amazing thing happened. The front door opened and there was John Burke and our wonderful singing group, the ‘Legion Lyrics.'
They had come to serenade me before I went to the hospital.
With Natalie playing my old piano, and Thelma directing us, we did a real good job and we really enjoyed ourselves. It was then we sang and heard the old familiar songs ring out loud and clear:
‘Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag,' ‘Abide With Me,' ‘I'll Be Loving You Always,' and many, many more. My eyes filled with tears of emotion as I heard my wonderful group bring music to life.
But now, back to a more serious topic.
I must get my mind set on my injury. Many people have this kind of injury but we never hear a history of how they coped with their problem.
In my case, the X-ray showed a hairline fracture in my right hip. There is a chance this fracture will heal itself if I don't put any pressure or body weight on my right leg. So now they emphasize, ‘Do not put any weight whatever on that right leg if you expect the injury to heal.'
And so for now, I am confined to a wheel chair. I go to physio five times a week. This is to keep my other muscles and joints active. I have an ordinary manual wheelchair, which I operate myself. I'm thankful for that because it gives my shoulders and arms a much needed work out.
However, the difficult part is almost over. This strict regime was to continue for three months.
Can I do it? Have I got the determination and the fortitude to complete such an arduous task? I think I have and I'm determined to see it through.
I've arranged an incentive to help me - to spur me on - to complete this difficult task. I've acquired a calendar. I put it up on the wall in my hospital room. I mark off every day for those three months.
At this time I'd like to thank my beautiful daughter, Rosalee, for all her love and support.
I would like to thank Jeff Taylor and Loran and Frances Morrison, and all my family and so many dear friends for their love and encouragement. And many thanks to Carl Fleming, too, for connecting me with you at home.
This outpouring of love and care will surely help me accomplish the task ahead.
Herb G. Peppard
Camp Hill Veteran's Memorial Building
#4122 - 5955 Veteran's Memorial Lane
Halifax, NS B3H 2E1
Herb Peppard has lived most of his life in Truro. His column appears regularly in the Truro Daily News.