My last article was a review of medical events over my first 88 years. Well, I will be 88 on August 31st and I have just lived through two more major events in my lengthy life. I had to wait until I could visit with my new Cardiologist yesterday to try to find out what happened..
I arrived at Memorial Hospital in Lufkin Texas at 7am Monday June 4th 2018 to get prepped for replacement of my right knee. My Surgeon, DR. Jason Carter, advised me he has shifted a couple of minor surgeries ahead of me and who am I to hurry him up? I just responded to be careful, I was in no hurry as my next probable tee time would be sometime in July.
Some time later, I guess it was about midnight on Wednesday, I awoke in Critical Care among total strangers, hungry and a sore right knee. I remember people discussing therapy, heart monitor surgery. My number one objective was to make sure I was to have therapy at the hospital in Hemphill. My planning was extremely detailed to match plans to care for my wife, Norma. I Was quite confused as to why I was still in Lufkin instead of Hemphill.
As I became cognizant my fear was lack of therapy on my new knee. Being in Critical Care established priorities based on crisis and my poor knee was not a priority.
My best guess is a Pacemaker was installed on Sunday evening, June 10th. This was a procedure that reminded me on my years working on Space Programs for NASA. The people were awesome as they performed about three hours of tedious operations as a team, well prepared and with flawless precision. I felt like a “Chicken on a Stick’ being roasted up in the air suspended.
I was excited that I might get moved on Monday to the hospital in Hemphill but the news was horrible. The Pacemaker had a loose wire and it required a new Device be installed Monday evening that took another 3 hours.
The testing required Tuesday was successful and after a long talk with the Cardiologists they approved moving me to the Hemphill Hospital.
They would not let me ride in the car with my son for reasons they would not explain and I was running a week behind my desired tee time schedule because I now have a Pacemaker.
The ambulance ride from Lufkin to Hemphill was an event never to be forgotten. I Just thought I was stabilized for the ride of a lifetime. We arrived physically about 4 pm but it was at least 8pm before my mind arrived.
I had two days of therapy before my golf friends came to visit on Friday afternoon. I was still trying to reconstruct the events that happened in Lufkin when I was notified I would be returning to Lufkin Tuesday Morning to visit with the Surgeon and the Cardiologists. I was scared that it would require another ambulance ride and ecstatic when I found out I could use my car and whoever I desired to drive me both directions.
My friend Tim “T” Picked me up about 9:30 Tuesday morning for the first appointment with Dr. Jason Carter. They X-Rayed my knee, advised me the new knee was doing great and the nurse proceeded to remove the staples from my knee. As the Surgeon had completed his work before anything happened connected to the Pacemaker I still had no clue what caused the Pacemaker.
We proceeded to our next appointment with the Cardiologists who had visited with me and was instrumental in the Pacemaker I am wearing today. They ran another EKG and spent a long time with paperwork.
I asked the Doctor if he knew why I got the Pacemaker. He told me he was on duty in the ER on the 4th. He said he was summoned to ICU where I was located and I had fallen out of the bed and was lying on the floor. He said I was not coherent and I am sure I may will likely never know what happened or why I now wear the Device?
My stay continues in the Swing Bed re-hab program at Sabine County Hospital. We are so fortunate to have our hospital managed and manned by caring and professional Doctors, Nurses and the support staff of Healthcare Professionals. This program allows my family to care for my wife Norma while I am being prepared for my new “Bionic” phase of life. The story will continue.
My beautiful Bride and I will celebrate 58 years of marriage tomorrow, June 23rd.
When you read this you will know why you will receive nothing from me next week. I will have knee replacement Surgery early in the morning, June 4th 2018. I wanted to share some medical history that you might encounter in your lifetime. If you do not know me and hope to live as long as I have this might help you get better prepared to grow older. This is the first bionic implant for me.
When you are blessed with a life as full as mine has been about the only major event before you croak is one more operation. When I was 12 I jumped off of a fence and had a rusty nail go all the way through my right foot. Got a tetanus shot from a nurse and never saw a doctor. My mother wrapped my foot with gauze ans soaked my foot in kerosene for a week. At 15 I had a Dermoid Cyst removed over my right eye. This was the first Doctor I ever saw in my life. A large scar is still visible. I broke my only bone at 17 when I slipped and broke my right thumb. With a cast from my fingers to my elbow for 16 weeks was uneventful.
