Imprisoned at Hoag – Epilogue

by Bob Sparrow

As much as I enjoyed the care I got at Hoag hospital following my knee-replacement surgery, I was not looking to return to that venue any time soon.  That plan was working up until about two weeks following surgery.  The knee was healing nicely, but I wasn’t feeling so good – fever, chills, vomiting, rapid heart rate.  So, Linda took me to a Hoag Emergency Center, where they took my temperature (103), my heart rate (140), blood pressure (off the charts either high or low, I don’t remember) and they looked me in the eye and said, “You’re sick!”

So back to Hoag Hospital I went – diagnosis: Sepsis. I really didn’t know much about Sepsis, but as I Googled it, I became more alarmed – it’s serious!  Infected kidneys and a urinary track infection were causing significant blood problems.  I was started on an antibiotic, but was told that a blood test and analysis, which would take about 48 hours to complete, was needed to find the specific antibiotic to fight this serious infection.  So, for two days, I was on one antibiotic and when test results came back, I was switched to another antibiotic for the next two days.  Neither seemed to knock the Sepsis out, so a third antibiotic was tried.  Whether it was a combination of all the antibiotics or the elevated white blood cell count that was fighting the infection, eventually the fever went away.

After five days in the hospital, I was finally released.  I felt like I was getting out of a prison camp where I was being tortured via sleep-deprivation techniques.  Other parts of the torture were, day-time TV which included a constant barrage of bad news.  Before leaving the hospital I was given a ‘mid-line’, which is a port in my arm so that antibiotics can be administered at home – which continued for another six days.

Now that I’m home, I have ventured all the way out to the end of the driveway, so I’m hoping future blogs will be a bit more interesting.

Thank you to those sending prayers and well-wishes my way – much appreciated.

PASSED TIME

By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

 

I was thinking the other day about how quickly time seems to be passing.   My brother (the real Jack Sparrow) turned 80 last week and next week we will celebrate our youngest grandson’s high school graduation.  Where did that time go?  Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were at Tahoe celebrating Jack’s 50th birthday?  Wasn’t our grandson just asking me for tickles and a grape popsicle?  Time really does seem to be flying by and almost everyone I speak with observes the same phenomenon.  So I decided to find out why time seems to go so quickly as we age.  The answer is way above my pay grade and my hair hurt trying to understand all the scientific research about it, but here goes.

First, the feeling of time going faster as we age is a universal one.  The studies on this syndrome conclude that almost all older people perceive time to pass more quickly than younger people.  But why?  There are a couple of theories.  One has to do with memory as a percentage of our age.  For example, one year in a ten-year-old’s life represents 10-15% of their conscious memory, which is a pretty significant amount.  But one year for a 50 year-old is only 2% of their recallable life.  And for the very old, say 80-90 year-olds, it obviously represents far less.  This explains why children think of summer as endless, while adults perceive a summer as going quickly.  Unless you’re in Arizona and then the summer drags on and on.  But that’s a subject for another day.

The second reason for the difference how we sense time as we age seems intuitively backwards to me, but then again, I majored in English, not Physics.   Adrian Bejan, a researcher at Duke University, believes the discrepancy in how old and young perceive time can be blamed on the ever-slowing speed at which images are obtained and processed by the human brain as the body ages.  He explains that the experience of time is always a backward-looking process, reliant on memory and, more importantly, reliant on visual memory.

Like frames in a movie, the more frames one sees in a second, the slower the image appears to pass. The fewer frames one sees per second the faster the image seems to move. In other words, slow motion reveals many more frames-per-second than normal motion or fast motion. Bejan asserts that as we age our brain’s neurovisual memory formation equipment slows and lays down fewer “frames-per-second.” That is, more actual time passes between the perception of each new mental image. Children perceive and lay down more memory frames or mental images per unit of time than adults, so when they remember events—that is, the passage of time—they recall more visual data.

