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Copyright 2010 - 2018.
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
quickly, laughing at himself when he tried to wipe the moisture from his face
with his right hand and bumped his cheek with the cast. "Swift
move, slick," he said aloud to himself. Milo laughed in relief.
'Deo's mother reached out a hand and rubbed the slightly red mark with
her thumb, unshed tears bright in her own eyes.
"C'n I ge'
up?" he asked the doctor.
immobile for a while. We've been exercising your arms and legs and moving
you regularly, but you're going to be a little weak to start. We'll have
to take it slowly, understood?"
" 'k," he
"Alright then, lets
start by having you sit up," Dr. Mendoza said, nodding to the nurses who
had been standing by.
Mrs. Hollings cranked
the bed so that the head was elevated while the doctor and the other nurse
supported Amadeo on either side in case he slid. The name tag on
the woman supporting him on the left read Liza Henry LPN. Without
realizing what he was doing, he began to sing, "There's a hole, in the
bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza, there's a hole in the bucket, Dear Liza, a
Everyone in the room
laughed. Ms. Henry blushed but had a huge grin on her face.
Amadeo winced and twitched
his shoulders to scratch the itch that developed between the blades. The
doctor supported his head and helped him sit forward while Liza scratched
his back gently. 'Deo sighed in relief.
"You'll get a lot
of that as your circulation returns to normal," he warned.
"Tha' feels sooo
gooood." 'Deo purred. Too soon for his liking the back
scratching ended and he was laid gently back against the pillows that had been
piled behind him.
"How does your head
feel, Amadeo? Any pain? Discomfort?" Dr. Mendoza asked.
" 'urts a little,
said smiling. "Miss Henry, would you please find Sam and Gary?
Tell them we're ready to start." The second nurse smiled,
nodded and left quickly to find the men mentioned.
He was a little dismayed
when the doctor asked his parents and Milo to please wait in the visitor's
lounge. "Don't worry," Mendoza assured him, "They can come
back soon, but we have some tests and treatments to do and you might want
a little privacy in the meantime."
The two men arrived and
introduced themselves as Sam Fisher and Gary Bearclaw, explaining that they
were physical therapists and what they were going to do. They
were so down to earth and homey that 'Deo liked them immediately.
Mrs. Hollings and Ms. Henry bid them goodbye, assuring Amadeo that they
would be seeing him again soon and then left.
Sam and Gary began to
carefully massage 'Deo's arms with some sort of sweet smelling lotion, bending
and flexing them, mindful of the IV and the cast. The movement felt
wonderful and 'Deo began, at first tentatively then with more confidence, to
move on his own. He was still weak and shaky but he was moving. The
men and doctor smiled encouragingly. They untied the back of his
hospital gown and applied the lotion as they massaged his neck and back.
Amadeo groaned with pleasure.
They retied the gown and
then pulled the blankets down to work on his legs, and it was then that 'Deo
realized why the doctor had wanted everyone out of the room for that.
He blushed as he realized that he was wearing nothing other than a
hospital gown and that he was hooked up to a bag that... he blushed even
more deeply. Dr. Mendoza smiled in understanding. "Don't
worry, son. Now that you're awake we can disconnect that," he said,
as he gently removed the device.
Sam and Gary adjusted
the hospital gown and pretended they hadn't seen anything while they worked on
his legs, massaging and flexing them gently from the hips to his toes.
Amadeo reached from left
to right and began to scratch his arm, closing his eyes in pleasure as the
One of the men, Gary,
gently put his hand on 'Deo's, stopping him from scratching and placed his hand
back to his side. He went to the bathroom and returned with a basin
of warm water and a washcloth and soap. He gently washed the area 'Deo
had just been scratching. It burned slightly. Deo looked down at
his arm with a frown.
What the heck was Gary
doing? Then he noticed the three scratches which had appeared out of
nowhere and which were bleeding slightly.
"I know it feels
good to scratch, Amadeo, but you need to be careful," he said kindly as he
accepted a bandage from Sam and proceeded to wrap it around the boy's
"We've been keeping
your nails trimmed but you still have a few rough edges. If you need to
scratch, use the palm of your hand, all right? Or if it gets
unbearable, call one of the nurses and they can give you an ointment that
will ease the itch. But don't use your nails."
Amadeo sighed but
"Do you want to try
to stand, Amadeo?" Sam asked. "Only as for as long as you can
tolerate it. Don't worry, Gary and I will be on either side of you and we
won't let you fall."
