May 4th, 1999. Thatís a date I will remember for quite a while. Believe me, it is a date I would much rather forget. My life would be much better had that date have been skipped entirely.
It all started like a great day. Iíd killed Lynn on the golf course. I had shot a 76, and he had shot a lowly 89. A true whippin by anyoneís standards.
By all measures the beer and wings should have been tasting very good indeed that night. But they werenít. Something was wrong. Suddenly I noticed this pain in my chest that I thought maybe was gas, and would go away.
But it was persistent, and got worse. After a half hour I decided it was time to check in at the local emergency room to make sure everything was OK. But I was still pretty sure it was just a gas bubble.
I wasn't overly concerned, so I drove and my friend Jim followed me in his car to the downtown hospital. We couldnít have arrived sooner as the pain had now spread up my shoulder and down into my stomach. And by the time I got to the emergency door, I knew I was in trouble because the pain was now becoming excruciating.
Finally after what seemed like eternity answering a couple of questions at the main desk, they took me into an examining room. It was extremely hard to lay there as the nurse, then doctor were trying their best to analyze what was going on.
Then it happened. What I thought was agonizing before had become unbearable pain. I couldnít lay there, but I couldnít stand. I tried, but nothing, no matter what I did stopped the now crushing pain that was causing me to cry out in pain. I had never experienced anything like this before in my life.
I tried to make jokes with the nurse, and I am sure she looked on in disbelief, because with the pain I was in, that is unnatural. But I thought maybe that it would take my mind off the pain. I was desperate for relief. Any relief!
A heart attach was ruled out, and shortly after that the doctor came back with the prognosis. I had just experienced a perforated ulcer where the acids from my stomach were leaking out into the cavity, causing the severe pain.
I had a choice, either a very painful operation through my stomach muscles to fix the mess, or a casket. At least that is the way my doctor explained it. (He had a real bed-side manner!)
After mulling it over for a while.... (no way, that was an easy decision!)
The pain medicine started working at this point, and that horrible pain started to wear away. I remember thinking to myself that maybe this was about over, and I could put it behind me. I was in for a rude awakening.
So at midnight that evening they wheeled me away towards the operating room. I remember just before they put me to sleep the whole thing was in control now. I knew I was in good hands. And then I crossed my fingers just in case!
It was around 3 AM when I vaguely remember waking up in a recovery room somewhere in that hospital. This has happened to me a couple of times in my life after being put under for an operation. I knew what to expect that weird, drowsy surrealistic awakening. I could hear the life support system, and that was a good sign. What I wasnít expecting was the extreme pain I felt. Taking a simple breath was excruciating. I remember opening my eyes to see the nurse who was nearby. She asked me if I was in pain. Of course I nodded hoping she could do something. But all she said was, Ďdonít worry, it will get better with each passing dayí.
I could go into some terrible horror stories about the hospital. But Iíd rather say that the nurses got me through that one. I think Ďanglesí would be a better word for the nurses that got me through those horrible 9 days in the hospital.
I got out on the 14th. I wasnít supposed to do anything at all for a week or so. But if you know me, that is impossible, and we are pretty much caught up at the store now. Almost all email has been answered, bills paid, orders processed, etc. I was at the store twice yesterday, and this morning. (I am writing this from home.)
I feel pretty good today, but still there is a lot of pain (Iím still on pain pills), Iím sleeping a lot, and am very weak. They had found that I had a collapsed lung around half way through my stay in the hospital, which I think is much better right now, but breathing is a little different.
I am a little embarrassed writing this article. Actually I avoided it. But the bottom line is I had to write something to get that stupid last article that has appeared on out pages now for way to long, and this is the only subject that I can think of now. (My mind is not exactly in a real creative mode right now.)
At any rate, thanks to those of you who found out about the problem and sent best wishes. That was a big help. I hope to be back on my feet within a short period of time, but wonít be able to golf for another four weeks or so. Bummer!!
So please keep checking our pages. There will be new inventory coming this week, and thatís a promise.
My advice to you: take good care of your stomach, and you will avoid some horrible down time. Hey look at me, I havenít had a hot wing now for almost two weeks, and my tummy is smiling for sure!!!