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There’s a lesson in every experience

‘˜There’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes.’ -John Prine John Prine penned his haunting lyric in the song ‘˜Sam Stone’, a lament about the Vietnam War. Sam came home from Vietnam haunted by what he saw there. He could not exorcise his demons and eventually died of an overdose. I think of Prine’s work three times a day when I plug antibiotics into the picc line in my arm to fight off a recurring staph infection. To quickly sum up my situation, I had elective sinus surgery in December and contracted staph in the hospital ‘“ most likely in the operating room. In early March, my sinus abscessed and I had emergency surgery and a bunch of antibiotics both IV and oral. In early May, my symptoms returned. I consulted an infectious disease specialist in Macon and, subsequently, had my third surgery on May 12. Before I left, they inserted the picc line ‘“ peripherally inserted central catheter. I watched on a big screen TV as the line went into my arm and snaked its way to the vena cava superior vein near my heart. At present, my treatment plan calls for six weeks of antibiotic infusion through the line. One of the antibiotics is no problem. The other, televancin, is harsh and makes everything taste like metal. I never realized how many people have had staph until I got it. There are horror stories by the hundreds out there. Same goes for picc lines. Once I got one and word got out, many people came forward to tell me it would be okay. I needed their encouragement because I had made the mistake of googling ‘˜picc line’ and the results scared me to death. It is strange how the Good Lord both tests and reassures us. The day I came home from Macon after learning I would have to undergo the third surgery and the antibiotic treatment, I was feeling mighty sorry for myself. We turned a corner and a large SUV was stopped in the road with a frantic couple hovering outside. Laura stopped the car and I went to see what was wrong. Inside the couple’s daughter was having a seizure. There was nothing we could do but watch the girl thrash and wait for an ambulance. I realized this was God’s way of telling me to stop whining. About 30 hours later, I was on Grove Street in the dark witnessing firsthand the aftermath of a killer tornado. Two people were dead, many were injured and countless homes were wiped off the face of the Earth. My problem paled in comparison. As part of my treatment, I go twice a week to an infusion center in Macon. There are some mighty sick people in there getting IVs to literally stave off death. All maintain good attitudes. It is uplifting. There is a lesson in every experience and a silver lining in every cloud. At 56, I have learned, finally, that I am not invincible. I know that no matter how bad things seem, there are others out there far worse off than I. Whining never helps and people tire quickly of those who engage in it. Medical science is evolving daily and I am glad of it. There are countless doctors, nurses and other health care professionals out there who care and do things right the first time. Attitude is so important in getting over illnesses and other life setbacks. I try to keep mine positive. I suggest you do the same. A quick word of thanks to all who have called, written, e-mailed, brought food, put me on their prayer list or otherwise offered solace to me and my family. Each and every one of you are loved and appreciated!

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