‘Woke up with leg in the air, breakfast on chest’

from our March 2013 issue

By W.K. Mullins – Penticton, B.C.

I was born on May 12, 1926 in a town halfway between North Battleford and Saskatoon. You cannot find it on any maps now.

My father, Wilfred, was an agent for Pool Elevators in Kinhop, which was about six miles southwest of Tessier. He had a Model-A Ford truck which he took to the market in Saskatoon every Saturday.

On my 4th birthday he bought me a pair of rubber boots. With my brand new boots, I went out to the barn with dad while he went to milk the cows.

At the barn door was a pool of water and I jumped in. I hadn’t noticed that there was ice at the bottom, and I slipped and broke my right leg 3½-inches from my hip.

The doctor who lived in town came and said I would have to be taken to Rosetown. My brother ran to the train station to put the flag out, signaling the train to stop to take me to town.

When my brother got back, he and my dad took one of the doors from the house, put me on it and used it as a stretcher to carry me down to the train station where they slid me into the baggage car.

Mother gave them heck

I have no memory of how I got from the train to the hospital, but I woke up the next morning with my right leg up in the air with weights on it and my breakfast laid on my chest.

My mother arrived just after 9 a.m. to start giving all the doctors and nursing staff heck.

I was there for eight weeks. Our family doctor worked in the hospital in Saskatoon, so every Saturday when my dad went to the market he’d go and see the doctor.

The doctor always asked how I was doing and after eight weeks he said that I should have gone home after four to six weeks, but the longer I was in the hospital, the more the staff got paid.

After dad heard that, he came to the hospital and told the staff he would be up the next day to take me home.

In the morning, the doctor came in to take my leg down. The pain of the blood running back into my foot was so bad that I screamed loud enough that dad could hear me as he came up the front walk of the hospital, and my room was on the second floor at the back of the hospital.

After my foot was taken down, the doctor left. When dad arrived he was angry that the doctor had left me in so much pain and he left, too.

Dad, doctor were mad

Before I knew what was going on, dad came back into the room holding the doctor by the neck and made him sit down and stay until I was ready to go home.

The doctor was very mad and put a cast of me from my ankle up to my chin, leaving my unable to walk. It took everything my dad had to carry me out of there.

When I got home, my parents put me in the glassed-in front porch, which is where I remained until I was able to move. When I was here, I recorded the number of every train engine that went by, going east or west.

The family doctor came to see me and was very upset. The cast on my leg was only supposed to be 12-inches, so dad was to cut off one-inch every two days.

This left me held up in the porch all summer, with a lot of cast still left over at the end.

When the doctor finally came to remove the rest of the cast, they laid me on the dining room table and dad and my brother took turns of about 20 minutes each, starting at 8 a.m. and finishing at 6:30 p.m.

My brother told me that he couldn’t even move his fingers when they were done. After the cast was removed, the doctor put on the proper 12-inch cast that I should have had in the first place.