I can still remember…when I was just a kid….When friends were friends forever…and what you said was what you did….1988-Blood on Blood…
The band along with Paul, Trina, Juanita and Obie sat vigil in the emergency room of Hershey Medical Center.
Everyone was silent. Their faces told the story. It was a mixture of sadness, fright and guilt over what they had just witnessed.
The anger Richie, Obie and Trina had for Jon had melted into concern and fear for their friend.
Obie felt the worst out of everyone.
“I turned my back on him.” He replied, sitting next to Juanita. “This man is like a brother to me. He has never turned his back on me, but tonight I did with him.”
“You didn’t mean it Obie. Just like he didn’t mean to do what he did to any of you.” Juanita reassured.
“I couldn’t imagine what would happen if he couldn’t sing.” Dave said sitting across from them with Richie and Trina on each side of him.
Dave looked down on the at floor sadly. “We went to high school together. I never saw anyone who was as passionate for performing as him.”
Trina gave him a weak smile. “I didn’t know you went to high school together?” She told him.
Dave nodded. “Yeah. I actually met him after I heard he needed a pianist with a B3 organ, well I had the B3 and a van to haul all the gear in and that was that. I got the gig and the Atlantic City Expressway was on its way.” David told her. He smiled as he remembered all the fun they all had as teens.
“He was something then. Just like now. Man, he had the chicks in the palm of his hands, even then.” Dave added.
“Wasn’t too long ago.” Trina said. David shook his head.
“No, it wasn’t. As you’ve realized, he’s got that “it” factor. It makes you want to follow him. Do what he’s doing. When he found out that he got a record deal after Runaway was released, he asked me if I wanted to be a part of the band. I had a tryout coming up with Julliard and all I could think of is. ‘If I did try out and got in what would I be doing? And if I said no to Jon, what if I missed an opportunity to be a part of something great?’ Needless to say, this has been great. I believed in him then, and still do now.” Dave said.
Trina patted him on the shoulder as tears ran down Dave and Richie’s faces. Tico and Alec sat motionless. They were so concerned for their friend that they were speechless.
“Did anyone call Mr. and Mrs. B?” Richie asked softly. Juanita nodded.
“Yes, I did. They’re on their way.” She told him. Richie nodded.
“They’re going to flip!” Richie turned to Trina. “Carol especially.” He continued. Trina looked confused.
“Why?” She asked.
“They may like and appreciate this lovely life Jon has given them, but they’ll be upset to know at what cost. They would never want Jon to go to such extremes to give them and all of us the life we’re leading now.” Richie said.
“I see.” Trina said. “What are they like?” She asked.
“Good people. They’re like you’re parents, my parents. Kendall said you grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood? John and Carol along with Miss Juanita over there are cut from that same cloth.”
Trina looked over at Juanita and smiled.
“Good cloth.” Trina replied.
“Not good enough.” Juanita said sadly. “I told them both I’d protect Jonny.” She told Trina.
“Juanita darlin, you can’t protect what you don’t know. I didn’t know myself until the second to last night of the Slippery Tour on how bad his voice was becoming. I love him, but that’s him. He wants to make sure all of us and his staff are fine first, himself last.” Richie said.
Juanita sighed. “True. But-”
“There’s no but in it.” Dave interrupted. “He was protecting all of us. That’s just the way he is.” He continued.
“I just spoke to Doc. He can’t come back right away due to some problems with Motley overseas. He wants me to keep him posted. He’ll try to be back in the states when he can.” Paul said walking over to all of them.
“Great manager we have.” Alec said. “He’s more concerned over Motley Crue than the health of the lead singer of the world’s number one rock band. Give me a break!”
“What’s he’s going to do Alec? Seriously, all he’s going to do is sit here and wait. Why do that when he can help them out and come home. Then he can see what can be done.” Richie said.
“No one besides us knows that he’s here. Heather thankfully has nothing to explain to anyone. Everyone thinks right now that the band is taking a break until the catwalk issue is resolved.” Trina said.
