Saturday, October 31, 2009

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy Adventures

In the practice of Gastroenterology an esophagogastroduodenoscopy is a diagnostic endoscopic procedure that visualizes the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract up to the duodenum. For the sake of brevity, this 26 letter word is usually abbreviated EGD. I had an EGD procedure done last Wednesday.

The procedure is not bothersome at all, since you are anesthetized. They do squirt some local anesthetic in the back of your mouth which has a rather unpleasant taste. Beyond that, you recall nothing. At least that was my experience.

Upon arriving at the doctors building, I was escorted to the recovery room and asked to remove my shirt. A couple of nurses then pounced upon me. One attached electrodes to my chest and the other jabbed an IV needle in the back of my hand.

Within minutes my gurney was wheeled back to a room with some computer monitors, a large black tubie looking thing, the doctor and his two attack nurses. One was the squirter and the other put the general anesthetic in my IV and I was instantly unconscious.

I have no idea what next ensued, but I have a foggy recall of visions in the recovery room. It was astounding, as I saw two of everybody.

Later that evening my wife and I went out for dinner and I asked her, “How did I get home? I don’t recall anything.” We even went out for breakfast after the procedure and for the life of me I can’t remember where or what I ordered. She said she was surprised I didn't remember and proceded to describe my odd behavior.

She said the nurses had called her back since my breathing was labored after the procedure. I was panting. They wanted her to encourage me to breath normally.

Once I did sort of wake up, she tells me I was telling the nurses what a great doctor they worked for since he only hired twins. I said it was a great way to keep their families close. After that Linny tells me several of the nurses, taking advantage of my nonsense, came over and introduced me to their twin. She then shooed them away by saying, “You guys, cut that out!”

I sat on the edge of the bed and just kept saying, “Hi. How ya’ doin’ Hi there. How are you.”

I am very friendly and outgoing when I'm coming out of anesthesia.

I have not a clue as to whether I walked out or was taken out of the building in a wheelchair to our car. What is scary is that I still don’t remember.

BTW, the tests all showed I no longer have an ulcer and the Barretts Esophageal lesion is no worse. Since Barretts is pre-cancerous this is very good news.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chet Atkin's Wife Leona Passes

Parts of this post are from the Cincinnati Enquirer and Nashville Tennessean

Chet Atkins is my favorite guitar player. And though he passed away eight years ago, I am still learning guitar from listening to his recordings and as of late watching his performances on Youtube. Chet's wife passed away earlier this week.

Leona Atkins was 85 and had been ill for some time.

The list of her pallbearers and honorary pallbearers for Leona Johnson Atkins certainly shows she and her family were highly respected and loved by the Country Music Community. Helping carry the former singer were Vince Gill, the Everly Brothers and Ray Stevens.

Mrs. Atkins was born Leona Johnson in Williamsburg Ohio in 1924 and grew up in Clermont County. She met her husband, guitar legend, fiddle player, record producer and industry executive Chet Atkins, while performing on WLW radio. She and her sister were called "Fern and LaVern" on the show. Leona was LaVern and sister Lois was Fern.

She used to tell the story of how she and her husband met at WLW on the stations program, Boone County Jamboree. She felt sorry for him as he sat, alone, practicing so much, so she decided to befriend him. She gave up her career after they married in 1946. As an aside, Leona's sister met and married another WLW musician from that same era, mandolin player Kenneth Burns. Burns was Jethro of the country comedy duo, Homer and Jethro.

In her days with Bill McCluskey's road show, she talked about how much traveling they did and how long those days were. They traveled to shows throughout the Midwest almost every night of the week, but had to be back in Cincinnati each morning for the WLW show. They often drove all night in their Studebaker bus, singing along the way.

"Her family, and her and her sister, Lois, did a lot of county fairs around the area," said Mike Martini, a local broadcast historian who sat at her kitchen table in Nashville three or four years ago to do an oral history interview. "They just loved to perform."

