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Super Bowl takes back seat to medical comeback

Posted Thursday, February 18, 2010, at 10:53 PM

I have had almost two weeks to soothe my wounds after the Indianapolis Colts lost to the New Orleans Saints 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV.

But actually I did not need any time at all to realize that sports is a game, but life is the most important game of all.

Sure I was disappointed that the Colts were unable to claim their second Lombardi Trophy in the past four seasons, but I was distracted. Family health issues have a way of doing that to you.

It was about 72 hours before kickoff at Sun Life Stadium in Miami that my life changed forever and it was a simple as having an every day conversation with my wife Trish.

But before talking about my life-changing event, I will take a step back to start of what turned about to be a vision quest, if you will.

After having trouble breathing for a couple of days, I went behind my wife's back and made an appointment for her at the doctor. That was on Jan. 14 and that visit quickly turned into a trip to the hospital in Sullivan. It was until a couple of weeks later that I learned the visit to the doctor probably saved her life.

She was in Sullivan two days when they realized that her pneumonia going very bad was too much for them to handle.

She was transferred to Regional Hospital in Terre Haute, where Trish was seen by three specialists in the span of two hours.

This led to surgery on her right lung on Jan. 19 to remove a pleural effusion and part of her lung. The surgery lasted four hours and then she was in recovery for four more hours.

Trish was then transferred to ICU with a ventilator. She was heavily sedated and on the vent for about 96 hours, but her time in ICU encompassed at least another week.

By then, the physician who performed the surgery had signed off on the case, but something still wasn't right.

I don't know, and nobody else does either, why my wife, who also suffers from fibromyalgia, lupus, sciatic nerve, degenerative disc disease, enlarged heart, dropped bladder, osteoarthritis and stomach adhesions, wasn't responding to treatment.

In fact, she had a couple of episodes where she was verbally and physically abusive. She appeared to hate me more than she normally does. She would get mad at me when I would not help her escape the bed and the room that she was in.

It was as if she had alzheimer's. She knew who I was, but did not understand she was in the hospital recovering from surgery.

All I could do was hold her hand and pray that someday she would snap out of her daze. There had been a glimpse or where she seemed better, but it seemed like false hope.

There were many days that I spent time on the phone (my last cell phone bill was over $200) with family and friends during my daily trips to Terre Haute and back to Linton trying to explain the lack of mental progress.

Doctors assured me that the CAT scans were normal and there was no damage to her brain, and they expected a full recovery.

Even with that good news, I will admit that I was physically and mentally shook most days, hanging on to my sanity by a thin thread.

But then on Friday, Feb. 5, I walked into room 420 at Regional and my wife, 52, of almost 20 years came back to me.

I described it as if someone had turned on the light switch light in a dark room or pulled the curtains back and let in the sunshine.

At that moment, I had won my Super Bowl, and could have cared less about what was to happen in Florida.

One of the first things she asked was I going to be going to a Super Bowl party. Literally dumbfounded, I told her I wasn't sure.

I knew she was back when she asked me for her tweezers. The woman is literally obsessed with her eyebrows.

On Super Sunday, I sat with her about five hours, talking about everything meaningless thing you could think about or how were we going to handle our teenage daugher Taylor. The more trivial the conversation became, the more I smiled.

She fell asleep about two hours before kickoff and I headed to a friends to watch the game.

The game was virtually a blur as I was caught up in my own euphoria.

It was two days later that Trish was released from the hospital. After 26 days, she was coming home.

That was about a week and a half ago. It is going to be a long road back for Trish, but one I will gladly take every step with her.

I am thrilled that she still remembers me, but somehow forgot what a jerk I can be.

But I am sure that will change next fall near Labor Day when instead of watching a movie together on Sunday afternoon I will tell her that I won't be available until about 4 p.m., when the Colts game is finished.

B.J. Hargis is sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at hargisbj@yahoo.com.


Comments
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So glad Trish has recovered. I can't imagine how difficult that time must have been on you.

It's times like these that make you really appreciate life.

Nearly 6 years ago, my mother in law received a life saving liver transplant on Mother's Day. It was the best Mother's Day present she's ever received -- and it was the best one for me, too. It gave her a new lease on life and lots of time with her grandkids.

-- Posted by ISUgrad06 on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 10:31 AM

There's nothing more frustrating than watching a loved one go through something like this and the doctors can't give you any reasons why. Thankfully, she found her way back to you. May you have many, many more years together and many more Colt's seasons to aggravate her with. =D

-- Posted by Rambler 85 on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 11:42 AM


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Enough said
B.J. Hargis
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