Dan was a good friend of our youth. I don't
remember when we started to hang out together, but music seem to
always be the basis. We played duets on the piano. We were in the
band together. We also gave a brief effort to form our own little
trio that included Jim Meredith. The three of us were entered in a
talent contest at Pence Springs High School where we met three other
fellows that played guitars. After the contest was over, our two
groups merged to one. Not to forget his humor, Dan was always "on". A
pure joy to be around. And the laughter was always there.
We lost touch in the 60s and it wasn't until 1999 that we re-connected,
although I had heard of him every now and then from friends. One in particular
was that he became a preacher. This intrigued me for I was a new
Christian. He found out that I started up the Aldersonian on the
internet and he started sending in his monthly piece. Except for
brief times of health issues, he was very faithful.
For the past 12 years we stayed in touch via email and a phone call
every now and then. He told me about his heart attack and how he
only had about 10-12 % of it working. Through all the medicine,
therapy, and alien plumbing he had in and on his body, he
persevered, and the positive and humorous statements were always
When I hadn't heard from him in while, I'd fire off an email. The
following are Dan's emails, updating me on his current condition for the
I had some more time in the hospital and they ran a new heart cath
on me. Two of the original four bypasses they installed in 95 are
completely blocked and two secondary arteries are blocked also.
There is not much they can do except they changed my medicine last
week and I knew by the sheet they gave me with the new meds that it
was going to be something to get used to, It was like those
commercials you see on TV that after you watch it you say to
yourself" who in their right mind would take it."
The first couple of days I was so sick at my stomach I couldn't hold
water down. At night I was having mind benders that I think the
people back in the 60's that took LSD must have experienced.
They have cut back the dosage now and I am feeling a little better.
After the cath, this young Dr. came in the hospital room and told me
he would recommend that I go through some rehab with lifting some
weights and using a tread machine.... I said "doc, I get winded
walking to the bathroom." He then said maybe I should get back to my
regular heart doctor for further instructions, he he.
I am hoping I can hold it here at least for a while, My regular dr
said that maybe I can get back to normal in a few weeks. I told him
"that's strange, things haven't been normal for me since the mid
Have been back in the hospital. They found some more blockage. Can't
do any more for this heart. Going tomorrow to the Heart Failure
Center to see about where to go from here. I have a good idea, but
then they would probably think I was just kidding.
There is a little book we found at Wal-Mart in paper back. Its
called Heaven Is For Real, by Todd Burpo. It is well worth the read.
Thought it was time for an update. Some good, some bad. I went in to
the heart failure center on the 2nd of May and the Nurse Prac. said
we need to get Dr. O'Connell (Dir of Center),
in on this. He came in and told me it was time to bite the bullet.
They immediately shipped me upstairs where they started running test
on me for heart transplant. The ran test on me for two weeks, from
teeth x-rays to colonoscopy.
They said that everything was running along real smooth until they
found a something in my prostate. They took some biopsies and found
Well that automatically puts me out of the running for a new heart,
because you have to be cancer free for 5 years. Starting June 8th
they are going to start treating me with radiation. The prognosis is
that I will be out of the cancer in about 8 weeks. This treatment is
where they put you in a machine and from the findings on the ct scan
the will pinpoint only the cancer cells. Shoot them without damaging
the surrounding good cells and it should take care of that.
So back to the heart. While I was in the hospital they started me on
primecor, it is a very strong heart med that they give to strengthen
the heart muscles. In fact they sent me home with the primecor and a
portable pump that keeps it going 24/7. I have a Nurse that comes in
every other day to start new medicine and check my vitals. Sometime
around September they hope to implant a Lvad (left ventricle assist
device. This unit is a pump that will by pass the left side and take
the blood from the bottom of the right ventricle straight up to the
They are saying that I should be able to get some of my old Duff
back and be able to cook and chase Buckshot around the hallway.
