All of us as we get older come to realize that we are probably not as “bullet proof” as we’ve come to believe we are. When I was younger, and in the military, the fire service or during my many years with the sheriff’s department we thought we could do about anything we wanted.
We didn’t fear much and proved it every day. Whether it was flying low and bold on the skids of a UH-1 Huey helicopter, grabbing a hose line from the back of an engine company and proceeding with others inside a building to do a search, or knock down a fire that was raging inside. As a deputy we’d walk into a home where a despondent husband or wife was threatening the life of their spouse or responding to a call for a break-in at a business after closing hours, nothing seemed to concern us when we were younger.
I think the adrenaline would take over and push our fears aside and sometimes that of our common sense. One way or another we would let our fears be muted and we would get the job done. Today, our soldiers and first-responders are much better trained for those situations they face, however, the risks they face are just as dangerous.
A solider I knew who had once served several tours of duty in combat zones and later in life became a state trooper in his home state, explained to me that circumstances required him to deliver their first child at home. Tom had told me later in his life that he was never so nervous or scared, knowing the life of his wife and his soon-to-be newborn child were in his hands. “I’ve never been so scared in my entire life,” Tom said, while sitting on my boat fishing one day here off Marco.
Over the last several months I have been experiencing some medical issues myself. I’ve been fortunate in life to have not faced too many problems. Those that I have had, were routine and handled with ease. The removal of a bad gallbladder and the insertion of two stints in my heart were all done without fanfare or worry.
The last six months however, I’ve been dealing with some acute pain in my back and legs. The issues have become so severe at times that I’ve lost the ability to stand upright and to balance myself when walking. Due to those falls I have caused damage to the right shoulder’s rotator cuff and my knee.
Those simple things like putting on a shirt or reaching for a toothbrush have become a bit of a chore and require some creative engineering, but you manage to get them done, until of course, when you get frustrated and must ask sheepishly for assistance. Believe me, men don’t like to ask for assistance, and I’m no different unfortunately. We can be just stubborn at times.
My family doctor would send me to see a pain management physician and their office suggested an epidural steroid injection to ease the irritation of the nerves in that area that was affecting my back and my legs. That worked find for almost 7-8 months, but then the pain returned with greater intensity. Two more attempts were made with injections and unfortunately, those did little good.
My family physician would then arrange a meeting with a neurologist. He would order updated MRIs of the involved area and scheduled me for surgery after finding the situation had seriously degraded since my diagnosis from just over a year ago.
The MRIs and x-rays were all done at Physicians Regional with great skill and care. They were extremely helpful and did an outstanding job. I chose Physicians Regional because it was just up Collier Boulevard from Marco.
My surgery was done at NCH downtown. From the day we did our “pre-admission” review to the day of the surgery I couldn’t have asked for a more conscientious and proficient group of professionals to have handled my needs.
From making sure all my articles of clothing and valuables were secured to insuring I had warm blankets to avoid a chill, they made sure every need was attended to, including a follow up call from the hospital two days later to check on my recovery.
The surgery went well, even though I’ll be facing about a two to six-week recovery, and should be out and around shortly, but a little slower for a while.
So many times, I hear from friends or neighbors that they want to go out of state and back home, or over to the east coast for their surgical procedures. I can tell you from my experience that we have some of the finest medical care available to us right here in the Naples area.
We live in a great place here in Southwest Florida and I hope each of you will find physicians and health care organizations that you too are comfortable with. If and when you need to recover, can you think of anywhere nicer and more pleasant than where others choose to vacation, and we choose to live?