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Summer Newsletter, 2016

Howdy Folks,

Shirl thinks I ought to tell you about my hospital experience of several months back. Not certain how to do this without getting myself sued for defamation of character or wind up in that same hospital again.

Maybe about four months ago, I started to feel a bit punk. Looking back now, I realize that little by little I kept getting worse. Then came the week before Easter and I was feeling really rotten. On the morning after Easter, I told Shirl that I thought I had better get in to see the doc. He sent me immediately to the hospital. That was almost the FINAL cure.

Well the hospital was staffed with "Saturday Night Live" rejects. I came in with severe respiratory discomfort and they checked me in (so I found out later) as a heart patient. The nurses seemed to know that I had lung problems since they put me on massive drips of antibiotics and had a respiratory therapist wake me at all hours of the day and night to suck on inhalers; but to the food service people, I was still on a "heart patient--restricted diet." That of course meant no salt, no butter, no sugar, and absolutely nothing fried. Instead, I was fed a healthy diet of Styrofoam chips and roof-shingle roughage.

To make matters worse, every day I saw a different doctor for a couple of minutes. "Hospitalist" they are called now. Each would ask me "how are you doing." Here I am with an IV in each arm and they want to know how I am "doing." Well, unless they took me for a napping trapeze artist tangled in his own equipment, I obviously was not "doing" so hot. But on my fifth day as I was burping my Styrofoam chips, a hospitalist came in and asked me what my pulmonologist "had to say." I told her that I had not seen a "lunger" since I came to the hospital. Apparently, the main system had scheduled me for a meeting with a lung doctor for the morning after I had checked into the hospital. But the main system forgot to notify his personal system, so he didn't know that he had a patient in room 666. The gal who cleaned that room told me these little mix-ups happened a lot. Apparently, doctors don't talk to doctors anymore (very bad procedure, very outré). When they feel like it, computer systems talk to computer systems, very sanitary, no germs spread.

Anyway, that night, a new tech came in. After fooling around with the electronic monitor, he came over to the bed to check me out. He decided he needed to replace the IV port in my right arm, although by this time it was not hooked up to anything. Still, he ripped the old one out of the artery (this is gospel truth) and clumsily jabbed in a replacement. But for the first time in five days I got a good night's sleep only to awake in the morning to pandemonium. I was in the middle of a comedy skit. That new tech? Well he had forgotten to close the IV port and through the night I had leaked enough blood to cover the bed, myself, and a small bit of the floor. The nurse was running around, two techs were pulling off the bedding and my gown, I was standing in the middle of the floor naked and bloody, and a little gal was swabbing a puddle of blood between my feet. And in walks the pulmonologist! He looked around and the said, "Well, if you've decided to kill the sucker, I'll move on to my next patient. And by the way, throw a sheet over that guy or get him down to the morgue. He's an ugly mess...ruined my breakfast."

I've been home for three months and am doing pretty well. I'm still on medication and doing exercises designed to rebuild lung strength. BUT I AIN'T EVER, NEVER GOING BACK TO THAT HOSPITAL! By god, if I have a relapse I'll check myself into Jiffy Lube!

Happy summer 2016,

Jim,

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Jim in front of a classroom, teaching during his tenure on our local school board.


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Jim posed for the River Nymph book cover, chose the lady with the cards model and created the basic design from which Kim Killion worked.


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TWO FREE NOVELLAS


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