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Moderator emeritus
May 25, 2004
NW of Toronto
This is the message that was sent:
I don't know how to post a new thread, so I thought I would send this
to you and you can place it where it goes?
Rick has to be anesthesized for a short surgery on March 12th to
remove the 35 pound fixator on his leg. He was in an explosion in July
which shattered the shin bone. He will then be having a cast put on. This
is his 6th surgery. His 5th surgery was a bone graft to try to replace
the bone.
He is to notify the hospital if he should get a cold. Well, he has
cold-like symptoms all the time, especially in the mornings, because of
ALS. We will be getting up at 3 a.m. that day to try to have time to
eliminate the congestion. Do you know if it is safe to give him general
anesthesia? He cannot have a spinal because he has a spinal disease.
Do you suppose they will just suction him as needed and will surely
watch his breathing? He will soon be getting an upgrade on his C-pap to
B-pap, but not until after another sleep study on April 7 th.
On top of everything else Rick is dealing with with Diabetes, severe
sleep apnea, and other ALS symptoms. He had to have these several
"knitting needles" put through his leg and has had to hop on one foot for
7months. Immediately after the accident, we could have lost him to loss
of blood or blood clots. Thank God that is behind us... and we look
forward to having him walk again before the ALS disables him.
Thanks. Marjorie
Hi Marjorie. How big is the hospital the surgery is at? Do they have more than one anesthesist? Can you ask for one with experience with ALS or at least get him to consult with Rick's Pulmonologist so he is aware of any complications that could arise. Not sure if any would but it wouldn't hurt to ask the lung guy.

Hi Al.
I thank you very much for taking care of my question and putting it here.
We haven't talked to the anesthetist yet, and probably won't until just before the surgery itself, when we have to sign the consent. We can't keep too many appointments with the icy conditions here and Rick hopping on one foot. We had over a foot of snow today.... and I fell down 3 times out there today. (ice underneath)
Rick is seeing a pulminary specialist for the first time, at the VA on Friday, 2/29 for a lung strength test. We plan to talk over the situation with him/her at that time. They must have had a cancelation because we weren't supposed to see them until sometime after the return sleep study on April 7..... Also at the VA. This pleases me greatly because I can discuss my concerns with them before the fixator is to be removed. Rick is being tested to see if he should graduate to the B-pap.
The surgeries with his leg, are being taken care of at one of the best trauma centers in the US. It is Mary Imogine Basset Hospital, Cooperstown NY (of baseball Hall of Fame fame) Rick was taken there after the explosion because his life was in the balance and he had insurance through his work anyway. I soon found out if I should have him airlifted to the VA, but the VA people said he was in the best hands right where he was. We have no issues with covering every minute cost of healing the leg. Everyone is very good to us, and extremey helpful. The surgeon has prepared me all along the way to take care of the wound so that we could omit a rehab hospital between surgeries, and home nurse visits. I already was a caregiver for a few years, to the terminally ill. I have had six clients thusfar.
Everyone says that Rick is fortunate to have a "nurse" with him at all times, and yes, I surely have been that. It will not be anything worth envying, but that will serve us just fine in the future for sure, with the ALS.
On July 14 '07, the day of the explosion, we didn't know of the ALS. We knew of the symptoms Rick was having, and visits to the VA were testing him and evaluating him. We found out in October '07. The news greatly saddened the bone surgeon, but at least he knew he wasn't healing a healthy leg.
Is all this too much to follow? Clear as mud? Well, at least it makes for interesting reading for some. We welcome everyones questions or comments ... any input.
By the way, July 14 we were at a church picnic at a private home. The family wanted to demonstrate their homemade cannon. The welding let loose on the casing and the cannon backfired into the crowd. Rick's leg was almost .... well.... I won't get too graphic. Another woman was grazed on her ankle. Many people could have been killed. There were several children there too.
Rick's Navy training kept him calm and composed and he has been a remarkable patient all along. Nothing seems to get him down. He is the "uplifter" in our home and church and community. We hope he will walk again while he can.... before , you know, the ALS.
Forgive me for going on and on. It feels good to have told you all this. Just know, no matter how bad it gets, you probably don't have all the problems Rick has! We are thankful for life and all its ups and downs. Without problems, we wouldn't appreciate the good times. We are concerned for every one here, no matter how diverse we are or might be. You are like family out there for us. Thank you for listening and being there for us. Marjorie
P.S> In case you don't know what the VA is, it stands for Veterans Administration. That means because he served in the military, he has medical care and provisions through them, at very little or no cost. He goes there for everything other than the leg.
Actually I do know about the VA. I had friends in Albany and spent quite a bit of time there and relatives in Lexington, Ky and lots of time in Florida. Ricks story is interesting. I remember when you first came on saying something about an explosion. Didn't want to pry so didn't ask. Thanks for filling in the blanks. I do know that no matter how bad you think you have it you can usually find someone worse.
Not a problem listening. As long as people don't get carried away, which you never have, I'll listen and offer my best advice. No one here gets paid and sometimes people don't like the advice and accuse us of being blunt or mean but we're human too. After all why ask for advice if you don't want to hear all the answers. Anyway sorry if this sounds like a rant, it didn't start out like that.
Let us know how Rick makes out.
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