Buddy had a strange out of body experience that he just had to share with me, his best friend. I knew Buddy was not too fond of spiders. His story turned out to be kind of tragic. Buddy ended up in the hospital due to a brown recluse spider bite on his right ankle. The out of the ordinary thing is that Buddy found that out from at least five other people directly, who had endured and survived a spider bite on the same right ankle. Who would have guessed?

The chain of events that was developing that day was, of course, unknown to Buddy or his wife. His wife, Betty Lou, is quite the caretaker, but both reciprocate their indulgence in caring for each other. Betty Lou had to take him to the hospital emergency room because his doctor was on vacation.

Friday, the next day, while both were weary of spending an exhausting night in the ER, Buddy could finally be admitted to the hospital for proper treatment. Buddy could not walk by now, and was put on a wheelchair because the pain was so unbearable. He could not put any weight on his foot.

Betty Lou spent the night worrying by Buddy's side during his first of many nights at the hospital.

Buddy finally was able to get pain medication to what he said was excruciating burning pain and itching on an infection that was eating up his right foot. The oozing of the blisters spread the contagious staph infection know as MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It progressed to become an acute case of severe cellulites.

"If you had diabetes, we would have to deal with a foot amputation for you to survive." Those words from Buddy's doctor turned his face pale. Buddy smiled weakly when he realized he did not have diabetes. Fortunately, Buddy was basically a healthy man, otherwise. His voice was almost inaudible when he said: "I do not have diabetes."

Having spent his first night in the hospital enduring the pain, husband and wife were glad that Buddy was getting the appropriate treatment to regain his health. They knew that their primary care physician would return Monday from his vacation.

However, the drama would not end yet. Buddy was being heavily sedated due to the pain, and Betty Lou made her plans to drive home at noon to freshen up and get some knickknacks for Buddy. The call that Buddy got on his cell telephone that afternoon was kind of chilling, nerve racking and scary all at the same time. His wife was the victim of a car accident when a driver darted in front of her vehicle going approximately 40 miles per hour. Later they would find out that the safety car air-bag would be the saving grace for Betty Lou's life.

Buddy was waiting helplessly in the hospital, could not walk and was medicated for the pain relief. Buddy and Betty Lou have two beautiful daughters who would play an important role in this ordeal. One daughter was vacationing out of state and had cut her vacation short to come and see her dad at the hospital. She did this without knowledge that her mom was involved in a car wreck that Saturday morning.

Melinda, the eldest daughter, who lived close by, became the beacon of strength in the unexpected series of events that also landed her mom in the ER. Fortunately, there was only one broken arm. Betty Lou survived; albeit with contusions on her arms, chest, head and ribcage. Considering what could have happened, they felt grateful for surviving the nightmare of such an accident. It was a T-bone accident where the male driver darted in front of Betty Lou's vehicle. The male driver received a citation for causing the accident and failing to make a stop sign.

Now Melinda had to make the decision whether to tell her sister Myra who was driving from out of state to see their dad in the hospital. Buddy thought that Melinda made the right decision by waiting for her sister's arrival before sharing the information about the car accident that caused injury to their mother, Betty Lou.

Today, it seems that Betty Lou is still carrying the burden of the car wreck experience. Betty Lou thought, "If only I had seen the car that caused the accident in time before it hit me." They had to get rid of the car because of too many bad memories.

Sometimes even defensive driving is not enough to avoid an accident. You do not know what a person under the influence is going to do or who is under the influence while driving, for that matter. I guess we can never let our guard down. We should always expect the worse from other drivers and be ready by driving defensively and hoping for the best.

Joe-Santos Medina is a resident of Robstown. Readers may contact him via email at joesantosm@hotmail.com.