Wednesday, March 26, 2008

March 26, 2008

It’s time for BBB Update, with your anchors Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey:

TINA: Look out world, the trach tube was removed late this morning, and Bob Boze Bell can talk again. His first words were, “Did you get all this on video?”

JIMMY: Doctors say that if he has a good night on Wednesday, he can go home Thursday. They have also been treating a minor infection in one lung, and they want to make sure he is “just right” before releasing him.

TINA: He still seems to be having some memory issues as well, Jimmy, which the doctors also say is “normal.” Friends believe this is the first time the words “normal” or “just right” have ever been used in a sentence referring to Bob.

* * * * * * *

OK, enough. Except for the punch lines, all of this is true. Bob and Kathy probably will get to go home tomorrow.

Since I started writing these updates, Kathy’s instructions, later seconded by Bob, were that I keep them light. I have done my best, but there are some things—like, say, your best friend’s heart attack—that are hard to make amusing.

One day, when Bob’s mind is clear again, there are things the historian in him will want to know. And so here are a few other tidbits and personal musings today:

Linda and I went back to Kingman yesterday afternoon. Even though Kathy and Deena have done a great job keeping us posted several times a day, my motives were selfish: I needed to see him again.

Got there about 2:30 p.m. and, pardon the cliche, he was a sight for sore eyes. He seemed pretty alert, but obviously drained, and the trach tube still made it difficult for him to communicate. I gave him a copy of yesterday's blog, which he read slowly, chuckling a few times before laughing out loud and wanting to know if Kathy really said that the Exits' practice Saturday was so bad that it gave him a heart attack. I assured him she had said so.

Kathy was back at the hotel, trying to get some much-needed sleep and Deena had everything under control. She is a copy of her mom in so many ways and for that we are all thankful. Let there be no doubt about this family's devotion. At the emergency room Saturday, when all was still very much in doubt, Kathy was talking with one of the doctors about Bob's family history. I wasn't there, but I am putting this in quotes to give you the full effect: "His dad died from a heart attack at 78, but my husband is only 61. I figure that I am still entitled to at least 15 more good years with this man so you better fix him."

Yesterday, Bob wanted to know about what had happened. I wanted to keep it light, so I started to tell him about the party. I could see he was irritated. He wanted to know everything that happened Saturday, including the heart attack, and it was clear that he had little recall of much after he and Kathy left to go to Kingman on Friday afternoon. I filled him in. He winced at times, but mostly smiled. He insisted that I keep updating his blog. I insisted that he damned-well better get healthy soon as I had far more important things to do.

He seemed particularly pleased at a comment late Saturday afternoon from his former Smokey band mate Larry Archer. We were sitting at the Elks, fearful of Bob's fate and trying to figure out whether we should cancel the party. Larry had come from Santa Cruz, California, to play Saturday even though he only knew two of the nine Kingman musicians he would be playing with. He came for Bob and Mike Torres, knowing how important it was for them. Larry, like the rest of us, was stunned and only wanted to do whatever Kathy and Deena wanted.

"Maybe we need to look at it this way," Larry said. "Tonight would be a great rehearsal for the even bigger party we will throw when Bob gets well."

Yes we will. But we probably won’t play “Wipeout.”

* * * * * * * *

P.S. ---Kathy reported this morning that Bob didn’t remember that we had visited him yesterday.

P.P.S. ---After seeing Bob and Deena, we stopped at the Cracker Barrel for an early dinner. In Bob and Kathy’s honor, we both had the country fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. It is his favorite meal, besides Mexican food, and no one cooks it better than the lovely Ms. Radina. ($25, including tip, house account.) Later, on the way out of town, I got an iced tea at Starbuck’s. ($2.50, including tip, Exits Exit account.)

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