In every life there are moments where we are totally defenseless. We may be defenseless against verbal or physical assaults, abuse, accusations. We may feel unarmed, helpless, unprotected, caught, endangered, exposed, indefensible, naked, open, poor, unguarded, and/or weak. Where we once were a fort, a bastion of strength, we have felt that the fort could be easily overwhelmed. Some stay defenseless throughout their life. Others take charge of their lives, get the tools, and receive the training that will make them not so defenseless.
Defenseless, that’s where I was after vascular surgery on my legs and a triple bypass on the heart. My vascular surgery was first, as some repair had to be done to some past surgery and a new issue was found. While all this was happening, it was discovered that I needed heart bypass surgery. My body was starting to pay for the sins of my youth. I had the vascular surgery first, but I needed some time to recoup from that before I was ready for the heart bypass surgery.
After the vascular surgery, and after I was cleared by my surgeon, I was at least at the local gun club and range that I belong to. I was using a walker, and later a cane, but that didn’t stop me from exercising my 2nd Amendment right on some paper targets. While I may be under full strength, that was no reason for my shooting skills (such as they are) to suffer. My shooting companion and friend, Mike, helped me get to and from the range on several occasions.
Then, it was time to check back into the hospital for the heart bypass surgery. I needed five bypasses. Unfortunately, they could only find three veins that could be used, which I did not know and was not told about until after the surgery.
I have to say that during my recovery, I damn near went into physical and mental overload. Too much had happened to me and to many people (medical types) were (it seemed) constantly around me. I felt totally defenseless. Finally, I could go home and recuperate. Again, because of my condition, the simple act of raising an arm caused pain. Luckily, I had enough pain medicine to counter that, but I am not big on taking medicine.
Move forward to three weeks post-surgery. I am at home and writing this and other articles. I am far short of running for prime time, but the body is healing as well as it can. I have not been cleared for driving yet (at the time of this writing) and cannot get to the range. To tell you the truth, I don’t think that I am ready for the range yet, at least not shooting a 1911, but I do think that I could shoot a .22 pistol with no problem. It’s best not to force it, however. I know that it will be a while until I can shoot the 1911, at least in .45 ACP and it’s going to be quite a while before I can shoot a rifle of substantial caliber. Recoil can play hell on the body as it’s trying to recover from all this surgery nonsense.
Not being able to drive, and not being able to shoot, leaves me feeling, well, defenseless. Driving and shooting are freedoms that I enjoy and to be kept from them plays with the mind. I had been living with this feeling of defenselessness for long enough. This morning, as I was looking out the front window while typing an article, I thought; what if somebody tried to invade my home right now, what could I do? The answer was – nothing. That had to change. A quick trip to the man-cave downstairs, retrieve my trusty Rock Island Armory 1911 FS Tactical and a couple of spare magazine full of Sig Sauer 230-grain FMJ, and I felt a whole bunch better. The doctors say that my body is running at around 75% efficiency. I may be running at 75% efficiency, but my 1911 makes up for the lost 25%.
While I may not yet be able to shoot two-handed due to the trauma to my chest area, I can still shoot one handed just fine, thank you. If someone tries a home invasion, they just might die trying to get in and I just might die keeping them from getting in. But, damn it, at least I will go down fighting; whereas, I hope the bad guy(s) go down dying, whining, and crying.
Another week and I will know whether I am going to regain my freedoms once again and how soon. For me, it has been a long recovery time, and I still have a long ways to go. But I am somewhat mobile now, I have a gun, and I know how to use both. While I may not win the war of life, I’ll win as many battles as I can along the journey.