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Lucky to Be Alive: Drive-by Shooting

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I remember ducking to the hail of bullets, waiting for the sensation of pain to set in, or see my life’s blood gushing out of my wounds. Why I didn’t lose control of the car, I’ll never know; when I ducked hoping beyond hope to dodge the bullets, I believe I pulled the steering wheel slightly to the left or to the right.


It was somewhere after 9:00 p.m. when Sherry and I were leaving the hospital for the second time that day. My mother was in the critical care unit after having surgery to remove a large section of her colon due to cancer. This was day number three, post-op, and mother was very heavily sedated so she was never awake during our visits. Along with having a surgical procedure to hopefully rid her of any cancer, she was a diabetic ,among other things, and her glucose level was never lower then 600 since her surgery was done. Though it would be temporary (nine to twelve months), the surgeon had to perform a colostomy and everyone concerned dreaded the moment mother was going to be given this news.

All this was discussed prior to the surgery and although it wasn’t a guarantee, the surgeon felt that a colostomy was not going to be necessary. Well … he was wrong. This news was going to devastate my mother. Again, it was just temporary, and she would have a surgical procedure done within the year to reattach the colon and do away with the colostomy. Besides my mother’s critical condition, I was now the full-time care giver to my father who was a dialysis patient and suffered from senile dementia. To say my nerves could be compared with an overstretched rubber band is putting it mildly. I truly was the proverbial basket-case and I literally did not know where “up” was the first week after mother’s surgery.


Mother had a very nice Ford LTD, Crown Victoria, in pristine condition. She insisted I use her car to make the trips to and from the hospital and dad’s dialysis trips three times a week. Since my car was a clunker, this was an offer that couldn’t be refused. This baby was fully loaded with power locks, doors, and windows. That car purred like a kitten and I felt like a celebrity driving it.


This particular night that we were leaving the hospital I really felt wound too tight. Nerves were shot….I was tired beyond belief….and had two elderly parents that were going to demand an awful lot of my time once mother was discharged from the hospital. Course, that all depended on whether or not she was even going to survive! It was February, so even though we lived in Florida, it was cold. We hurried to the car and all I wanted to do was get home and go to bed.


I know the windows were rolled up in the car, but I can’t remember if the heater was on, but the radio was. Though I’m not certain what we talked about, Sherry and I did engage in conversation on the drive home. Most likely, we talked about the health issues of my parents, her grandparents. The drive itself was only about fifteen minutes from the hospital to home, but when you’re tired and your head is preoccupied with a kazillion thoughts, the fifteen minutes might as well had been fifteen hours.

At some point, we rode in silence, and that’s when it happened! POP, POP, POP, POP! The sound of the bullets exploded in my ears. I ducked as low as I could while maintaining the ability to see out the windshield. Everything happened as fast as the speed of light. I waited for the pain or witness the out-pouring of my blood. There had been four shots, after all, so as sure as I was sitting in the driver’s seat of that car, I had to have sustained at least one hit. I glanced over at Sherry to see if she was alive just about the same time she hollered, “MA, what are you doing?” “Didn’t you hear those shots … we’ve been in a drive-by shooting!” I said. “WHAT?” She said. “Nobody is shooting at us. What are you talking about?”


You can all laugh now. The POP, POP, POP, POP of what I thought was a high-powered rifle was none other then my daughter unconsciously playing with the power locks of the doors. Tired, distraught, lost in my own terrorized thoughts, dark night and totally void of all sounds except the low music from the radio … her pushing the power lock button back and forth two times simply pierced the stillness of the moment making it sound like gun shot. After I wanted to kill her with my own bare hands, we laughed until we cried and every muscle in our faces were screaming with pain. It was such a relief to find out that I wasn’t shot and wasn’t going to die that night, which the humor in it all was just all too consuming and we couldn’t stop laughing.


This great event happened in 1991. Nearly twenty years later and it’s still just as funny today as it was back then. Only thing lacking today is the fright of that dreadful night…but you can bet your butt the sound of those power locks going off still ring in my head just as loud and as clear today, as it did back then.

This is a true event and it still provides laughter even today. Mother is still alive but Dad passed on in 1994.



 



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