Good News

Yesterday I had a follow up visit with my Doctor.  After a bout of Pulmonary embolisms around Easter, I spent a week in the hospital.  The follow up has been taking a blood thinner and regaining my strength.  Yesterday the doctor sent me to the CT lab to see how the clots were doing and I got a call that they are almost all gone with little scaring.  The Doctor and I agree that as soon as the current supply of Xarelto runs out I will stop taking it.  The only sad part of this whole thing is that there is no reason for the problems in the first place.   Oh well, another chapter in the weird illnesses that have attacked me.

That is a funny story in itself.  Let me share some of the illnesses I have had over the years.  I won't bore you with the common illnesses of my youth.  Other than Polio, I have had most of the measles, mumps and chicken pox that went around.  The first on the list of strange illnesses was Dengue Fever. 

Does something stink in here?

I went to Panama in 1967 for a two week stint in the jungle.  For the most part we were out in the open air 24/7 for the first week and then on the second week we went through a Escape and Evasion course that just capped the misery.   I was pretty well on my way to completing the course with over 900 points and earning the Jungle Expert badge.  On the last event, the E&E course, I knew that getting caught the last day would perhaps eliminate me from the top list.  There was about 10 of us wondering through the jungle and we knew that if we followed the river (Rio Chagres) we would probably get caught.  We looked at the map and saw that there was a big swamp that we could cross and avoid capture.  What we didn't count on was that by that time almost all of the insect repellent had been expended and the swamp was one big mosquito home.  It was so bad that you couldn't breath with you mouth open.  Yep, I was bitten by about a thousand mosquitoes and at least one had the bug for Dengue Fever.

I returned to the States and found out that we were going to the field the next day.  I loaded up my gear and out to the training area we went.  By the time the three day exercise was over, I was one sick puppy.  I actually rode into the main post in a sleeping bag and went right to my bed in the Bachelor Officer's Quarters (BOQ). I think that was Friday but I really did not know.   I think I was there until Monday morning when I didn't show up to the unit and the Captain sent someone to look in on me.  I have no clue how high my fever got or if I would have survived if someone hadn't looked in on me.  I was sent to the Hospital and I have no clue how I got there.  For the next three days, everyone that came into my room had full surgical scrubs and a face mask. The were worried that it might be one of those illnesses making it's rounds in the Army.   One of the few lucid moments about Wednesday, the Doctor came in and said they were stumped.  None of the tests showed what the heck I had.  He said that if I was anywhere but Fort Irwin, he thought it might be a little known tropical disease called Dengue Fever.  I managed to tell him that I had just returned from Panama and he immediately went over to the door and removed the Quarantine sign and unmasked.  Yep, I had Break Bone Fever, aka Dengue Fever and all they could do was let it run its course. 

When I came home from Vietnam, I was assigned to Fort Carson.  I had about 9 weeks of service left in 1969 and about 8 weeks of the malaria medicine that was to ward off malaria.  About two weeks after I returned to Wichita, I started to get sick every other day.  The local Doctors and Hospital could not figure out hat it was.  Finally my Dad and my wife took me to the VA and they drew blood and admitted me for Malaria.  A couple of days later the hematologist came by to draw blood and I asked her if I could see what the heck was making me sick.  When she came back that afternoon, she showed me slides of the little booger making me sick in every stage of development.  The  next morning, one of the Doctors came in and asked me if I was willing to try a treatment they had started a pilot program with.  A young Lieutenant had come home from Vietnam very sick and the diagnosed him with Leukemia and Malaria.  When they started the treatment for Leukemia the symptoms of Malaria went away very fast.  I started a chemotherapy for Leukemia and I too was symptom free within a week or so.   Every morning I was given a great big pill and by noon I could not get out of bed.  By the evening, I was fine and after a nice shower and fresh pajamas, I would sleep like a baby. The next day the same pill and sick like a dog.  I don't know how long that would have gone on except that I told them that I needed to get out and enroll at WSU for the fall semester.  I escaped their grasp and didn't go back.

1968 in Vietnam

Years later, I was working in Ottawa full time for the Guard.  We had a small son and one day he ran a fever and broke out in a rash.  The Doctor called it Roseyola and said it would pass.  Sure enough it did but then by Thursday I was one sick puppy.  What hit our son so lightly put me in bed for the biggest part of two weeks.  Who knew?

Captain, 1978

I know this flu shot this last year missed the boat and in spite of two different shots, I was pretty sick in January of this year.   We made a road trip to Oklahoma and then I drove to Western Kansas for a funeral.  By Sunday (which as Easter) I had my family over for lunch.  I had brought Dave's mower home to work on it and I went out to put it on a trailer so I could take it home.  Crap, I couldn't even pick up the tongue of the trailer with it empty.  There's your sign.  I had Dave come out and hook it up and after taking the trailer home I went to bed.   The next morning I had a Doctor's appointment and after looking at my fever and elevated blood pressure sent me to the Hospital.  They did a stress test that about killed me but they said my heart was OK.  I went home and they call me back for a CT scan.  Most of the people in the waiting room went right out after the scan.  I was told to sit in a wheel chair until they released me. Well, they didn't and I spent a week getting blood thinners in the hospital.  Finally I was released to go home but my vitals were wonky and all over the place for the next couple of weeks.  I would run a fever and my blood pressure would skyrocket.  Then it would all be OK for a couple of hours.  The Doctor started me on Xarelto and after another week things started to get a lot more normal.  I have spent most of the summer getting my strength back and just yesterday I was given the all  clear of the Pulmonary Embolisms.  Now as soon as I can, I will stop the Xarelto and hopefully get back on track with my life.

At 68, I know that someday, something will kill me.  I hope it isn't soon or really painful.  I guess that I can say that I don't fear death, I just am not looking forward to it.  I have had a great life and things have been more that fair to me.  I have a loving wife and a great home.  Now for the next years in "Riding With Mud."


No comments:

Post a Comment