landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
fyi - fan voting counts for a 1/3 of the final vote, so let's target getting Kelsey as many votes as we can in these final 4 days. With the team resoundingly recognized as a national power, great respect for Coach Hutchins and the teams phenomenal record this year, here's hoping the coaches and national media give Kelsey her due in the final 2/3 voting.
Apparently, Leach won the Derby with 1 Home Run. Also, the event raised over $150k, setting a record. Overall, seemed like the event was a huge success.
We've already helped to bump Kelsey up to 5th place! Pour it on! http://www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/softball_2016/
Voting thru May 9th http://www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/softball_2016/. Yes she's far behind but damn the torpedoes!, let's light that voting count up for Kelsey thru May 9th!
LOOKING BACK ON MY “EPISODE”
This is not a sports-related diary per se, but I am posting this because it was a sports blog that helped me get through what might be termed my first official “health scare” back in December, and it occurred to me that I never properly thanked everyone for the kindness and support that was shown during what was a rather rough and eye-opening week in my life.
If you’re interested in the details, feel free to continue reading. The basic lesson that I will throw out there is this – if it isn’t going away, you probably need to see someone about it (i.e., a medical professional) as soon as humanly possible.
I developed a rather nasty cold sometime in the last half of October last year, and like most colds, it persisted for a week or so and then went on its way. Well, not completely on its way – the cough persisted, but I am in my late 30s and still on the cusp of athlete shape most everywhere on me, so I didn’t even consider that to be a problem…yet.
In early November, I went to the urgent care in Canton for the first time – they gave me a cough suppressant, wrote it off as bronchitis and told me that I should probably see improvement in 10-14 days. This was after an hour or so of waiting and exams, so I walked out of there with a prescription and, for a time, the cough got better, but of course that wasn’t the problem now.
A few days before Thanksgiving, the cough came back in force, this time with pink eye and a runny nose, the former being something I had not had since fourth grade even with a house full of kids that had conjunctivitis recently. That was rather strange, but I soldiered through this. By now, however, I was sleeping with my upper torso elevated because it was the only way I was getting relief. Still, I had hopes that this was just a cough.
In the early part of December, I started to notice some swelling in my feet, swelling that I could not associate with the chronic inflammation of tendons that I experience down there anyway. We’re six weeks into this by now and this might have been the first time I was truly flummoxed. Edema – class 2 edema – will do that at my age, because it shouldn’t even be a thing at my age. My primary care physician prescribes a diuretic and a BP med, which again help for a while.
As December wore on, however, I start actually listening to what people are saying about me – mainly about my loss of weight (15 pounds from about Halloween at that juncture) and my ashen appearance, which I think I might have been in denial about. Yes, the cough persisted, and was getting steadily worse. The weekend before Christmas is when this all came crashing down on me.
I was at a family party on the 19th of December, where I made it memorable by hacking up enough fluid to build a lung and then hacking up everything that I had eaten in the driveway. That came before the night of exactly zero sleep, where my coughing actually led to a noise complaint at the Dundee Quality Inn. At 10:30 AM on Sunday, December 20th, my wife – who was tired of me trying to bargain with myself that this was something I could conquer alone – basically threw me into the car and carted me to St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor.
It was in that emergency room that I first began to realize that, no, it wasn’t a cough. More to the point, it might have been a cough, but it was now something very different. I got the feeling I might be in for an adventure when I was carted right to the acute rooms after a brief look at my vitals. On to the monitors I went, and if the tachycardia and ultra-high blood pressure weren’t jarring enough, the chest x-ray, the left side of which was opaque, was downright frightening.
“This is not normal.”, said the ER physician.
A very frightened me said, “Yes, I get that.”
My right lung was about ¾ full of….something. I also had a heart which was now a smidge larger than it should have been. Both bad, of course.
More tests. CT scans and what seemed like 100 blood panels. Nothing else terribly amiss other than the heart and lung. In the haze of talk and machines, I may have missed a detail here and there, but at about 3:00 PM, they came in with the equipment to basically drain me. So that is what I signed off on, eh? I can’ remember. Whatever.
