I’m so glad this isn’t twenty years ago. I say this because of the advances in medical care that have been made since those days. A little more than seven weeks ago I lost the use of my left hand, and my legs that were usually in pretty good shape didn’t want to work anymore. I tried to ignore this for a day or two, hoping things would clear up on their own. Like most of my plans, this one didn’t work either. Finally giving in, I went to see a doctor. The initial visit resulted in a couple of blood tests and my first ever MRI. All I’ll say about an MRI is if you find yourself needing one, they’re going tell you to keep your eyes closed. Do it. Open them and you’ll know what I mean. Once they had ruled out a stroke, I was sent to see a neurologist who determined I had a spinal injury. Another MRI led to an appointment with a surgeon who explained that I had two bulging discs in my neck that were collapsing my spinal cord by as much as 80%. I asked him about my options. There were two. I could either have surgery or I could move the wrong way and end up being paralyzed or dead. Bam!
I’m not claiming to have had a near death experience or anything that dramatic. But it was enough to get my attention. It was enough to make me wonder about my life. Have I been a good husband to my wife of 28 years? How about my kids and grandkids? Have I always been there for them? Have I written that perfect column yet? I like to believe I’ve done okay, but I know in my heart that hasn’t always been the case. I’ve made a lot of bad decisions and mistakes along the way and I’ll just leave it at that.
Because of the advances in medical science over the course of the last twenty or so years I’ve been given a second chance to get it right. Call it a re-do if you will. I’ll take it. I’m not 100% yet and they’ve explained I’ve suffered a certain degree of permanent spinal cord injury and only time will tell how much I actually recover. But I’ve gotten strong enough to go back to work this coming Monday. While it will be nice getting that weekly paycheck again, I’m going to miss my semi retirement. You know, the coming and going as I please. I’ll miss not having to miss a minute of my two favorite talk radio shows, “The Wake Up Call,” and “The Jim Cates Show.” I’ll still stay tuned in, but there will be times I’ll have to travel out of town and miss them altogether. I’m going to miss having the time to drop by the Metro anytime I happened to be in the neighborhood. And I’m going to miss having the time to organize my wife’s day. I’m sure she’ll miss me too, but I think she’s secretly glad to have me out of her hair.
Last Sunday Pete Goering told us about his lung cancer. Pete, we’re all pulling for you, and will be looking forward to reading about your progress in the battles that lie ahead. Thankfully, it’s not twenty years ago. You’re going to be amazed by the level of knowledge and professionalism you’re going to find in the medical world of today. Finally, something this old guy knows something about.
Kevin McGinty can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org