Recently, I have been painfully reminded that I am no longer superman with respect to my health. I had developed pain in my right hip. Over a 30 degree range, the pain was disabling. It made rising from a chair and sitting down tedious. Once seated or standing up the pain was minimal. Walking was OK but stairs were a challenge. It turns out my partner at Merrill Lynch who had been fully vaccinated tested positive for COVID-19. Consequently, all employees were required to be tested before returning to the office. I was on my way to be tested. On my way to the car, I put too much pressure on my right leg going down the steps and I fell. I clunked my head and ribs on a metal table. I couldn’t get up and my 110 pound wife couldn’t help me. We put in an emergency call and the Deer Creek Rescue Team, sirens blaring, arrived within minutes. They got me up and began triage. My blood pressure was 70 over 50. They feared heart failure and called an ambulance. Two arrived within minutes. They carted me to my primary physicians Hospital of Record, St. Anthony’s Downtown. I arrived at the Emergency Rooms which had recently been renovated. By then, my BP was back up to normal. However, since I had clunked my head and ribs, a CT Scan was ordered. The head was clear but the abdominal scan revealed a different problem. It seems I had a massive infection and pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas).
(At this point, let me recognize the outstanding professional service provided by the hospital in no part a reflection of the leadership provided by Ms. Tammy Powell, President, SSM Health, St. Anthony Hospital and Bone & Joint Hospital at St. Anthony. She is The Journal Record Woman of the Year and well deserved.)
I awaited an empty bed at the Intensive Care Unit which was completely full of COVID patients on ventilators. (This unit was a recent, state-of-the-art addition to this Hospital.). I was taken there on day two. After it was felt I had stabilized, I was taken to the regular private wardroom. I began a 9 day series of antibiotic treatments and all sorts of tests. Two physicians had differing opinions: one was convinced that my white blood cell count was high due to infection but another felt it was a random spike due to shock and there was no infection. The 9th day, they took blood, centrifuged out white blood cells and imprinted a nuclear marker and re-injected the white cell back into my body. Using a nuclear scanning machine, on the video screen, the white cells were supposed to gravitate toward the source of the infection. However, the cells simply spread throughout my body, ergo, no infection was detected. I was sent home the next day. Then, the home health nurse came three times a week, then two times and finally once and then discharge. The Physical Therapist followed the same routine. Finally I was able to return to the Office to work but I had to use a walker in order to avoid another fall. I was on Motrin every six hours. I kept my appointment with Dr. Tkach and the diagnosis of bone spurs was confirmed and he ordered an MRI and cortisone injection. I completed that on October 22. I got immediate relief but it may not be a cure. Eventually, I will have to undergo hip joint replacement via surgery. That’s where I am now. So far, so good.
Bringing this down to the Rotary Club, I want to thank all those who sent cards (full of signatures, some cards were humorous, other serious). Thanks also for the many calls which resulted in sharing the caller’s medical histories. I can’t even count the many emails and messages of encouragement and prayers for my recovery. One realized that Rotary is not just a Club but really an extended family. It was an awakening. It gave me a sense of belonging and reminded me that other people really do care about me. It has encouraged me to return the favor whenever I become aware of issues with fellow Rotarians. I am particularly saddened to learn of the death of Leonard Sullivan and Larry Bledsoe.
Again, thanks to all who have shown their concern and friendship through this incident.