Life has been a five-gallon bucket filled with everything imaginable. Having experienced injuries that resulted in complete loss of movement from the waist down, tissue transplants, accidents with horses, motorcycles, tractors, cars and all things mechanical, unannounced heart attacks and prostrate cancer at an unprecedented age, my approach has been; you must endure it all to get the full human experience. I’ve loved and I’ve lost, I’ve been tumbled and tossed but never anticipated the end result.

My childhood life began in a fragile state. At the age of fourteen it turned a corner and became what I would describe as normal. As time went on another transition was made from normal to “dang near” indestructible. I took extreme advantage of those years. The goodwife would often make the statement, “Good grief, he thinks he’s Superman!” It was in the midst of those years that three medical episodes occurred from which I emerged strong and with no apparent side effects. These only reinforced the “Superman” mindset.

The first incident resulted in a ruptured disc due to picking up a porcelain clad, cast iron sink with double drain boards and placing it in the loader bucket on my tractor by extending my arms out a window opening. I was remodeling the old house at our farm at the time. Shortly thereafter, every time I sat down, my legs would go to sleep. This was fine as they probably needed the rest anyway, but it became inconvenient when they totally stopped moving. A little surgery took care of that problem.

This was followed by a cornea transplant on my right eye. The vision in that eye had been lost over a period of years beginning in that fragile period of my childhood. The restoration of vision in that eye only enhanced that indestructible attitude.

Two years later one of my previously wild Mustang horses from Nevada did a little number on my left knee that folded it a full ninety degrees sideways, not in the direction that knees normally bend. The diagnosis by the Orthopedic Surgeon suggested that the skin was all that held it together. It was also part of his opinion that surgery was not needed at that time and we should just try a brace for several weeks and see what would happen. Twenty-eight years later, no surgery and never hampered by the injury.

Well, it turns out that there was a lot of things they didn’t tell me about this outfit when I hired on. It is often said, “If I had known it was going to turn out like this, I would have taken better care of myself when I was younger.” I’m still not buying into that one. Those are the things that made me. My plan is to prop it up with prosthetics. Special contacts overcome the keratoconus. We’ll brace that knee again, and hey, these hearing aids are magnificent. Who knew that the master control on volume hadn’t really been turned down?

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing Solutions. He writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.