Atkins allowed Martini to copy her scrapbook. She told him that if her husband were sitting with them there, he'd have a guitar in his hand and be playing while he spoke.

In an article by Vince Gill, he tells the story of visiting Mrs. Atkins after Chet's passing. Leona remained close to many of the players that Chet had befriended and taken under his wing. Leona knew how much Gill like a particular guitar in Chet's collection. It was an old Martin 00-28. Upon leaving her home she presented Gill with the guitar. He says he was stunned and so appreciative at her generousity.

She's a big part of what made Chet great," said Gill. "They were an inseparable pair: When you saw him, you saw her.

"She and Chet were a team," said recording artist Steve Wariner, a longtime friend. "She'd tell stories about the hours he'd practice, how he'd play and fall asleep with the guitar still in his lap. She'd take it out of his lap and put him to bed." I'd come over and she'd always say, 'Sing me something,' Wariner said. "And when I started having hits, there was nobody happier for me. But she had such pride in the music Chet made. She'd say, 'Nobody did it like Chester.' "

"I have always teased (Leona) about coming on the show and singing a duet with me, which she has always declined to do," wrote Garrison Keillor, host of radio show A Prairie Home Companion, on the show's Web site. "She and her sister... were a fine sister duet act, doing sentimental songs and novelty tunes, and when I came to write the screenplay for A Prairie Home Companion (the movie), it occurred to me to put a sister duet in it and name them for Leona and Lois. I sort of thought of Meryl Streep as the Leona character, so I gave my character a little wistful romance with her."

Atkins is survived by her daughter, Merle Atkins Russell, of Nashville; granddaughter Amanda Sawyer; grandson Jonathan Russell; great-grandsons Jamie and Will Sawyer; a brother, Earl Johnson, of Hamilton; and five sisters; Norma Jean Fox and Shirley Kautz, both of Dayton, Virginia Komo and Catherine Smith, both of Milford; and Florence Ritchey of Mt. Orab.

Friday, October 09, 2009

President Obama - Nobel Peace Prize

I am not understanding this at all.

All the Israeli's that I know were very upset about Obama when he visited early in his presidency.

Obama has cozied up to that Saudis, Iran and a few other Muslim nations and assured them his name is Hussein.

I may have blinked but I don't recall any actual peace agreements except for....

...well, The Obama Administration has taken a piece of the banking industry, a piece of the automobile industry, a piece of the credit card industry and a piece of the mortgage industry. The Administration is working diligently on getting a piece of the health care industry.

Never mind! I guess Obama does deserve a Piece Prize.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Not the band Aerosmith, but the book Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis that was a best seller in 1925. In fact Lewis was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for this novel, but he turned it down. Lewis was assisted in writing the book with the help of a real bacteriologist that he had befriended, Dr. Paul L. DeKruif . The science references and discussion in the book are accurate.

The story is about the life of a doctor whose goal is to become a bacteriologist. He devotes his entire life to the study of microorganisms in the hope to erradicate disease. Through his journey we learn that not much has changed in the medicine and pharmacuedical business from the past Century.

A couple of paragraphs in this book stood out as being prophetic. To think this book was published in 1925.

The paragraphs are the thoughts of Martin Arrowsmith's microbiology professor and mentor, Dr. Max Gottlieb.

He reflected (it was an international debate in which he was joined by a few and damned by many) that half a dozen generations nearly free from epidemics would produce a race so low in natural immunity that when a great plague, suddenly springing from almost-zero to aworld-smothering cloud, appeared again, it might wipe out the worldentire, so that the measures to save lives to which he lent his genius might in the end be the destruction of all human life.

He meditated that if science and public hygiene did removetuberculosis and the other major plagues, the world was grimly certain to become so overcrowded, to become such a universal slave-packed shambles, that all beauty and ease and wisdom would disappear in a famine-driven scamper for existence. Yet these speculations never checked his work. If the future became overcrowded, the future must by birth-control or otherwise look to itself.