Well…after going through the double glass doors the next thing I remember was waking up on the floor between the food court and the main entrance. I remember looking down and all I saw was red. At first I thought it was the carpet because the color was red, but as I looked closer…nope…wasn’t the carpet…it was my blood after all. I remember seeing the other employees putting paper towels under my chin and a couple of the girls I work with crying and upset. Something didn’t feel right.
I tried to feel my face but it was all numb and I couldn’t feel a thing. When I tried to touch my chin one of my friends started telling me not to touch it and that my jaw was broken. He even described it right than and there what I looked like. He leans over and tells me that my jaw is hanging down and that was the reason I couldn’t close my mouth. He also reassured me that they called the ambulance and they were on their way.
That was the last thing I heard and before you know it, I woke up inside the ambulance headed to the hospital just five minutes down the road from the roller rink. As I was being rolled inside the emergency room, a couple of nurses came over to me asking what happened to me. Really…my jaw is hanging down and could hardly talk, and she getting all annoyed that I was responding back. I remember that, because they wheeled me inside a room that looked like they do surgery in… and get this…….left me there!!!
I was laying on a stretcher for over 45 minutes and no one bothered to check up on me. In extreme pain, I was yelling for someone to help me when that same nurse who was annoyed walks in telling me to suck it up and continued her verbal onslaught how she was sick of us kids fighting and filling up the ER on the weekends and walks out. I laid there for what seemed like hours when they wheeled me in for x rays. After that, I was taken to a room, given meds for the pain and lights out. Woke up a few hours later and they were prepping me for surgery.
His name was Dr. Sherman and he informed me that my jaw was broken in three places and he was going to wire it shut and take three months to heal. Next thing I knew I was being wheeled in a bright room with a bunch of nurses moving about. I was giving a local anesthesia and told to count from 100 backwards…I only remember 98. The next memory was laying inside the recovery room and Dr. Sherman told me that all went well and reminded me that I will be on a liquid diet for the next four months, so expect to lose a few pounds.
I was in the hospital for about five days, so my friends from the rink was always visiting me before their sessions started at the rink. I had lots of stuff bears and cards to fill my side of the room while balloons floated above the foot of my bed. I would always covering my mouth cause I didn’t want the girls to see the way I looked. My neck was swollen and had over seventy stitches to close the gash outside and inside my mouth. I even had two large veins popping out on both sides of my neck…it was an ugly site for sure.
But I was released on the fifth day and took the bus to the hotel where I was renting a room, wondering how what was I going to do for money because I couldn’t skate till my jaw healed.I waited till the desk manager from the hotel turned his back and I snuck by him. I opened the door to my room no bigger than eight by twelve. I walked over to the mirror above the dresser and really looked at myself for the first time. My face was still swollen but not as bad as it was the first few days and the black and blue started to fade some.
But I did notice something strange about my chin, it was different then what it use to look like and friends noticed that also. I went to the rink to visit everyone when a friend who also worked there also, takes one look at me and shouted out…Hey, It’s Dick Tracy! That name stuck me even after the wires were removed. The manager’s at the rink told me I could still work there, but wasn’t allowed on skates till the wires were removed. So I worked behind the counter handing out roller skates and I was fine with that, I still had a job and that meant I wasn’t getting kicked out of my hotel room…well…not just yet.