“This could be a lot worse.” Richie agreed.
Alec shook his head. “Whatever.” He said looking down at the floor.
The tour doctor came in along with another doctor wearing scrubs.
All of them looked at the two of them with baited breath.
“Okay everyone. Here’s what we know. Jon did unfortunately hemorrhage one of his vocal cords. But believe it or not, it looks like the damage is minor. However, the swelling around the cords and the edema will need to be taken care of with surgery.” The doctor said.
“Will he be able to sing Doc?” Juanita asked.
The throat surgeon went over to her.
“We hope Mr. Bon Jovi can. But, I’m going to be honest. He’s going to need to rest his voice. Only time will tell how much actual damage he’s done to his voice. He’s been taking steroid injections on a regular basis for a while. The side effects from those injections on their own were enough this evening to admit him. He‘s pretty sick.”
“So what are you saying?” Carol Bongiovi said now standing next to the doctors. “Can our son sing?” John Bongiovi added.
“Not for a while. After this surgery. No talking, no whispering, clearing of the throat for a solid month.” The throat surgeon told them. “That will give his vocal cords time to heal. After that he should be fine to talk and optimistically after some therapy with a vocal coach then just maybe. He’ll be able to sing.”
Juanita ran over to her dear friend in tears. “Oh my god. I’m so sorry Carol. I didn’t know.”
Carol hugged her back. “I’m sure he didn’t tell you because he didn’t want anyone to worry. Juanita don’t you dare blame yourself.” She reassured her.
“Don’t you dare honey.” John told her as he put his hand on her shoulder. “Jon’s a protector of all and at times…listener of none.”
Juanita pulled away from Carol. She wiped away her tears and sat back down. “I could strangle him, if I wasn’t so damn scared.”
“I hear ya.” Carol said. “Doctor, when is the surgery?”
“We’re prepping him for it now Mrs. Bongiovi. We were hoping the two of you would be here in time.” He told her.
“We came as soon as Juanita called.” John said.
“We’re going to go and get ready. As soon as we’re out, we’ll let you know how it went.” The throat surgeon said as he and the tour doctor left the lobby.
“No voice for a month.” Richie said. “I don’t ever think I’ve even heard a day where he’s “not” speaking or singing.”
“His life is music.” Carol said.
“That house is going to be craziness.” Juanita said. “It was worse enough just earlier today with him and that notebook. He’s going to have three novels done in the first week alone! He’s going to drive me nuts!”
“I’ll help you Juanita.” Trina said. “He’ll need a friend to hang with and vent into that notebook.” She teased.
Carol walked over to Trina and smiled. “Hi, I’m Jon’s mother, Carol. And that’s my husband John Bongiovi. Are you Trina ,the reporter? Jon and Juanita has told us so much about you.”
“Hi there. And I’m sorry if what they said was bad.” Trina teased. “Nice to meet both of you.” She said extending her hand.
“Our pleasure.” Carol said returning the gesture.
“Dear God. He’s going to drive us all crazy ! I better get some shatterproof glasses and plates. ” Juanita said.
“Let’s hope that after all of this. He’ll be able to do what he loves. He’ll need our support through all of this. I couldn’t imagine being faced with not being able to do what I loved anymore because I’ve overextended myself.” Trina said.
“Me either. His mind must be racing with what if’s.” Richie said.
Minutes later, a gurney appeared with Jon sleeping peacefully in front of his parents as it was on its way to the operating room. Carol kissed his forehead and John pushed back his son’s long hair.
Trina looked back in the corner at how frail he looked. Tears began to roll down her cheeks.
‘What happens if he can no longer sing?’ she thought.
‘What would he do? Would he still play? Would he still want to? Would he write? How would he feel if he were writing and couldn’t sing the notes he was writing?’ She mind swirled as she watched the gurney roll into the operating room.
She hoped for the best…But why could her mind only focus on the worst?