It was 37 years ago, yesterday, May 6, 1976. My best friend at the time was about to go on a cruise to the Virgin Islands. We decided to have a drink to see him off at the local college watering hole. The place was packed, and we literally couldn't get in. As we crossed the street towards our cars, to find another spot, my life took a sudden turn.
I don't remember the fight, at all. I was told we were attacked by about 15 local high schoolers (There were 5 of us.). I remember waking up for a moment in the ambulance, feeling cold. I remember them taking x-rays of my head. I apologized, because I kept bleeding on the table.
When they told me my injuries, I think I took it pretty well. After all, what could I do? I had a skull fracture, a broken cheekbone, and a shattered eyesocket. They put me in intensive care, as a precaution, because of the head injury.
Due to the facial injuries, I needed reconstructive surgery, too put my face back together. The one thing that has always stood out about the surgery was the visit I got from my ex-girlfriend, while I was in recovery. I know that your time in recovery is always kinda foggy, but I remember very clearly that she was crying, and I told her not to.
After the surgery, it was just a matter of waiting for everything to heal, with one more surprise.
When I went to to consulting eye doctor, he gave me the bad news that I had lost most of the vision in my right eye. He was so apologetic, I don't think he expected it, at all. He also told me I would be prone to sinus troubles for life (Boy, did he get that right!)
I remember the date, and time (11:33 PM) every year. Sometimes, it's just a thought in passing. Other years, like this one, I have a more difficult time, and a night of bad dreams.
There were friends who stuck by me, who showed love and friendship, which I will never forget. I'm so happy and lucky to still be here. I've always felt that night could have been the end.
I'm going to turn 60 this year, and I nearly didn't make 23. I'm thankful for all who have helped and given over the years. I'll never forget any of you.