Three and a half years active duty in the Navy only left me with a crown on a wisdom tooth. The next 27 years in Aerospace got me 3 stitches in a finger when I shoved a screwdriver 3 inches up my left middle finger installing an oil filter on the engine of an F-47, WWII fighter plane when I was 22. I had half of my stomach removed due to ulcers at age 45. At that point in my life I had 3 children with my first wife and four with my second wife, Norma, who I will celebrate my 58th anniversary June 23rd.
I saved the other medical moments until I retired at 63 in January 1994. In my 46 year work life I visited 32 countries and worked in 23 and in 49 States. Flew over 4 million miles and never even has a sick day away from home. In the last 16 years I worked I spent over 2500 nights in Hotels, Motels and some strange places in remote areas of Saudi Arabia, Aba Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Thailand and never had a medical event.
I have been retired now over 24 years. Starting with the Golden Years my first event was loss of my gall bladder with an 11 inch scar, 12 days in two hospitals and after 4 days of 104 fever they finally operated. Some 15 years ago I spent two different seven-day stays in the hospital with high fever and blood problems before they deduced I was suddenly allergic to shell-fish. Many of the remote areas where shell-fish was the main diet would have finished me off half way around the world. It took 2 years for Dr. Jay Holleman to get my medications adjusted and I am still on the basic regimen he had me on all of these years.
My next experience as new lenses for both eyes that was a piece of cake. I was offered lifetime lenses but at a cost of $4000 I decided I would not live long enough to spend the money. That was 14 years ago and I am now buying 1.25 glasses at the Dollar Tree.
Thirteen years ago I had what appeared to be a seizure, fell and ended up falling and nearly bit my tongue off. Twenty one stitches in my tongue. Norma caught up with me in the ER in Nacogdoches. When she walked in the ER they had just finished sewing my tongue together. I do not remember anything for 4 days but she told me I raised up, pointed at her and said, “She did it”. This cost me a 3 carat diamond ring. After four days in the hospital that I mentioned I do not remember and a follow-up sleep study proved my problem was sleep Apnea. I have slept with a C-Pap ever since.
We were packed 8 years ago to travel to celebrate our 50th anniversary and at 3 am I woke up and felt like I had digested a ball of fire near my appendix. Satisfied it was serious I left Norma a note that I had gone to the Emergency Room sure it was appendicitis. She found me, mad as a hornet, at the ER. This turned out to be Diverticulitis and a few miserable days healing.
The last 8 years have been spending a fortune trying to save my teeth and suffering with pain from Arthritis in both shoulders and both knees. Drugs and a golf swing have eliminated the pain in my shoulders but my knees have been a different story. For five years my left knee was AOK. The right knee was calmed down with steroids. Two years ago the left knee started needing steroids and my right knee graduated to “Rooster Comb” shots and a trip to Lufkin every six months. Last December my shots in the right knee did not help the unsteady right knee. The Orthopedic Surgeon did not even wish to discuss surgery on this 87-year-old person. I will be 88 on August 31st, I hope?
Well, my family doctor, Dr. Chad Moody, contacted the Surgeon and convinced him my age was an issue but my physical condition was above average for most younger. Thanks to Dr. Moody, Dr.Jason Carter will replace my right knee on June 4th. Everyone has helped by telling me stories in detail about the pain and agony of the therapy that follows the operation. I visited the therapists recently and offered bribes for painless therapy. I have purchased an empty bullet to bite on to help with the pain. I asked for a sound proof room at the hospital to muffle my screaming.
I am now feeling sure I have scared the daylights out of my children who range from 52 to 69 as well as younger folks who read my articles. I promise that after I recover I will share the agony and happiness of recovery and my trip back to playing par three golf again. Should this story end before I resume golf my ride through life has been more fun than most could ever dream about. My biggest disappointment will be I missed my final bucket list dream of being shot at 105 by a jealous husband.
Wish the medical folks that will care for me patience and compassion listening to my stories about life. Feel sorry for the families sanity helping Norma nurse me back to playing golf every day. I may write a book preparing folks for getting old when the day comes that my golfing days are over even if I last until I am 105.