Any way don't give up my spot and I'll be back to the Aldersonian
In the meantime I am going to grill some animal flesh on the George
Foreman and tell Buckshot to start runnin' and I will catch up
Things have been moving kind of fast with a few hiccups along the
way. I am two radiation treatments away from completing that phase
of the game. I had a setback last week when I went into arterial
flutter. Went to the emergency room. They tried several different
meds to try to get my heart down from 165 beats a minute. They
finally had to use the paddles on me. That was shocking but I made
Friday I went back to the heart failure center to make sure I was
still in line to get a L-VAD. After two hours they said that I was
fit for it. They have put me into a study. They will either give me
a Heart Mate 2 or a Heart Ware. You can look them up on the internet
and see the units and how they operate, I am hoping to get the Heart
Ware. The Heart Mate is a Cadillac, but from all the studies done so
far the Heart Ware is a Bentley.
Been tired out for the last couple of weeks, but they said to expect
that from the radiation.
I know there a lot of people who have me on their prayer list. I
hope they will continue. I was talking to Dr. Jansen who is
coordinating the plan for the procedure. He ask me how I was feeling
about the whole thing. I told him it kind of reminded me of an old
Nissan I use to have and I was going through some financial setbacks
and I needed that car to last me a few months until I could afford a
car payment. I would take it to Bob, who went to church with me and
I would say," Bob, can you keep it going for another 30 days." I
said "Doc, can you keep me going for another 30 days.
The older I get the more I recall and relive some of those great
teen years we had in Alderson. Every now and again I remember going
to Sonny Bennett's and listening to Dave Garner records or going
over to your house and playing drums and banging on that old piano.
Sometimes I still wonder why your mom didn't run us off before we ran
off her customers.
The program is moving right along.... I am finished with the
radiation treatments and tomorrow (25th) I will be going back to the
radiologist to take a PSA test to see if the treatments had any
effect on the cancer. Then on the 12th of Sept I go back to the
urologist for blood test because that will be 30 days after the last
treatment. At that time I am praying I will be cancer free and
hopefully about the third week of September I will check in to the
hospital where they will tweak my health and welfare to tip top
shape so they can crack my chest and install the LVAD. Till then I
will enjoy football and try to stay out of trouble.
Went into the hospital on the 19th to have the surgery on the 21st
of September. On Monday they did blood cultures and urine cultures.
Everything sterile and ready to go. Tuesday they install a swan (a
device that goes down the artery to the right side of the heart to
monitor the activity). Later on Tuesday I suddenly got the shivers.
They took more blood and found that I had a blood infection. They
gave me massive doses of antibiotics and on Friday they found the
The had to withhold the surgery because if I had gone ahead with the
surgery and they found the infection later, they would have to go
into my chest again and remove the LVAD.
They sent me home with a Melirone Pump to keep me somewhere near
normal until surgery. They also have massive antibiotics that I must
take intravenously for ten days.
Latest schedule On the 4th of Oct I go back in for blood cultures
and if every thing is OK. Surgery is scheduled for the 12th.
Barry, It is good to hear from you.... Had a good Thanksgiving....
had so many things to thank God for. He had truly blessed me this
year and has answered a lot of prayers... but then I am before him a
couple of times a day and usually asking for something... I hardly
ever ask Him for anything personally. I do ask him a lot for my
children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I still am not as strong as I hoped to be at this time, I thought I,
like Sampson, could just shake myself and be as before... but the
Doctors are all saying I am the poster child for recovery.
Doing pretty good. this pump takes me to the hospital about every
week. The Dr's tell me everything is fine and I just need to settle
down and behave myself.
How are you doing? I think you must be doing fine or we would have
heard about it, wouldn't we?
As you can tell, Dan never lost his sense of
humor. Oh yes, earlier I said I heard that Dan had
become a preacher, but he wasn't. At least by the
standards that we think of. He was (still is) a Christian and it
showed in his writings. Just read his pieces on Christmas and
Easter. He shared his faith in Christ to all who read them and I
know Jesus welcomed him home yesterday.
So long for now Dan, I'll see you at the house.