4.3.3: POST- PAUL

 

The chronology of events is slightly askew due to the events which affected Paul at the same time as “non-Paul” events.

 

1979; Granddaughter Jennifer was born in October to Phil and Sherri.

 

1980; Paul went to Good Sam. In Phoenix, as previously mentioned.

 

1982; Grandson Jeff was born in October to Terry and Barb.

 

1991; Paul went to St. Louis as previously noted.

 

1992; Jan. 25, Paul’s death. Sept. our first trip overseas to Ireland.

 

Many things added to the frustration after Paul died. The coroner, who had a drinking problem, attributed the cause of death to failure of the respirator, which was not true. Joan talked to him at length.  He apparently was “under the influence” at the time, but finally agreed to correct the autopsy. It took us almost two years to find an attorney who wanted to be bothered with a wrongful death suit which was capped by law at a maximum of “only” $100000. Some insulted us by implying that his life wasn’t worth much. Sherri’s schoolmate, Rachel Perner,  also a friend of ours and an attorney, referred us to Dave Calvert, a paraplegic himself, who turned us over to a young, enthusiastic lawyer who pursued our case. The company settled out of court, and we got enough to permit our subsequent travels. After we took care of Paul all those years, I know he is somewhere taking great comfort in taking care of us.

 

On the other hand, we thought the nurse should have been sanctioned somehow. Not that she should lose her license, but she should not be allowed to work without supervision. Thus began a four year running battle with the Kansas Commission of Nursing. I called, I wrote, I begged and threatened, but they were too busy, I guess. One excuse they used was that they couldn’t proceed until they pursued a new allegation against her for sleeping on the job. Finally I complained to the Governor. He replied that it was a serious allegation and he was turning it over to the Kansas Commission of nursing to investigate. Surprisingly, they found nothing wrong. I guess she’s still out there endangering other people.

 

1993; I retired, finally. Went to work as a sales associate at Sears, for the Christmas season.

 

1994; I was on Japanese television. Also we went on a cruise to Alaska.

 

My Son, Steven, always opposite to me in politics, wrote a letter to the editor decrying the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan, declaring that the war was almost over and all that killing was unnecessary and evil. I composed a letter opposing this view, saying that they started the war by bombing civilians, that the warlords wanted to continue the fight after the bombs fell, and that many hundreds of thousands of Japanese and Americans would die as we invaded their mainland and, most Importantly, his father might have been one of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a working typewriter at the time and Steve was the only one to see it.

 

Some months later, a group from a Japanese news service contacted Steve and wanted to interview him at length. They asked if he knew anyone with an opposing view. He said he surely did. So they visited him, myself and his son Ethan over a couple of days at his house and my house getting input from three generations. Steve got a video tape of the event.

 

1995 ; We took a trip to continental Europe and I volunteered at the Wesley Rehab Hospital.

 

Germany, Switzerland Austria and France were interesting, but the people were not nice like the Irish.

 

The people at the rehab were extremely friendly. I helped them design an accessible training kitchen, and built some minor prosthetics, saving them a few bucks, but when I found out that the CEO of the conglomerate that owns the unit took home a salary in excess of $126 million that year, I lost my incentive.

 

1996; Great grandson Joshua M Lazar was born in September to Brandi and Kevin.

 

1997; Brandi and Kevin were married.

 

1998; Great granddaughter Elizabeth H Lazar was born in February. Great grandson Kai D Zimmerman was born to Kristen and Michael Zimmerman in May. We went to Italy and saw a lot of things, including the Pope. (at a distance).

 

1999; Saw the Pope up close. Founded the Maple Hill Neighborhood Association. Had a heart attack. Started to work at Starkey Inc.

 

In Jan. 1999 the Pope visited the U S with a stop in St. Louis. Parishes in nearby Diocese could request tickets to be issued “by lottery”. We applied in our parish and, surprisingly were chosen to go. He visited the (then) TWA dome and convention center, said mass for and spoke to 110000people about 40000 of which were in the dome, and the rest in the convention center on large screen TV. The minority of dome residents were also chosen at random. We were so pleased to be on the trip we didn’t even consider the possibility of getting in the dome.

 

 To our surprise, we were not only in the dome, but seated directly across from his throne. He is just a little old, tired, bent over man, but there is no way to explain the feeling that came over us when the Popemobile entered the building. He has charisma befitting the only Pope in the whole world. It was an experience unlike any other in my life.

