Archival photo from David Kann, circa 1987

Ok, over a week has passed since Dixie’s latest mishap and I think he has cooled down enough to allow me to discuss in this public forum. I will start with this email from David Kann, which sums things up pretty well:

I will tell you as he told me…

Buddy was riding his bike down a steep hill.
He was behind Wendy’s on Browns Hill Road.
He wanted to see how fast he could go.
He does not know why…but that is his recollection.
He got up to 25.5 mph before hitting a pot hole, tumbling and falling on his face.
He had a helmet on
He has a lot of bruises, cuts and scrapes.
He tore his rotator cuff.
He has been advised to go to a doc in NYC for surgery
He doesn’t want to spend the money.

This I believe confirms all of my expressed concerns about his reckless erratic behavior while skiing (on a prosthetic hip and remodeled lower spine).

He will tell you that his biking accident and his skiing are entirely unrelated… I will tell you that they are not and that someone needs to have an adult to adolescent talk with him before he gets hurt again.

I can’t be the one since I am an adolescent also and he and everyone else knows it.

Ok, this is a lot to digest. So let me start at the beginning. For those of you who don’t know Pittsburgh, Browns Hill Road is a steep mother. Think of the steepest hill you’ve seen in San Francisco and take about 15% off, I’d say.

He has relented and is having surgery in South Carolina of all places in a couple of weeks. The New York guy couldn’t get him in for a lot longer. I guess no one tears their rotator in Pittsburgh. His left arm is in a sling and he can’t really use it. I’m not sure how or if he is playing trumpet.

Another thing to note is that he was on his way to visit his friend Itzy in a rehab hospital. He went into Wendy’s, washed himself up, had his visit – and rode home, which is probably 6-7 miles. I was incredulous when he told me this, since it was the next day and he fairly house-ridden and in terrible pain.

“You rode home?”

“Yeah. Why not? I can’t raise my arm but you don’t need to do that to ride a bike.”

Now this insane machismo is key to understanding all the rest. On one level, DK is surely right and it is insane to imagine a 71-year-old guy with enough newly made and implanted parts to rival Steve Austin deciding to ride his bike as fast as he could down an alley behind the Browns Hill Road Wendy’s (where I often had lunch with Ice and Eddy Krifcher while skipping school, btw).

But it is the same sort of adolescent temperment and never-say-die machismo that has allowed him to recover from all of these surgeries and abuses to his body in the last six or seven years. How do you separate them all out from one another? I don’t think you can. I’ve been to Pirates game with him still having a catheter just days after major surgery twice in the last five years. No one else would do that, and I think that get-up-and-go is a big part of his recovery process.

To paraphrase Popeye, he is what he is. Like a Great White shark, he can’t quit moving. So I say keep swimming, Dixie — but use your head at least every once in a while.

4 replies
  1. Dave Kann MD...age 14
    Dave Kann MD...age 14 says:

    NO….YOU KNOW MUSIC AND SPORTS AND PARENTING AND A LOT OF THINGS…I KNOW MEDICINE.
    PLENTY OF PEOPLE RECOVER FROM THOSE OPERATIONS EVERY DAY AND IF THEY DID NOT…DOCTORS WOULD NOT BE DOING THEM.
    AGREED…HE RECOVERS QUICKLY BUT LET ME REMIND YOU HOW QUICKLY RUDY RECOVERED FROM HIS HEART SURGERY AT 80.

    PERHAPS I WAS GENEROUS….THAT IS BY GIVING HIM ADOLESCENT STATUS….LETS USE THIS ANALOGY…

    YOU SPEND TIME WITH AN ADORABLE 3 YEAR OLD…..CUTE…SEDUCTIVE…FEARLESS…ALL THE THINGS THAT MAKE KIDS SO GREAT…AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU CAN SAY…HE IS WHAT HE IS….

    BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT IF YOU SEE HIM WALKING INTO TRAFFIC OR NEAR A FIREPLACE THAT YOU WOULD….A) WALK WITH HIM …OR B) NOT STOP HIM.

    THAT IS BUDDY WITH HIS PROSTHETIC HIP AND REMODELED BACK SKIING THE BUMPS AND THE STEEPS. SO I SAY…AGAIN…DONT SKI WITH HIM IN THAT STUFF AND TRY TO STOP HIM IF YOU CAN.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    FYI, My arm is now 2 wks post trauma and is feeling much much better. I can play my trumpet and range of motion is remarkably improved. I’m going to seek a 2nd opinion in the Burgh regarding the need for surgery on 6/13 in S.C.. D.K. does’nt want to ski the steep and deep and now blames me. Thats my take on the question of where to ski. Dixie

    Reply
  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Dick – You are one tough cookie- I say “stop listening to these pus*ies and you go guy! Keep doing what you do cause look whehre it’s gotten you!
    You’re my hero.
    Love, Carrie

    Reply

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