Amadeo nodded again.
"All right then,"
Gary said, lowering the bed rail as Sam turned a crank on the bed that caused
it to get closer to the floor. "Easy now. Sit up... slowly, now,"
'Deo sat up and fought
off a brief surge of dizziness. "How do you feel?" Sam asked.
"Ok now," Amadeo
"Ok, then. We're
going to swing your legs over to the side of the bed. Doc's got your back
so if you feel like you're going to go over backward you'll be safe.
'Deo nodded again and
took a deep breath.
Gary took the boy's
ankles while the doctor and Sam supported him from the back and side, and
pulled gently until 'Deo's legs were clear of the bed. 'Deo slowly
bent his knees so that his feet were inches above the floor.
"How's it going so
far, son?" asked Dr. Mendoza who had been observing silently until then.
"Any dizziness? Pain?"
"Nosir. Not so's
"All right, Mr.
Rossi," Sam said with a smile, "Ready to rock and roll?"
'Deo smiled crookedly,
"Gonna dance holes in my shoes, so watch out."
Sam and Gary gently
helped him to stand. 'Deo felt a little dizzy and weak but fought it off
quickly. Firm but gentle hands supported him.
Amadeo planted his feet
firmly, enjoying the feel of the cold hard linoleum under them.
"Take a step when
you're ready, start small," Sam encouraged.
The boy took one
tentative step, then another. His legs felt weak and a little wobbly but
he was determined to keep going until he couldn't go any more.
He took another step,
and another, gaining confidence as he walked, supporting himself less and less
on the two men as he went along. He got to the wall, tried to turn
and lost his balance. Gary and Sam were right there to catch and support
'Deo?" Sam asked, concerned.
"Havin' a blast,"
"Let's get you back
to the bed now. I think you've done enough for the moment," Gary
said, preparing to link hands with Sam to create a chair for 'Deo to sit on.
protested. "Sorry," he said, sheepishly as he saw the raised
eyebrows on the three men. "I c'n do this. Jus' need t' turn
'round. Please? I c'n do it," he said pleadingly.
Sam, Gary and Mendoza
shot each other glances and gave each other the 'let's go for it' look.
Sam and Gary slowly helped Amadeo turn around. 'Deo took a deep
breath and walked with only a little assistance back to his bed. The
men helped him get back in and covered him up, only to remove the blankets a
moment later to begin to massage his arms and legs once again as they were
shaking from the effort. Dr. Mendoza would normally have called in one of the
LPN's to fetch another wash cloth but he did it himself, wet it and
brought it back to wipe 'Deo's face.
"Doc? C'n we take
the ban'ge'ges off? M' head's a little itchy."
"Yes, we can take
them off now, you're due to have your hair washed anyway. But you have to
promise me not to scratch. You're all but healed but you may still be
a bit tender, and we don't want you to open the wounds again
Dr. Mendoza gave Amadeo
a look that plainly said, 'We'll see about that.' He pressed the button
on the wall beside Amadeo's bed and called Mrs. Hollings, requesting her
presence. As soon as she arrived he asked her to fetch a clean wash
cloth, refill the basin with warm soapy water and be ready for when the
bandages came off.
When she'd done as
asked, he reached into the pocket of his long white coat and pulled out a pair
of scissors with blunt tips. He snipped the part of the bandage
that went under the boy's chin, then carefully cut a notch near his ear
and cut in a straight line across the top of the boy's head before stopping
near the other ear. He gently peeled the bandages off just in case
any of the wounds had opened and bled and were stuck. They came off
without a problem.
reached up to scratch until he heard Dr. Mendoza clear his throat meaningfully.
Amadeo blushed, abashed, and put his hands back down.
Mrs. Hollings approached, and with a very soft touch, began to wash
the boy's scalp and hair. He leaned into the slight pressure, reminding
Dr. Mendoza of his beagle puppy when his ears were scratched. Amadeo
reached up again and stopped when he saw the doctor's expression. " 'm not
gonna scatch, sir, just want t' feel it."
Dr. Mendoza nodded and
Amadeo felt his hair. He'd seen pictures of hedgehogs, and had never
touched one, but he had the impression that if he could, the two
would feel identical. He wondered idly what a hedgehog sounded like.
Mendoza nodded at Mrs.
Hollings who once again fetched the mirror from the bedside table, while Sam
retrieved the one from the empty bedside table as well. Sam held one
mirror in front while Mrs. Hollings held one behind his head so that he could
see the back, much as the barber did when he went for a trim.