 

The same year we got “taken in” to the city of Wichita. I use the words “taken in “advisedly. They kindly offered to bring us city water at an outrageous price. (about 50% more than we paid for sewers).  (huge, gravity fed Pipes with manholes, etc.). I spoke up at a hearing and later in a TV interview, (we knew somebody at channel 10), quoting the old man in the movie, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”. So I sent out fliers and held a meeting and we set out to keep the city honest. Some of the residents were wise in the way of city operations, and we reduced the actual costs to about half of their original estimate.

 

A couple days before Halloween, I was eating dinner after Saturday mass, I passed out. I had had a heart attack, the details of which are chronicled further on. The day I came home from the hospital, there was a message on the phone, inviting me to discuss employment. I had been looking for a part time job where I could “help the handicapped”. For the next two years I spent about 18 hours a week helping care for eight “developmentally handicapped” adults in a group home. I helped to feed, medicate, educate and transport them to their many social events.

 

2000; Great granddaughter Sarah A Lazar was born. In October, Kristen and Michael Zimmerman were married in Arizona (we attended), and great granddaughter Eyalu S Zimmerman was born.

 

2001; We visited Terry and Barb in Portland, OR, and Kristen and Michael In Eugene, OR and toured Oregon and Washington at length.

 

2002; In June, Joan had her heart attack. Unlike mine, which was minimal, hers was complicated and confusing, as explained in the appendix.

 

2003; We celebrated 50 years together at a fine dinner, courtesy of our children, and spouses, and a second visit to Ireland with Phil and Sherri.

 

 

 

MY HEART ATTACK;                                                                                       

 

 

It was October 28, 2000. Joan and I had gone to 5:30 Mass as St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church, and, as we usually do, we went out to dinner at the Black Eyed Pea, a moderately priced restaurant, not one of our favorites. (Actually they are no longer in business).  We were sitting at a small booth for two facing each other, not two feet apart. We were finished eating and about to get the check. I don’t remember what I had, but I didn’t finish it, which was unusual. I was feeling kind of “queasy”.

 

The next thing I remember Joan was asking me if I was OK, a lady in the next booth was leading prayers for me and an ambulance and fire truck were outside and EMS people were giving me oxygen and loading me in an ambulance and I was still wondering what all the excitement was about. I didn’t realize that I had “passed out” twice and Joan had propped up my head to keep it from falling into my food. When we got to the hospital, I got feeling “clammy”’ and started sweating profusely. That was the only discomfort I felt during the whole episode.

 

After about an hour in the emergency room at Via Christi, St. Joseph, I was admitted. I was subjected to every test known to man. CT, brain scan, (of course the brain scan revealed “nothing”), EKG, EEG, sonogram, etc, etc. The next day was Sunday, so nothing happened. The following day “Dr. Doofus” came in to look at me. He was filling in for the doctor assigned to my case. (I never met the doc assigned to my case. (I did get a bill from him) Doc Doofus looked like something out of vaudville, with polyester striped pants and checkered jacket. He was from Galicia Medical group, a prestigious cardio-vascular group, but I wouldn’t trust him with my goldfish. He pronounced that I had a “vaso-vagal syncopy”. (An erratic heartbeat caused by a form of indigestion).

 

Daughter-in-law Sherri, Who has had some medical training, thought this was a stupid assessment. So did Daughter-in-law Cam, who works in the library at the same hospital and looked it up in said library. We all agreed this was not likely.

 

The next day, Tuesday, Doc. Doofus told me that I had had a vaso-vagal thing and I could go home. I told him I needed a second opinion from a cardiologist. A nurse on the floor called the Galicia group to find that the doctor on call was not available, nor was his back-up. She persisted until Dr. Joseph Chambers found time to visit us.

 

He sat down and asked what happened, and we told him. (At that time I think he knew exactly what happened). He ordered a heart cath and insisted on having it the same day. The procedure consists of entering a major artery in the groin, probing with a catheter for a blockage and, if one is found, opening the area and placing a stint, (a flexible expandable mesh sleeve), in place to prevent closure. I was certain he would find nothing and asked the doc. what happens if they don’t find anything. He indicated we would worry about that when it happens. As it happens, I had a 95% blockage in the “lower anterior descending” artery attached to my heart, and a stint was installed.

 

After the procedure I spent the night in special care. One of the first things I remember seeing   when I awoke was a day calendar with a big number 1 (November 1) on it. I took it to stand for the first day of the rest of my life. Doc. Doofus came in that morning and asked me how I felt. I told him “much better, no thanks to you”. He had nothing more to say. Had I listened to him, I probably would have had my final heart attack by now.

