When we're young, we don't think about dying. We think "That's just something that happens to old people". Of course we're aware that we could die in an accident, war or even murder but the odds of that happening to us are so far beyond our comprehension as to be non-existent in our lives.
I know that's the way I thought when I graduated from high school in June of 1959 and tried to join the Army. Then something terrible happened.
I failed my Army physical. I was told that I was born with a hernia and the Army would not accept me unless I had an operation to remove the hernia.
I had the operation. Two weeks after the operation I became so sick with sledge hammer like headaches I couldn't stand. My Mother took me to our family doctor (Samuel Specter, MD, for the record books) who dismissed my symptoms as "it's all in his head!"
Being a 17 year old timid kid from a small town in the Fifties (no Internet information), what did I know? I believed Dr. Specter and thought I really was imagining things . . . but I till had the pounding headaches.
Then one night I awoke to what I thought was the mother of all wet dreams, my left side was covered in a sweet-sour smelling, reddish purplish sticky mess. "What was this?" I thought? My wet dreams before (I didn't know about masturbation, remember . . . I was a timid small town boy in the Fifties) weren't this BIG and they weren't THAT color or SMELL. Then I noticed that my incision was OPENED!
My parent's bedroom adjoined my bedroom. I called out "Mom!" She came in and saw my open incision (about eight inches opened) and went to the bathroom to wet a wash cloth to wipe me off. She called the ambulance. Apparently my condition wasn't my imagination. Thank you Dr. Specter for the misdiagnosis.
An ambulance arrived. The emergency medical personnel lifted me from my bed, sans my shorts but with my T-shirt. Strangely, my open incision, as big and gaping as it was, didn't hurt . . . in fact I felt no pain at all but I was sick to my stomach with fear:
Back then in the Fifties, ambulances were different than they are today. Today's ambulances like like Brink's trucks. Back then the back was almost all glass.
The emergency guys loaded me onto a gurney (still without my shorts but I did have my T-shirt - oh how well I remember leaving my house without my shorts), and (thankfully) put a sheet over my lower parts.
They put me into the ambulance and backed down the driveway and onto the Chester Country Hospital. They took the route through the center of Downingtown, my hometown. I remember oh so well looking at people on the dawn's early light on the main street in Downingtown as it was awakening from my horizontal position on the gurney with only a thin sheet covering my lower body. I was thinking "I wonder what they're thinking happened to me?"
When the ambulance arrived at the Chester County Hospital, it went around the back and drove into the entrance below the hospital. There was a sign above the entrance that said:
And a list of about ten other life threatening contagious diseases that they were depositing me into the midst of. What was happening to me?
I found out the next day (my Mother had to tell me, God forbid the doctors or the nurses would inform me of ANYTHING - this was the Fifties remember?) that I had a staphylococcus or "staph" infection. Of course I didn't know a "staph" infection from any other kind of infection. Below is the Mayo Clinic definition of a "staph" infection:
DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
An update I just received on one of my friend's blogs that I follow. I'm sure he wouldn't mind me putting this link in.
See here for Scott's blog.
We both were diagnosed with prostate cancer at about the same time. Scott had responded to my post on Inspire about how painful the procedure was for taking biopsies. I was lucky and mine was contained. Scott's situation was different.
If you care to, visit Scott's blog and express your support for him. I suggested that he start a blog to help himself through his ordeal. His blog may not be the most sophisticated but it is real and true and I know he would appreciate hearing from you.