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                                                                           JOURNAL ENTRY #166  

In the early summer of 1953, I was playing second base for the South Philadelphia Quakers in a one-run game when the batter lifted a fly into short center field. I took off after it, watched it settling in over my right shoulder, and woke up in the St. Agnes Hospital on South Broad Street. I'd collided with Windy Boykins, our centerfielder. Windy was only mildly injured, fortunately. It was the centerfielder's call, and I'd lost focus. I came out of it with a concussion. The odd thing about it was that I couldn't remember any part of how I got into my hospital bed. Not only did I not recall the game, I couldn't remember anything for the previous five or six days. My memory came back eventually, one day at a time. Though that final afternoon remained elusive for weeks. I remember lying on the field, but cannot recall the ride to St. Agnes.

I would not visit another hospital as a patient until last week. My right hip had begun making trouble and I was informed that replacement was my best option. So okay. Let's do it. I didn't want to go limping through the rest of my life.

My stay at Brunswick Medical, according to my doctor, would last two or three days. And I was actually looking forward to it. Take some light reading, relax, and turn it into a vacation. Scott Ryfun, a local talk show host, was aware of the long friendship I had with Clark Kent, so he'd presented me with a copy of Tom DeHaven's 2005 novel, It's Superman! I've been a lifelong Holmes fan, so I also took along The Secret Cases of Sherlock Holmes, just in case I ran through the Superman book too quickly.

I went in Wednesday morning, July 23, got some advance medication, was wheeled into the operating room where several doctors and nurses said hello. Then the lights went out again, although fortunately there was no accompanying bump on the head. Then I was back in my room with Maureen telling me everything had gone fine. I'm not sure I knew what she was referring to.

As promised, they released me Friday.

During those two days, I was medicated, and can't recall much except that at one point when I tried to get out of my bed and onto a walker, it hurt. Turns out nobody was surprised except me. The books never got opened. I was able to watch the TV news reports though of the ongoing battle in Gaza, which reminded me again of the things we take for granted. Like being able to undergo surgery without worrying that someone will drop a rocket on the hospital. The TV scribes are a bit more divided this time than they've been in the past over who's at fault. I can't help thinking that, as I've mentioned before, we might possibly be able to solve the Middle East problem by putting mothers in charge on both sides. That question aside, I can't help wondering how many of the weapons being used in this struggle were manufactured by U.S. corporations.

Anyhow, I've been back home for a week. Healing nicely. A fair amount of my time is taken by exercise routines. I still have a way to go, however.

I'll finish the Superman book tonight, which I enjoyed far more than I expected to. Have read some of the Holmes collection. And last night I ordered Lyn McConchie's Sherlock Holmes: Repeat Business from Amazon. Lyn's a good friend with a deft writing touch and I'm anxious to see what she's done with the great detective.

In case anyone thinks I'm really just taking it easy: I'm also working on the Ancient Shores sequel, and the Coming Home proofs arrived yesterday.

Also, I'd be remiss not to say something about the numerous readers and friends who took time to wish me well during this period. It helped me get through with a minimum of discomfort. It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when so many people are cheering for you--