UPDATE – Daniel’s first check up post surgery went well – he is recovering with the next visit to Green Bay scheduled for early December. Thanks one and all for your well wishes. With the Governor (rightly so again!) dialing back school and other gatherings to try and break the uptick in COVID, we will continue doing what we can with the evening schedule up through Lee’s Friday night show –
Thanks for your understanding and for helping the cause by staying home and masking up!! We will beat this yet with the right steps taken at the right times! ker
Okay, we promised that as soon as things stablized a little on the COVID front, we would be getting back on the air even if it was a limited basis. November 2 was supposed to get some student DJs back on the air and we were keeping up with a pretty regular evening schedule. On November 3, the plan was changed and we underwent a period of NO BROADCASTING (hence, the Code of Silence topper) which had nothing to do with Election Day! Let me explain a little.
On the Monday before Election Day, our son, Daniel, mentioned that he was seeing a dark blob on the edge of his left eye’s field of vision. First thing Tuesday morning, we called our eye care provider in Calumet and they said, “Get him here ASAP.” After a detailed examination and a flurry of phone calls, the next instruction was, “Get him to Green Bay – now! Here is the address, they will be waiting for you. Plan to spend the night.” By 3 p.m. EST, we were heading down US 45 on a 220 mile trip to a clinic we had never been to with a mental map of the route I had looked at on my phone before we left. I only needed to concentrate on the final ten miles into Green Bay as we had travelled that route before, but not in the last ten years. GPS? When one lives in Ontonagon, you don’t need GPS to get around – but more on that later.
The clinic called my wife three times while we were on the road. They were mystified that we were not there yet as they had gotten the initial call from Calumet around noon. She finally gave them my cell number and when Daniel answered the fourth call, it was 6 p.m. CST and we were 30 miles out on WI 29 and closing fast. It was eerie to roll into the empty parking lot at the clinic to be greeted by the lone nurse who processed Daniel and asked me to stay in the car as the ‘no visitor’ policy was in place.
She came back a while later to tell me that he was being seen and if the doctor determined that surgery would be needed, it would probably be in the morning. When the doctor walked him out, I expected a report, but he turned back inside and Daniel showed me the hand drawn map the MD had made for him describing how to get to the main hospital on the other side of town. Daniel said, “He said we can go straight down this road (where the clinic is located) but it is quicker to take the beltway around town.” “What time does he want to see you there?” I asked, thinking that this was for tomorrow as the nurse had suggested it might be scheduled. “Now!” Daniel said.
Back to the GPS – I have ridden with the WOAS West Coast Bureau (Elizbeth and Todd) in both L.A. and Eugene (OR), but I have never used one myself. Looking at the doctor’s map, I punched in the main hospital’s address and scanned the routes. It did suggest the northern loop around the city center, so I hit ‘start’ and off we went. There are so many piles of spaghetti like interchanges in Green Bay that there is no way I would have spotted all the right exits in time when my main navigator was wearing dark sunglasses at night. “The GPS Lady” (as the WCB refers to her) got us there in all of fifteen minutes. Once we figured out where the main door was, Daniel left to see where the doctor wanted him to go. Fifteen minutes later, I thought that perhaps they had already whisked him away for surgery prep so I parked the car and ventured in looking for the admitting desk. There are three balconies in the main lobby and as I was trying to figure out where to go, Daniel hailed me from the second floor and said, “They are taking me in right now,” so I indicated that I would wait there until he was done. It was by then around 8 p.m. CST and we had already been on the chase for 12 hours.
A short time later, my phone dinged and one of the OR nurses sent me a message to let me know he was being prepped and the operation, a 90 minute procedure, would take place at around 10 p.m. I wandered out to the car and had a quick sandwich (the first thing I had consumed since the cold slice of pizza I wolfed down at 2:30 before we hit the road) and a pop. Back in the lobby, I finally found the help desk and asked where the rest room might be. She looked me over and then asked, “Why are you here?” I explained and she pointed me the way. I sat with my mask on trying to read and cat nap in between. The next text said there had been a slight delay and the operation would not take place until 10:45 p.m. Relaying this info to my retired emergency room R.N. wife four hours away wasn’t terribly helpful because she wanted details that I did not have!
I was half dozing when my phone rang and the recovery room nurse called to fill me in. “Everything went fine,” she said, “I want to run down what will happen next but you do not have to write it all down. It will all be in the packet we will bring down.” I warmed up the car and met Daniel and the nurse at the main entrance. He had a 9:30 a.m. post op check scheduled up back at the clinic so we needed to get some rest… oh, and Daniel would have to stay in an upright position until then. I had seen a Super 8 very near the hospital so in my lobby time, I had already booked a room. By 2 a.m. we were checking in with a very friendly and chatty night clerk. Once we finally got to our room, I called and requested a 7:45 wake up call because the radio alarm would not display the right settings when I tried (yes I know about phone alarms, but by then mine was in serious need of charging). God bless her, but when the phone rang at 6:45 a.m., it was impossible to settle back in for another hour. Daniel rested somehow, but I knew that after his check up, we could be on the road home and the whirlwind 32 hour unplanned journey would be over. The only good thing was I never did listen to any of the election coverage, aside from the occasional CNN map the WCB would send my way.
Our good friend John Fischer lives in the Green Bay area. It just so happens that he had the same eye surgery though the same clinic office just last year. Anytime they mention that ‘blindness’ could be one outcome, it is hard not to worry about what is ‘normal’ in the recovery process. John went out of his way to answer a zillion texts and one phone call that cleared up a lot of the anxiety that this whole episode involves. Oh yes, he also made Daniel feel better. John had been sent to the hospital under similar circumstances but there was no record of him being scheduled for surgery. His blood pressure was about ready to pop both his eyeballs out when the doctor came looking for him to find out why he hadn’t been sent to prep for the operation! I am kind of glad I hadn’t remembered that part while listening to the GPS lady guide me around Green Bay’s freeway system in the dark.
So, why have you not found WOAS-FM on the air or internet? Now you know (as Paul Harvey used to say), “The rest of the story.” With another trip scheduled for a follow up appointment (for Wed – Thur next week – Nov 10-11), the broadcast schedule will still be somewhat spotty. In person classes have now been pushed back to Nov 20 in Ontonagon County, but we will do whatever evenings we can (working around my being on the road again next week). Lee will be resuming his Friday evenings on Nov 5th – one person in the studio is about as socially distanced as you can get. Thank you for your looking for us, we hope to spend more quality time with our listeners as the old year (thankfully) ends and the new one begins.
Stay well. Daniel (and his mother and I and the WCB and Mr B (our cat)) is/are in good spirits. God bless all those medicos who took such great care of him in this stressful time.
Top Piece Video: Did not want just another medical song (are there such things) so a little upbeat Springsteen take on Code of Silence seemed like a good choice!