The Tom Bearden

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[Excerpted from Private Correspondence]

Having a great deal of trouble with the old right leg and back injury. Occasionally having to walk with a cane. Usually after I hobble painfully along for a bit, I sort of "walk some of it out" and get the leg back into a little better bending and working. But it seems to be slowly deteriorating. DMSO also helps loosen the knee a bit. Heck, I can't complain about it!  I chopped that beast nearly completely off at the knee when I was 10 years old, and they strongly considered amputation. But then they sewed up everything with silver wire (flesh eats it up gradually) and put banana oil back under the kneecap (it was in several pieces, sewn together) and in the joint (which was sewn together with the silver wire, and had several shattered segments). I wasn't supposed to regain normal use of the leg, as it was supposed to grow back stiff. (Unknown to the doctor, I heard him telling my parents this, when I was coming out of the anesthesia, and telling them that when those pieces of bone grew together, the leg would be stiff for life, with about 99% certainty. I had a 1% chance, he said, by his having used the silver wire and the banana oil. When I fully woke up, I had a burning vision in my mind of that joint, and an intense determination that I must move the bones there in the chopped up joint and prevent them from growing together. So at night, when everyone was asleep, I would grit my teeth and forcibly move those bones until the joint bones moved in the cast, for an hour or so, so the bones of the joint itself could not grow together. Hurt like hell, but it worked. Instead of two months in the hospital as planned, they sent me home after one week, as "making remarkable progress". Took the cast off one week after that, and I started walking with a stiff leg and  crutches then.  The crutches made my armpits sore, so I threw them away after two days of "crutching it" and just shuffled that leg along stiffly, all the while forcing it to bend ever so slightly, then slowly more and more. Over the next two years I slowly regained use of the leg, and it would bend about 3/4 of the normal way back.  Pieces of glass (my leg had been chopped up with glass when I fell off the spillway of a dam) and pieces of wire, however, worked out of various places in my anatomy for the next 10 years -- even on the front of my abdomen!

So that old leg and knee has lasted from 10 to 72 anyway, and I really can't "kick" on that one (pun intended). With the four cracked vertebrae in the back in Canada in 1967 or so, that also has deteriorated over the years, with a disk gone out of the lower back and the nerves through the right leg in a "pinch" so the leg is somewhat numb and the foot is about 2/3 numb. (Feels something like walking on a sponge pad).
Ah well! Drove into Redstone Arsenal today to go to the commissary, and the guard looked at my ID, seeing the beard in the photo and no beard on me, and then looked at me askance for an explanation.  I explained I had to shave the beard off as I had become allergic to my own beard! She (the guard was a lady soldier) grinned from ear to ear, saluted, and said, "Have a great day, sir!" Course an old dog like me gave her back a right snappy salute and I wished her a great day too, stating "We're glad to have you here!" (Securing things).
Went to the commissary, then headed home with the groceries.
Just another day.  Hectic, but not a bad one. Tomorrow we charge back to the hospital to get some more tests for Doris.  That'll be a hectic one.
Y'all have a good 'un!