1669. Crossing the river
© Bruce Goodman 17 November 2019

When the specialist told Gladys that her left leg would have to be amputated, she wasn’t at all pleased. “It’s gangrene,” said the doctor. “It’s gangrene in the toes. There’s no other way for survival than amputation.”

Golly gosh! Gladys was struck dumb. She’d had that leg all her life, she said. And then she laughed. What a silly thing to have said! “Well doctor, you probably don’t realize but I’ve had these legs all my life.”

Somehow the absurdity of her reaction diffused the shock a little. “And when doctor will this happen?”

“This afternoon,” said the doctor. “The sooner the better.”

“But I’ve got my car parked in the hospital car park,” said Gladys, as if that was a reason to forego immediate amputation. Somehow Gladys had imagined that she would get a month or so at home pottering in the garden and doing this and that before being rendered half-legless. It was not to be. The afternoon came and went. Gladys’s leg went too.

All that was two years ago. These days she’s back at home as happy as a sand-boy. Some things are a bit tricky for her to do, but as Gladys said to her doctor: Sometimes you have to swim the alligator-infested river to get to the safety of the other side.

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