For those that have not had the pleasure of having a tube inserted into a lung, it is relatively minor and painless thanks to the very powerful local that they give you. Being just loopy enough to be aware of your surroundings is an interesting experience too. A little pressure and a poke and you are now hooked to a plastic box with a liter or so of capacity.
My right lung began draining almost immediately – a brown, sometimes reddish fluid. A good thing in the sense that it gave them the impression that my immune system had won, but at a rather significant cost. Anyway, one liter…then two….then three. It took about five minutes to get three liters of this shit out of me. They stopped it intentionally, in fact, with a valve down at the top of the container. More than enough to test.
It was pretty evident I was going to be spending some time in the hospital at this point, of course. About an hour after that rather horrific look inside me, I was in a room watching TV and waiting for doctors to tell me what my next few days would be like.
From my days when I was heavy into neuropsychology, I gained some – a tiny bit – of medical knowledge out of necessity. So when they began to throw “cardiomyopathy” and “pleural effusion” around, I got the message rather clearly and began to feel a combination of relief and anger – anger at myself. Just a cough indeed, Lorne. A few more days and this was an ICU-worthy offense, if you will. They were very clear about that part.
My life in the short term changed right then and there – the hospital diet was a low-sodium diet, the thoracic and cardio specialists came in shifts to talk treatment and future. Among some of the more interesting things that were done to me in the name of eliminating causes were a catheterization, which yielded nothing but compliments about the clear nature of my arteries, a procedure where I got shot up with something to accelerate the drainage of fluid from my lung and got turned like a rotisserie chicken in the process and an echo of my legs, which yielded the startling finding that my veins are of a healthy size.
Furosimide took care of the edema at this point, which all but vanished inside a few days. One thing about that – peeing became a temporary hobby. A good sign, but extremely inconvenient. The potassium pills were as close to literal horse pill as you can get too. Take them with food? They are food unto themselves. By the third day in the hospital, I was free of equipment and able to walk without having to give a nurse 15 minutes warning. I walked around that ward – Floor 2 East – and saw people much worse off than I. The feeling was one of humility and thankfulness, or rather, I was humbled by the notion that some of these cases could have been me, but thankful that the one thing that might have saved me from more serious problems is being 38 and fit.
I was finally able to go home at about 10:30 AM on Christmas Day. For the first time in my entire life, I had spent Christmas Eve alone. Worse, I spent it in a hospital room surrounded by people who, in one or two cases, might not even leave that hospital alive, or so I gathered from the chatter I could hear. The most I could do was turn on the single strand of lights that my mother-in-law put up and watch “A Christmas Story” on the grainy reception of Room 231.
I went back to work two followup appointments later – on January 20th. I spent a month basically tooling around my house in a rather depressed state, but somehow a wiser one. I still suffer from the effects of all this, at least a little bit – my wife lords over my physical activity like a hawk to this day and I am on some of the medications right now. I have another followup in June and one more echocardiogram. My ejection fraction is still a bit south of normal, so no booze and the diet remains for the time being. I have experienced what for a younger person is a radical life shift, even if it is ultimately temporary. I felt everything – fear, self-hatred, relief and so on – sometimes in the span of hours.
That brings me to what I wanted to say here – one thing that did get me through this was MGoBlog. I may not have been terribly active on it for about a week or so there, but I was reading and laughing and shaking my fist in anger at various threads right along with everyone else. The thread about my hospitalization – which was unprompted – was a very touching display of support, one I printed out and still have on the wall of my home office. In a time when I was despairing a bit, this place helped me out.
It is a bit belated, but I did want to thank everyone for that. I like you, even if your thread makes me want to put my head through the fucking wall.
Just saw today that Senior Kelsey Susalla, the UT player for Michigan Softball, is a candidate for the National Senior Class Award. Per the site, it's an award that "honors the attributes of NCAA Division I senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring."
Kelsey is way behind in the voting and needs our votes here: http://www.seniorclassaward.com/vote/softball_2016/. Voting continues thru May 9th so let's do what we do, support one of our own who's an outstanding representative of the type of quality student-athlete Michigan produces!