The Rock Wall

Posted February 6, 2014 at 10:54 am

You likely expect a full report after my 17 days in St. John’s/Mercy ICU and a total of 41 days in the hospital. No can do. People who were there are amazed at my recovery. Had a phone call Tuesday morning from a nurse at my health care provider who couldn’t believe that it was me who answered the phone.

I “came to” in Select Specialty Hospital in Springfield after a couple of weeks. I had never heard of them but their care was perfect as far as I was concerned.

Some of the staff there told me I had really worked hard. Nope. I know what hard work looks like.

There’s only one explanation from me: The Good Lord decided to spare me. One emergency room brain doctor told Kimball I would never recover from the oxygen starvation. He’s probably correct that I will never be normal.

I want to thank the community for helping Kimball, Davis and our staff keep everything going. And thanks to everyone for all the cards.

Davis came back from college to help Kimball and the crew. He helped Kimball with the photos, but she carried the load. He ferried your newspaper from Pittsburg, actually from Nevada where Pittsburg delivered it. We owe the Pittsburg crew a brownie point (and some delayed Christmas candy) for all their help.

Wanda, Mary, Gwen and Megan handled the items that came in e-mails and over the counter.

When I started waking up, I never worried for a second about who was running the show.

Travis Farran, in an e-mail after I got back to my desk on Monday, said it had to be a humbling experience. Right on. One minute I thought I was in control of my life, about three weeks later, I woke up enough to realize I wasn’t in control of anything.

Judy Nichols, a retired nurse, wrote that rehab will be an ongoing challenge. A decided understatement. I’m on a walker while waiting for my balance and strength to come back.

I have the most heartless physical therapy coach you could imagine. Every morning and evening Davis makes me do every exercise on the list the PT guys at Select Specialty gave me, plus ones he makes up. When I’m not grimacing in pain, I can tell that they are helping.

Oh, I’m not a doctor and I haven’t read all the information the hospital provided, but it appears that my sudden downfall was from pneumonia. I didn’t even seem to have a cold. I do remember not being able to breathe one night before Christmas. Tom Gough came over to hook up the oxygen tank correctly. From what Kimball tells me, when that didn’t work, he helped get me to ICU in Springfield.

I know that a bunch of people prayed for me. That’s the difference maker right there. I know I’ll take it more serious when I’m asked to pray for someone.

You know that Kimball has the hardest job of all – putting up with me, cooking, getting me to doctor appointments. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate her.

I’m in debt to everyone.

- After I started getting better, I heard while in the hospital that Sister Rachel Benham passed away. She had only known me since I was born. She was a lost teenager with Dad at Pacetown (Pleasant Ridge) church. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I lied to her when she shook my hand and asked me if I was lost at revival meetings (which she and her husband, Earl, always attended.).

Her daughter, Rosalyn, told Kimball she wondered why we weren’t at the funeral. I almost beat her to the Pearly Gate.

- OK, I said a lot more than I planned to say. Now let’s move on to something that really matters. KL