Amadeo had never thought
of himself as a Ken doll, but he had been fond of his hair, and he worried that
he'd have large empty patches where the scalp had been drilled and the
hair had been shaved. There was only a fine growth of hair but it was the
same dark black, and the scars were nearly unnoticeable. The hair was
more sparse around them, with nothing at all sprouting from the three dime
sized areas which were even whiter than the rest of his scalp. But the
rest of it was growing and he knew soon no one would be able to see them
"C'n we... can we
leave the ban'ge... bandages... off, please?"
"I think we can do
that, as long as you keep your word and don't scratch. Deal?" Dr.
'Deo replied, approvingly.
Sam and Gary laughed and
clapped him on the back. Mrs. Hollings put a warm hand on his arm above
the cast and squeezed gently. Dr. Mendoza smiled and patted
the boy's shoulder.
growled. He hadn't felt hungry up till that point but suddenly he thought
he could manage a nice lean steak and a baked potato, maybe some corn to
go with it. His mouth watered.
"Mrs. Hollings, we can remove the IV now. Mr. Rossi here can
start with a liquid diet for the next few days. Please have dietary send
up a tray to tide him over until dinner, please."
Liquid diet?! What
on earth was a liquid diet? "Ummm, my teeth are all there, sir.
I'm sure I'd be able to chew just fine."
Mendoza tried not to
laugh. At the boy's inquiring look, Mendoza explained, "You haven't
had solid food for three weeks. We need to get your body used to food
a little at a time, same as we did with the walking, understand?"
The boy sighed.
"Yes sir," he replied as his stomach growled again.
" 'K 'Deo, we'll
leave you to your lunch and your visitors. We'll see you tomorrow and do
more exercises, all right?" Gary asked.
"Sounds like a
plan," 'Deo smiled.
Dr. Mendoza, Mrs.
Hollings, Sam and Gary all left the room and Amadeo settled back against the
pillows and cautiously leaned his head back. He had no idea what
could cause the wounds to reopen besides scratching but he was determined
not to do it.
He'd nearly fallen
asleep when his parents and Milo came back into the room, followed by all of
his brothers and sisters.
" 'Deo you son of a
gun!" his brother Dante bellowed, leaning down to give his youngest
brother a hug. "Lookin' good!" Then he gave a little yelp
as his mother 'Natie' gave him a hearty swat to the seat of his jeans.
"Ow, ma!" he protested.
"If she hadn't I
would have." his wife Beth Ann said sternly. "We are in a
hospital," she said pointedly.
"And we've only
been allowed to come in all at once because we promised to keep the noise down,"
his sister Rene added. "If we end up being asked to leave I'll
smack you myself, got it?" she hissed.
OK!" he said in a much quieter voice. "Take it
easy!" he replied as he turned to get his hindquarters out of reach.
His sister Terri leaned
down and kissed the top of his head. "How are you, sweetie?
It's so good to see those big brown eyes open again." Her
boyfriend, Connor smiled and took 'Deo's casted hand in both of his.
"Good to see you, buddy."
One by one they all
approached him and shook his hand or kissed him, some doing both. All had
grins a mile wide on their faces.
"You ate it but
good, didn't you, nimrod?" asked his seventeen year old brother Con,
grinning wider as his mother delivered a somewhat harder swat to his backside
for being insensitive. "Ow, ma. He knows I'm joking,
right Dae? Dae, me say Dae, me say Dae, me say Dae-o!" he sang.
"Someone knock me
out again, please?" 'Deo pleaded.
"Awww, come on
little brother... gimme some sugar!" Con said as though speaking to a
baby, puckering his lips and making loud smooching noises.
"I'll give you
sugar!" his mother said giving him a smack on the rear that made him bolt
upright and cover his behind with a scowl. "Now behave yourself!
Non farmi andare a casa e il cucchiaio di legno!" (Don't
make me go home and get the wooden spoon!)
Con glanced at his
father, and seeing the expression there, respectfully said "Mi dispiace,
mamma." (I'm sorry, mom.)
Amadeo grinned at his
brother's discomfort and laid there trying to get the Banana Boat Song out of
his head, when he realized then that he had no idea what day it was and
asked. An employee from dietary slipped in, placed a tray in front of
Amadeo and slipped out before anyone realized she'd been there.
"It's May 9th.
It's Saturday," his mother replied.
kids?" he asked, turning his attention toward his sisters, Gia and Rene,
and their husbands. He was unaware of it when his mother uncovered the
bowl of chicken broth and began to feed him some, little by little.