 

I have not changed my life style much since then except to add an aspirin to my medicines and cut my beer and wine consumption in half. I consider this a beneficial heart attack which

prevented a more serious heart attack. I feel like I have had my warranty extended.

 

 

                                                           

Joan's heartless heart care.............2002

 

It all began when she was born.  She had a history of high cholesterol, extremely high triglycerides and a bent heart artery. She was being x-rayed for the 'umpteenth' time when the tech. first advised her that she had an enlarged heart. She was then scheduled for a heart cath. (not her first). At this time  she  was said to have pulmonary edema.

 

6/20 The heart cath showed a blockage which couldn't be treated with a stint , as was my blockage, and she was held overnight to have further tests, (thallium stress).

 

6/21, 10 AM  Having had no meds or food since midnight, and no clue as to when she would go, Joan was getting anxious. I finally asked an attendant when she was to go and she said; "I'll find out". I never saw her again. Later, when I insisted on knowing "when", after a few phone calls I was advised that they had forgotten to schedule her, and would we please come back Monday. Having found out that the tests could be done at her doctor's office, she said; "no, thanks".

 

6/24 to6/27 Finally got the records from heart doc's office to doc's office, found the test wouldn't take place till 7/17.  Heart doc's office was upset that it took so long. We later learn that the heart doc. had the records and could have done the test sooner! By now, they are calling her condition pulmonary hypertension.

 

7/6..........7/10 Joan is having a "slow motion" heart attack, and Sherri is having a fit. Finally in 7/11, she goes to the doc's office and doc says to get to the hospital "stat".   The Kansas Heart Hospital is small, specializes in heart treatment, has a high nurse to patient ratio, and claims to be the “best’. Sherri and Jennifer are there constantly, Sherri, around the clock. Dr. Murphy is the surgeon. Jenn thinks he’s no good. The heart doc assures us he is very good, and Jenn approves of the doc who will assist.

 

7/12 The surgery goes well.  Joan is retaining fluid and her condition is defined as “Congestive heart failure”.

 

7/16  It is announced that a pacemaker will be installed “tomorrow”. Joan is now gaining weight daily, though she is eating almost nothing ,and is having anxiety and hallucinations due to a medicine called atavan.  Her incision is beginning to look infected .7/17 The second surgery goes well, except that she was “prepped” and waiting for a half hour because doc Murphy couldn’t find the right operating room.  Sherri finally convinces staff that diuretics should have been restored three days before, leaving her congested and bloated. Also determined that dressings on incisions were changed once in five days, instead of  daily.

 

7/16  Phone call reminding us to report to doc’s office for thallium stress test. (previously scheduled for 7/17)

 

7/18  Released from hospital. Hosp. Failed to send home pain meds.  Found infected incisions. Joan was congested . Went thru two bottles of high dollar meds.  Congestion returned, on a week end, of course. Jenn contacted Dr.X , whom she knew and .was on call at St. Joe. We were to meet him at the ER and not have to check in. After about an hour, during which Dr. X could not be found, we checked  in and waited some more. The ER doc looked at her and went to find Dr.X. We never saw him again. Finally we checked out, went home and got the heart doc to give us a prescription.

 

7/27  Joan short of breath. Called  her doc for  super anti- biotic.  Made appt for 7/31.

 

7/31 Waited an hour at doc’s office. Went to ask what happened. Told we were there  at 11, our appt was 10:20,  everyone is out to lunch. They had picked up her  folder and ignored it. Goodbye doc G, hello doc H.

 

8/1  Visit with doc H re; chest pain  and back pain.

 

8/3  Cat scan at St. Joe. Kidneys  O K.

 

8/15 (approx.) When  Doc Murphy  introduced himself at the hospital, he gave us his card showing his address on north Emporia. When Joan went there for her follow-up visit, she learned that he had moved  to a new office right  behind  the heart hospital. (about 12 miles farther away.

 

8/16  Two postcards stating appt at heart doc’s office  8/28 @1PM, & 8/29 @ 1:45pm. (it’s 23 miles to doc’s office).

 

Sometimes the cure is more dangerous than the disease!!!!!!!!

 

Ps; The lab tech. First informed Joan that she had an enlarged heart.

Doc Murphy  told her she had a “young” heart.

Every one who knew her knew  she was big-hearted. 

Just ask any of the young folks at Sears or the parish council if she is “young at heart”.

           Or just ask her husband,  “kids”, or “grandkids”.

 

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