by James C. Stephens


Tuesday, November 6, 1979

Well, well, well. Deep hole in the ground right?! Lots has transpired since I last wrote you. Right now I’m sitting in Room 339 of St. Charles Hospital in Bend, Oregon with Dad. Sunday he entered the hospital and was having tremendous difficulty breathing. At first they though it was a heart problem. Then after x-rays and Dad’s own body wisdom they discovered 4 clots in his lungs. He was in intensive care on Sunday and Monday. Sunday afternoon-Ron called me in Los Angeles at about 11:30. At 1:40 I was on a United 727 to Portland. I arrived in Portland at 4:20 to the tune of “Singing in the Rain.” Hah. I caught the Tri-Mountain Bus downtown for 45 cents and was very lucky to meet two sisters-Debbie and Missy, who showed me to the Trailways station and prior to that showed me around the City Center Parks. Anywhere downtown the bus is free and no cars are allowed in designated areas. The fountains are really beautiful.

Wednesday, November 7, 1979

Dad is doing a lot better. He’s out of intensive care and in a room with a real nice view of the surrounding area. Tuesday I spent most of the day with him. He had a bad pain in his side on Tuesday morning at 3 a.m., but has felt less pain since then. He said he hasn’t felt any pain today. His Dr. Hurlass said that his lungs sound better and that the x-rays show 3 masses of blood clot present, but that they look better. He increased the blood thinning agent more and today took him off oxygen. Dad was telling me that he has had this shortness of breath all summer and that during his hunting trip he sensed something was really wrong. He cut his trip short in Montana and by the time he was in Bend he was feeling pretty bad. Saturday night his breathing was really short and he was was gasping for breath and looked white as a sheet. After quite a little talking they got Dad to go into the Hospital. The next morning Ron had the lump under his chin operated on. He was nervous as a leaf. He’s a real rambunctious guy. The first day he was in some pain from the anesthesia and then the second he was up doing laps around the hospital building. The lump was not a tumor, but an infection from foreign matter determined to be plant material. Possibly wood. It formed such a lump around the foreign particle that antibiotics couldn’t fight the problem prior to the operation. It was difficult operation and surgery took over an hour. Since the Dr. had to move many nerves including auditory, and other sensory nerves. It was a successful operation still the doctor had to remove one salivary gland, but said he would not have a dry mouth and the other 3 glands could do the job.

Back to Portland. It was quite educational to see the fountains there. Debbie and Missy showed me all the neat parks.

One was a grass amphitheater which was pleasant looking.

The Bus stops were covered in plexiglass and provided protection from the rain.

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Can’t wait to get rid of the sore throat I’ve caught up here. I guess sleeping on the floor at Ron’s, the rainy weather, the cold and dry heat hasn’t helped matters at all.

Liz and I talk twice a day. She misses me a lot. I miss Liz that goes without saying. I can understand that since its lonely being home alone. I’m busy enough not be feeling too lonely. Dad and Ron keep me going, and also visiting with my Mom and calling people and meeting all the nurses and Doctors and other people. Soon, I’ll be home.

 

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