Random Thoughts

Bad luck

... I seem to have a way of bringing on misfortune

by Ed Boyd

It all started in 2003. I havenít had any good luck since.

In the fall of 2003 I was signed up to teach a group process course in the Psychology Department at Lesley University. I was half way into the course which was going great guns. Group Process involves trying to teach persons about themselves and to help form a group. I identified myself as a psychologist having had lots of experience working with groups. I began the session by asking everyone to think of a strength that would apply to their chosen field as licensed Mental Health Workers. Then I asked the ten women to share that strength with each other. This began a process as a non-didactic experience. They were to understand that group process means that the group is its own agenda. I felt good about what was happening as the women seemed to turn on to what was being asked, though some were skeptical.

Meantime, I felt another lump in my neck which I judged to another false aneurysm like the one I had previously. I knew from previous surgery for false aneurysm that this needed immediate attention lest it rupture. I also knew that I wanted to avoid intubation as my vocal cord had been fixed by Stephen Zitels, M.D. at the Eye and Ear. So I looked up and found a surgeon who could do a repair of carotid under local anesthesia. The MGH surgeon, Dr. Brewster said that he could put a stent in my carotid inserted through my femoral artery using local anesthesia. The problem was that I was in the middle of the group process course. I told the group that I had to leave for surgery and I hoped I would be back in a week.

The course was in Porter Square in Cambridge, Mass. As I drove the short way home through the back of Somerville it was about 10 p.m. I was beginning to dwell on the upcoming surgery feeling a sense of foreboding. I thought, as I drove along, Iíve had lots of surgery but never have I felt so uneasy.

We were up at 5 a.m. to prepare to get to MGH by 6 a.m. I drove with Catherine at my side. It was still dark in late October, damp and dreary to go with my uneasiness. I kept my thoughts to myself. It was not long before I had packed my personal belongings in the bag presented, kissed Catherine goodbye, gave her my things and was wheeled off in a stretcher. There were lots of people in green and white busying themselves for my surgery. Dr. Brewster came in, asked me how I was doing and said, ďLetís go!Ē

I was in a kind of twilight sleep, only vaguely aware of my surrounds. I could feel pushing and prodding but there was no pain. Before long, I was wheeled into a room and transferred to a bed. As I had nothing to eat beforehand I was given food. I was looking at the food feeling very strange when a doctor looked in on me. He asked how I was doing and the last thing I remember saying was I didnít feel very good.

I have no recollection of the next five or six days. I dreamt that a sadistic nurse was trying to force me to do something that I didnít want to but I donít know what it was she wanted me to do. And then I woke up one day and my love was there beside me. Catherine called for the doctor and he began checking me out. I could talk as my brain did not seem affected. My right arm was dead and my right leg slightly affected. Catherine and I had talked together about not being left a vegetable. This was our understanding that there were not to be heroics for either of us. So for five or six days or so she just sat by my bed and hoped. The kids were all prepared for the worst, all six of them. Amy, our daughter, an I.C.U. nurse, suggested C-POP, forced oxygen, as a means to revive me. It worked! I woke up shortly after administered C-POP. Yeah, Amy!!

I donít remember too much of the details of my recovery and I donít want to. I was on the neurological service for about ten days at MGH and then transferred to Spaulding Rehabilitation Center for about a month. I do remember the kindness of the neurologist, doctor/doctor, as I called him, who had a Ph.D. and M.D.

At Spaulding I had Dr. Po and a whole army of helpers. I had speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nurses, nurse aides, you name it. I canít afford it but I send Spaulding a little money each year as their dedication is so obvious.

I lost my job and havenít been able to get work since. I did try Lesley University but they say they have nothing for me. Iíve tried to get writing courses at Lesley and State college without any luck.

The passion I have had for golf for 30 years I have had to give up. Oh, I go to the par threes for nine holes, and some days eighteen. Thatís about it. I dropped out of Bellevue Golf Club where I was a member for 26 years.

April was fine but the weather has been downhill ever since. I donít think Iíve played at Middleton only about six times. The time is wearing heavy on me.

Bad luck seems to breed bad luck.

August 7, 2009

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