Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Usual recovery from that surgery was five to seven days My daily phone calls told me that things were not going according to plan.

Friday afternoon I drove back to Portland.

Gas at Les Lammers, Hood River, then check into the Mallory Hotel where a "truck drivers" room cost $10.50 per night.

Since gas was almost unobtainable I had the road mostly to myself but weirdly the company owned Shell Station around the corner from the hotel not only allowed me to fill my tank but offered a free car wash as well.

Just to set the scene. When Uncle Dave returned from California, he arrived in one town with his gas gauge hitting the empty bar he was told to come back tomorrow no license plates ending in even number are served today.

The doctors were reluctant to release their patient but the patient claimed that recovery would be much faster at home and demanded to be released. The release was granted and off we went.

By the time we stopped at a restaurant in Hood River, Jean was complaining of extreme pain in her neck. I offered to take her back to Good Sam but she said no so we continued to Walla Walla
where she checked into the old St. Mary Hospital.

Bob Jameison was an excellent diagnostician but he came up with some far out theories on Jean.
At one point she told him she "hurt so bad she could jump out the window." He put her on suicide watch.

She spent most of the day lying face down. The diagnosis was "empty nest syndrome!".

When she did not eat her meals, she was told she was a bad girl and the tray taken away.

I called the hospital and spoke to the sister in charge. She made a comment about it wasn't fair to waste the food. I am afraid I was not very diplomatic. I told her if they didn't feed her I would bring food from the Pastime Cafe and feed her myself.

That evening when I arrived at the hospital, an aid was spooning food into her mouth.

A spinal tap had been attempted earlier but was inconclusive.

I have a mental lapse now on the name of the physiatrist at the hospital who was a friend of Jim Mclellen. Anyway, he did another spinal tap after my tirade and the pressure was off the chart so back to Portland by ambulance.

Jean's Aunt Altha had come to visit her sick niece and ended up as baby sitter to four children.
Her comment to Dr. Schaefer drew a chuckle when she intoned into the phone. "I have become a mother at age 59 and I have a baby running a fever. What do I do?".

Saturday, July 14, 2007

After thirty years please bear with me as my memory of some dates and some names are blurred or forgotten in time.

We had a beautiful home, business was going well. we had just given b irth to our fourth child.

The pain that Jean had been experiencing was getting worse. Her head was now permanently pulled to one side. I believe the medical term is a tortacolis. (spelling?).

The doctors at the local clinic tried any number of palliatives to ease the pain and relax the muscles. Over months things only seemed to get worse.

I had watched my father succumb to emphesema trusting my mother who was usually proactive to be the point person. We had options open that were not explored. Whether they would have helped is open. There was a comment by a doctor friend that my father may have been the victim of "bad doctoring".

With this in mind I resolved not to be passive in this instance.

I called a friend who was doing a residency in Portland to discuss what to do next. He suggested a Dr. Parsons, a neurosurgeon whom he felt would give me a competent and conservative diagnosis.

Dr. Parsons was the "hands" associate to Dr. John Raaf who had joined the staff of the University of Oregon Medical School in1936 and was considered the father of their neurosurgery department. Dr. Raaf had done surgery on my grandfather B thirty years before as well as Aunt Dorothy in the early 1960's. He was actually in his day one of the most renowned neurosurgeons in the country and had been on call to participate in the treatment of President Kennedy following his being shot.

With this team I felt secure that we were in good hands.

We signed in to Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon.

The first room assigned to Jean was in the opthamology area. I mention this only for the then new technique of cataract removal patients post surgery were forced to lie with sandbags to prevent any head movement for two or three days after surgery.

With the laser surgery done today people are permitted to go home shortly after the procedure is completed.

Again, this was February, 1974. OPEC was cutting the flow of petroleum products. From Jean's room on the fourth floor of the hospital I could see cars lined in blocks long ques at the Shell station several blocks away.

After Jean was moved to the neurosurgery floor a series of tests were done and the packet I had brought from Walla Walla was examined. The diagnosis was a brain tumor.

Surgery was scheduled.

I returned to Walla Walla. Lyle Baden was watching the store for me as Uncle Dave was in Palm Springs and my mother was baby sitting with our four children.

On the night before the surgery I drove back to Portland. Les Lammers was able to fill the 28 gallon tank of the Cadillac. There was a service station in Hood River that was able to fill my tank and another near the hotel in Portland where if I were first in line, I could fill the tank.

I walked with Jean's gurney to the doors of the surgery.

After a long, long wait Doctor Parsons appeared in the surgery waiting room.

Good news! There was no tumor only an anomaly of the bony structure of the skull requiring a rerouting of some nerves.

Good news? This was only the beginning.

Monday, July 02, 2007

It was an interesting time.

An infant plus three children at various levels in school to care for.

Uncle Dave had had a pioneering open heart surgery the year before and with his new found energy had set an number of deals in motion at B. Barer & Sons for me to follow through on and had left for a month's breather in Palm Springs.

Jean was my indispensable adviser on our new Fabric Outlet store.

I was involved as the picked upon son in law in the Little Theatre stage play, "Never Too Late".

Jean's mother and father were on an around the world tramp steamer cruise.

The building at Wallula Road after being vacant for some time had been rented but before the tenant could move in the neighborhood association began a full court press to void the rental giving rise to a series of hearings that were in progress at the time.

February, 1974