by: Marty Chrisman
Luke sat in the wheelchair watching the door anxiously. He was finally going home. After almost 2 months in the hospital, he was going home. Back to Hazzard. Back to his family and his friends. And back to the pieces of the life he’d left behind. He would still have to have therapy for awhile but no one seemed to be able to tell him for how long. But everyone seemed to be pleased with the progress he had made. He could walk by himself (although not for very long distances and he had to consciously concentrate on keeping his balance.) and his fine motor skills had improved to the point that he could at least feed himself and take care of his personal needs without any assistance.
Speech was still difficult for him and it might always be. But he could talk in a normal tone of voice now, although his speech patterns were slower sometimes and he still had trouble with some words. And if he was too tired, his speech tended to be a little slurred. But considering the fact that he had come this far when he had been given up for dead more than once, it was nothing short of a miracle. And he thanked God everyday that he had been given a second chance to live his life as fully as he possibly could. He would learn to live with his limitations but he would also continue to fight to overcome them. Finally, Jesse and Bo arrived to take him home.
“You ready to go?” Jesse asked with a smile. He already knew the answer he could see it plainly in Luke’s eyes
“Been ready.” Luke told him with a grin
Bo pushed the wheelchair out of the room and down the hall towards the elevators. Nurses and aides stopped him to say goodbye. They had all come to know the Duke family and they were all fond of Luke. He had proved the doctors wrong and been more of a fighter than anyone had realized. Finally, the Dukes made it to the elevators and left the hospital. Bo had brought Dixie. He knew it would be easier for Luke to get in and out of the jeep than it would be for him to get in and out of Jesse’s truck.
Cooter and Bo, with the help of Cooter’s cousins L.B. and B.B., had rebuilt the General Lee. It looked as good as new but Bo still hadn’t driven it. He wasn’t sure if or when he ever would again. It was parked in the barn back at the farm.
Jesse got into the back seat of the jeep and Bo helped Luke get into the front. Then he folded up the wheelchair and put it behind the back seat. Even though Luke could walk on his own, the wheelchair was just a precaution that could be used if he needed to.
As Bo pulled into the traffic and headed for the interstate and home, Luke felt moment of panic and struggled to keep it under control. Sensing how Luke felt, Bo glanced at him and slowed down but he could tell that Luke was still anxious and apprehensive about being in a car again. But after what he had been through, even if he couldn’t remember the accident and probably never would, that was to be expected. Bo took it slow and easy all the way back to Hazzard.
As the familiar landmarks came into sight, Luke smiled happily. He was home again and it had never felt so good. The air seemed fresher, the colors brighter. Luke felt his spirits beginning to lift the closer they got to the farm.
When they pulled into the barnyard, Daisy came running out of the house to greet her oldest cousin with a big hug and a kiss. It felt so good to have him back home again. Bo took Luke’s arm to help him into the house “Can…..myself.” Luke told him in a fiercely determined voice, shaking loose from Bo’s hand. With a stubborn set to his jaw, Luke made his way to the house. He had a little trouble getting up the steps to the back porch but he made it. Jesse and Bo stood watching him with both anxious, yet proud eyes.
When they got into the house, Luke slumped down at the kitchen table. He was exhausted from the unaccustomed exertion and the excitement of coming home. He smiled his thanks as Daisy poured him a glass of milk and sat it on the table in front of him. Using both hands to control the shaking, he grabbed the glass and took a drink. Jesse poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down at the head of the table.
“You wanna rest for awhile?” Jesse said “You’ve had a lot of excitement today.”
“Yeah…” Luke said, nodding his head. “Tired….”
“You can use the downstairs bedroom….that’ll be easier for you.” Jesse said
“No….own room.” Luke said stubbornly. He didn’t want any special treatment from anyone because of his condition.
“Are you sure you can handle the stairs?”
“I can help him, Uncle Jesse.” Bo said. Luke gave him a grateful glance. Bo understood Luke’s need to keep things around him as normal as possible. “You wanna lie down now, Luke?”
Luke nodded. Bo helped him to his feet and Luke let Bo guide him through the living room and up the stairs to the bedroom they both shared. In the bedroom, Luke laid down in his own bed for the first time in almost two months.
“Do you need anything else, cuz?”
“Okay. I’ll bring your supper up to you tonight. That way you can rest and won’t have to deal with those stairs again just yet.” Luke didn’t hear him. He was already asleep.
Luke slept through supper and was still sleeping peacefully when Bo went to bed. Bo quickly undressed without bothering to turn on the lights and laid down on his own bed. He lay there in the darkness listening to the soft sound of Luke’s breathing in the bed next to him and finally fell asleep himself. Bo slept soundly for the first time in two months.