1928 - Alderson High School - 1968

 

Daniel Edward Duff

Barry Worrell - April -24, 2012


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 there.

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 past year.


3-12-2011:
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 50's.

4-19-2011:
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.

5-28-2011:
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 some cancer.

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 aorta.

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 very soon.

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 later.

7-30-2011:
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 it through.

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.

8-24-2011:
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.

9-30-2011:
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 culprit.

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.

12-1-2011:
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.

1-28-2012:
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.
 

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