A night to remember and not celebrate in this difficult year

The aftermath of my cow encounter on U.S. 221 in Roanoke County on Nov. 9, 2012.
(Photo from The Roanoke County Police Department)

This November 9, we will not be heading out to a steakhouse in Christiansburg or Roanoke to order a large steak to remember Cow Night.

Cow Night, readers might recall recognizes the black steer that my motorcycle struck on the evening of Nov. 9, 2012, on the way home from shooting photos of the first round of high school football post-season tournament games for The Floyd Press.

Since that night, and the months that followed as I struggled to stay alive in multiple surgeries, seizures in intensive care, reconstruction of the right side of my face to safe an eye and put other parts of that area back into place and intensive physical therapy, wife Amy has helped me deal with that by taking me to a steakhouse and ordering the largest steak and pretend it came from the cow.

Restaurants are only partially open right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic and, like so many Americans, we are struggling to make every penny count, so a trip out is too expensive and unwise in an area where too many people ignore the regulations to wear masks and social-distancing requirements.

Cow Night is delayed, indefinitely — a small price to pay to avoid infection from a deadly virus and to pay for bills and daily meals.

Each morning begins with swallowing a collection of medications to deal with pains and other problems of age and too many physicals injuries of a life filled with pitfalls, dangerous encounters and broken bones.

I down two 50mgs of Tramadol, a synthetic opioid, every six hours to deal with lingering pain, a baby aspirin to keep blood flowing, a diuretic, glucosamine to keep arthritic joints from stiffening up more than they do, multivitamins and prescription supplements to add additional nutrients and two 650-mg Tylenol caplets every eight hours for arthritis pain relief.

Some of these pills come from the Cow Encounter, others from previous physical injuries over the years and some from old age. My doctor tends to end every sentence with “for your age” to analyze my health.

But I’m still on my feet — sort of — and still cover stories and photos for The Floyd Press as a contractor. This morning, I will turn in photos and a story from last Thursday’s Town Council meeting, will cover the School Board tonight and Circuit Court on Tuesday.

I move more slowly, walk with a slight limp, struggle to remember names of people I’ve known all my life yet can remember details of something that happened 50 years ago while not remembering what I had for dinner last night. The memory problems come from the closed head injury, called MBT (Massive Brain Trauma) from the Cow Encounter and an aging brain that turns 73 years old in December.

The Carilion surgeon who signed off on my discharge after seven weeks in the hospital on Christmas Eve of 2012 wrote “you are a walking miracle” on the form. My wife says I’m on at least the 23rd of 24th of my nine lives.

I survived because of her love, the support of many friends in and around Floyd County as well as elsewhere and, yes, a lot of luck.

Thank you. As for Cow Night Dinner? It’s on hold but will be celebrated when things are better.

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