I have fallen, but I will get up

Randall Franks as officer Randy Goode

Writer’s note: Friends, as a public personality for decades, I am always reluctant about sharing about any of my health concerns until I feel others may in some way gain an insight which may benefit them in future by my writing about it. Thankfully, this column is not about the pandemic.

It has been many years since I had looked so closely at the dirt, I thought, as my head pointed face down in the dark green grass. It’s amazing how “big” ants look when they are crawling around at the end of your nose.

If I had just took a hit and fell while filming a scene in a movie, I would not have given it a second thought. But instead, I had rolled over twice after a crushing blow to my left side while losing my footing working outside my home.

After a ten-foot attempt to keep on my feet while carrying a large bag of rocks, I failed, only to meet the concrete up close and personal.

Despite my best attempts, I was not bouncing back up in the wake of my close-up examination of the quality of my yard’s root system.

After realizing I was auditioning for one of those old late-night TV commercials where the lady often pitched “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I maneuvered my phone from my dirty blue jeans pocket and called my friend Dan Wright to check and see if he could come over and see whether he might think as I did, that I had broken something while doing my driveway dive.

He made it over in a short time and we soon realized, I was dealing with more than just a bruised ego.

We confirmed that my leg would not work properly and were quickly evaluated by the Catoosa County Fire Department emergency medical care response who got me stabilized. They did a superb job while awaiting the ambulance who with all hands got me moved to an ambulance gurney for transport. By now, several neighbors had gathered around to check in on what happened, I told one as I rolled by that my guess was, I broke my hip and thus began my medical adventure to Chattanooga.

It’s been about 20 years since I had a need to be in a hospital as a patient, so going during a global pandemic was not within my hopes for this year.

Upon arrival, the ambulance folks shared there might be quite a wait based on the number of ambulances in the delivery area. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. I was pushed to the first spot in-line at CHI Memorial and within about 8 minutes was wheeled into an exam room with the nurse looking after me getting all needed info. About five minutes more, the ER doctor stuck in his head and before I could blink, I was being whisked off to x-ray.

The experience was different, the personnel were wearing various levels of protective gear depending on their jobs and of course all in masks including me.

The x-ray went quickly and I was returned to the exam room with info that the doctor already had the X-rays and would be in soon. A moment passed, he was in the room, saying that I really did a job on my hip. So, within a few more minutes, I was headed to a room to await an orthopedic consultation in the morning.

I had no more than been transferred to a bed when the orthopedic Dr. Bernard was standing over me in his mask saying “I can’t operate on you tonight, I have a full schedule but you will be first up tomorrow as he outlined the choices and best outcomes in the list.”

I would like to say that the next 21 hours or so were a walk in the park, but they were more like laying on a dirt road and every few minutes a team of horses and a stagecoach rolled over just to make sure I was still aware that my hip was broken.

However, the team of nurses and CNAs that alternated with my care were outstanding and before I knew it I was headed to surgery earlier than scheduled, laughing with the surgery team, even as the Doctor initialed my left hip with a sharpie after asking what it was I knew him to be doing. I was actually enjoying the experience until they rolled me towards the operating room as I faded off into anesthesia bliss until awakening in recovery.

When I returned from surgery, thankfully, I once again was well cared for as I worked to find new comfort levels, and soon began in hospital rehab and other staff as we worked towards the future of my recovery relationship.

In all, three days in and home with a transition to out-patient rehab that is ongoing for several weeks.

I wish I could say I came home picked up my bag of rocks and finished my project in the yard, instead, I was more like the man who was told to pick up his bed and walk in the Bible minus the healing. In the first night, I tried every chair, every bed, every place I could imagine to just rest and stop hurting. None worked and luckily for my neighbors my walker didn’t have a motorized attachment to aide me in checking outside my own home. Though my efforts were a slow start, each day improves.

Hopefully, transitional success will come eight weeks down the road as they release me back to regular routine and hopefully any of the lingering pain is subsided.

Key Lesson: Life can change in a moment’s notice and I am not sure-footed as a mountain goat.

Key Blessings: God’s gifts through Community Friends, my Ringgold United Methodist Church family, and Extended Family, make life easier by their prayers and support when you find you cannot do for yourself.

Greatest Stride: Each day, I am stronger and I see small improvements.

Greatest Challenge: Financial uncertainty for meeting uninsured medical expenses with music and film/tv industries being shut down for pandemic.

Greatest Promise: I am all in God’s Hands and with His guidance, strength and healing, I will be better and all needs will be met.

I want to thank every medical professional, friend and family member who has played a role in getting me on the road to recovery! When I started my career as an entertainer, I moved my legs a lot in rhythm to what I was playing, so hopefully, I will be back to shakin’ a leg again while fiddlin’ around before too long. But I know for sure, it is only possible by God’s blessings and the intervention of those who He sends to make a difference.

So, for the next few weeks, you may see fewer columns, fewer episodes of my various web series as I make my way back to full capacity but don’t worry, I may have fallen, but I will get up again!

Randall Franks is an American TV and film actor. He is best known as “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” a role he performed on NBC and CBS from 1988-1993. He is a friend of Courier publisher Jim Clark.

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