This is what causes the perception of time passing more rapidly as we age. When we are young, each second of actual time is packed with many more mental images relative to our older selves.  Children’s brains are like a slow-motion camera that captures many more frames per second than a regular speed one, and time appears to pass more slowly when the film is played.

After all the reading I did I still don’t quite understand it.  It seems to me that the slow-motion camera would capture fewer frames.  But again, I can barely remember what happened yesterday so maybe my brain is in super-slow mode.  And you probably hoping by now that you can forget you ever started reading this post.  Don’t worry – if you’re old enough, you’ll have forgotten all about this by tomorrow.

High on the Hoag

by Bob Sparrow

I was not off to a fast start!

The leg was bad from the start.  Literally, from the start, when I was born, my right leg was broken.  Not sure how it happened as I was busy trying to get through the birth canal at the time.  My best guess is that when the doctor slapped my butt to start me breathing, I slapped him back and he dropped me.

It was fine through high school athletics, but in my first year of college football, I was playing cornerback (back in days when they let white guys play cornerback), and I was coming up to make a tackle, when I was not only faked out of my jock strap, but with cleats stuck firmly in the turf, my right knee went in a completely different direction than the rest of my body.  I missed the tackle, and subsequently missed the rest of that football season.  Miraculously, I went on to play 5 seasons of college football (counting my red shirt season) and two season of service football with the Navy in Japan and never missed another game because of injury.  It got banged up pretty good sometimes, but never too bad that I couldn’t play.  Playing quarterback instead of cornerback helped significantly.  Later in life, it did keep me from running a marathon, when I was on an 18-mile training run, just three weeks before the LA Marathon, and it decided that it had had enough.

In 2010, I had finally decided to have knee replacement surgery and the doctor agreed it was time, but then wife, Linda won a sales contest which was a trip to Wales to see the Ryder Cup.  I didn’t want to miss that or be hobbling around on one leg through the Welsh bog, so I cancelled the surgery.  Upon returning from Wales, the knee felt fine, so I kicked knee-surgery down the road.

Dr. Jay Patel

After 60 years from the initial injury (not counting the break at birth), surgery was finally confirmed for June 21st with Dr. Jay Patel of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine, CA.  A word about Dr. Patel; he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then went on to earn both a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and his Medical Doctorate from Stanford University. He speaks three languages, English, Spanish and Chinese.  Intellectually, I thought we were a good match, as I had earned a BS degree (How appropriate!) from Westminster College and spoke one of the three languages that Dr. Patel knows.

Dr. Patel did my hip replacement surgery four years ago and not surprisingly, I haven’t heard a word from that hip since.  Dr. Patel continuously reminded me that “Knees are harder”.  I wouldn’t know, I slept through both surgeries, but I can attest to the real professionalism, competence, friendliness and overall caring attitude of the Hoag staff.  They are truly the best.  My surgery was on Monday afternoon and by Monday night they had me walking the halls of the hospital and on my way home on Tuesday before noon.  Those who have had this surgery know that the rehab is the tough part, and I’m told if you don’t do the rehab, you shouldn’t have done the surgery.  But I’m confident in my willingness to work hard to do what’s necessary and I have confidence in Dr. Patel’s ability – for some reason he just doesn’t seem to be a slacker to me.

Knee – before & after

It’s now been two weeks since the surgery and I’m telling my physical therapist that I don’t feel like I’m progressing like I should.  He looks at me, shakes his head, and says that I am ahead of schedule and that I should go to YouTube and watch a knee-replacement surgery and I’d see why it takes more than two weeks to heal.  I watched the video.  YIKES!!!  Glad I didn’t watch it before as I might not have gone through with it.  Saws, hammers, drills – it looked like a major construction project – I guess it was.  Watch it at your own risk!

The leg, broken at birth and woefully abused ever since, has now been fully repaired, or rather replaced, thanks to Dr. Jay Patel – and they said he’d never amount to anything.