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The father was in intensive care at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. This was eight years ago. The accident on the Vermont Avenue on-ramp of the Santa Monica Freeway had just about killed him. The Jaws of Life had been used to pull him from the wreckage of his expensive sports car. Doctors had operated on him for three hours, removing pieces of skull that had been pushed into his brain. More operations would follow.
"He's resting," the doctors reported to his wife, Jackie.
"Who's with him?" she replied.
"He's strapped to the bed," the doctors said. "There's a nurse down the hall. Checks him all the time."
"There should be someone with him," she said.
"No, no. He's fine."
"You don't know him."
The father awoke. Where was he? He is not sure now what thought processes were taking place. Maybe none. Maybe he was just working on instinct. All that is certain is that he wanted to go home. He was held down by straps. An assortment of IV tubes and electric monitors was attached to his body. What was all this? He wanted to leave. He started rocking the bed, rocking and rocking until somehow the bed was flipped straight up and he was standing, standing with the bed strapped to his back. He was going home.
"I started walking," he says. "I was all right for three or four steps. Then I got to the door. The bed was too tall. It hit the top of the doorway, and I went crashing back, the bed and me, everything. They came in, found me on the floor. That was when they discovered I also had a broken leg. There were so many other injuries they had to take care of that they hadn't even spotted the broken leg."
The father, Ken Norton, can be a stubborn man.