"Kevin and Keith
are with my folks." Giovana's husband, Daniel replied. They had four
year old identical twin boys who were so alike that even their parents had
a hard time telling them apart, and the boys took great pleasure in
pretending to be each other just to confuse everyone.
"Michael is with
Alex's Aunt Delphina," said Rene, referring to their two year old son.
I have to get back to the base by tonight, so I won't be able to stay as long
as I'd like." Alejandro said regretfully. He was a Gunnery
Sergeant who had been temporarily stationed at the Marine Corps Supply
Center in Albany, a two hour drive away, when he'd gotten word of Amadeo's
injuries. He gave Amadeo an approving look. "Do you remember
anything about the fight, Dae?"
Amadeo thought about it
for a few moments. "I remember bits and pieces, but... some things
are kinda fuzzy. Doc says that's normal though." His mother offered
him a glass of ginger ale, placing the straw in her son's mouth so that he
could take a sip.
"Heard it turned
into a mess and a half. Mom was madder'n a wet hen! Pitched a major
conniption fit when Cobrane called." Con said enthusiastically.
It was his father's turn to smack his son's backside. Constantin
frowned and casually made his way to the other side of the bed.
"But we also heard
that you were very heroic," his brother Gabriel interjected.
"You went in when no one else would, and you put up a good fight.
You used your head."
"Tough as nails and
twice as sharp," Milo said, proudly.
Alejandro patted his
youngest brother in law on the shoulder. "I heard that you fought
like a lion. I heard that you took on two boys who were older and bigger
than you and that you did some damage to them before they overpowered
you." They'd been asked to encourage him to remember whenever
Amadeo frowned, flashes
of memory came and went. "Yeah," he said, distractedly, "Yeah, I
remember a little. I used some of those hand to hand combat moves
you showed me." He looked up at his brother in law.
"I remembered what you said about potentially lethal moves. I
didn't use them," he reassured, then he frowned, "Should I
have?" He opened his mouth for a spoon full of gelatin and grimaced
at the taste, and blushed furiously when he realized that his mother had been
feeding him the whole time.
absolutely not. You did exactly what you needed to do. The last
thing you needed was a murder charge leveled against you," Alex reassured
his brother in law. "But when you're better, we *are* going to
go over tactics that are useful when faced with multiple opponents.
The boy tried not to but
he yawned widely before nodding at his brother in law. "Gotcha,
boss," he said sleepily.
"I think we'd better
leave for now, everyone," Natie said quietly.
"No, ma, I'm
fine," Amadeo said through another yawn.
"You go to sleep
now. We'll be back later, il mio piccolo amore," (My little love.) she
The family bent to kiss
and hug him goodbye.
"Milo, can we give
you a ride home?" Mr. Rossi asked.
"No sir, thank you.
I'd just like to stay with 'Deo for a minute more. I'll walk home
afterward. Thank you for the offer though."
'Johnny' Rossi made an
'as you wish' gesture and filed out behind his children and wife.
S'up?" Amadeo answered, fighting to keep his eyes open.
"Got lots t' tell
you. I'll be back tomorrow first thing in the morning, 'k?"
asked, slightly annoyed that his friend wouldn't let him sleep.
"I need t' know...
how'd you know that Angelo was in the bed next to yours?" Milo had tried
to speak to Angelo, other students had stopped in to see him, but
the privacy screen had always been closed and the other boy had always
appeared to be asleep when his parents and brothers weren't visiting him.
"I cou' hear 'im.
He'd talk t' me," 'Deo mumbled. "Can't remember what he
said, 'zactly, but I could hear 'im. Coulda
sworn he was readin' L'il Prince t' me."
With that, Amadeo
drifted off to sleep.
Reference to: Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) By: Harry Belafonte from the album Calypso Released: 1956 Label: RCA Victor
Marine Corps Logistics
Base Albany: By early 1954, the station was sufficiently complete with
warehouses and administration buildings to assume supply support for
Marines east of the
Rocky Mountains and in the Atlantic area. On July 29, 1954, the command was
renamed the Marine Corps Supply Center Albany. The MCSC managed and controlled
supplies at storage and issue locations in the eastern half of the United
States, the Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea areas. Depot level
rebuild operations began to function at the base in October 1954.
The base opened in 1954,
as the Marine Corps Depot of Supplies. In 1959, renamed the Marine Corps Supply
Center, it was assigned the mission of rebuilding nonaviation equipment.