On a medical break

I haven’t been able to post here for the past week because I have been out on medical leave. On the evening of July 25 I received emergency treatment for what I thought was some type of heart attack at Avera St. Mary’s Hospital emergency center in Pierre. Thanks to one of our neighbors, Dr. Jamie Liudahl, who hurried barefoot from his house to our house when the ambulance arrived, and to the emergency room staff and Dr. Peter Maningas, the diligent physician on duty that night, the diagnosis was reached that I was suffering pulmonary embolism. That is a blockage of the main artery or one of its branches in a lung. Blood clots had accumulated in massive amounts in both of my lungs for 90 percent occlusion. As I understand it, my lungs couldn’t transfer enough oxygen to my blood. I was air-lifted by plane to Avera heart hospital in Sioux Falls in the middle of the night. I received treatment on Friday morning from Dr. Michael Bacharach in Avera’s cath lab. Via i.v. tubes, I subsequently was placed on a blood-thinner for my body overall and a special clot-busting medicine that was administered directly to the lungs for two days. An additional step was installation of a filter in a main vein in my torso to catch clots, if they form, before they move into the lungs or heart or brain. By Wednesday morning I had recovered fully — or as fully as possible after six nights in a hospital bed. The treatment was innovative, and the care generally was excellent. The hours of idle time gave me an opportunity to get glimpses into the lives, motivations and backgrounds of a variety of registered nurses and care staff. As I was able to start walking about a bit, or saw other patients walking past my room with their nurses or loved ones, I gradually realized that healthcare is really about preserving families and their most basic foundation of love. I will take blood-thinner tablet medicine for at least the next year. The reason for the generation of the blood clots remains unknown. I am cleared to return to work as of Monday, Aug. 5, and intend to be back on the job later that morning after a doctor appointment. I celebrated my return to regular life on Wednesday evening by mowing part of the lawn. To lift a line from an favorite song, it is always good again to touch the green, green grass of home.

  1. #1 by Dave Bordewyk on August 1, 2013 - 7:34 am

    Am very glad to hear that you are doing well and recovering. Terrific that you received excellent immediate attention and care. We are blessed with terrific medical care in our region. Take care. Go slow.

  2. #2 by JeffBloomberg on August 1, 2013 - 8:04 am

    Glad to here your doing ok. Take care of yourself. JB

  3. #3 by drew on August 1, 2013 - 8:42 am

    Glad to hear you are better. It’s all turkey on wheat from here on out for you my friend. Get well. DCD

  4. #4 by MarkLee on August 1, 2013 - 8:52 am

    Bob -
    Quite a story and I’m glad you are on the mend. Do take care.

  5. #5 by lawman on August 1, 2013 - 9:00 am

    Take care, Bob – our family will keep you & yours in our prayers.

  6. #6 by Paul Aylward on August 1, 2013 - 9:18 am

    Glad to hear you are on the mend. Looks like diet beer and salad for you now! Take care.

  7. #7 by pperk7375 on August 1, 2013 - 1:48 pm

    Bob, so glad to hear you’re home and doing much better. Take care of yourself and I’ll see you in the halls of the Capitol in January.


  8. #8 by lrads1 on August 1, 2013 - 9:07 pm

    Nothing like a medical event to haul you up short. You’re blessed and South Dakota is blessed, (even though you’re not QUITE a native son–which is really better because it means you adopted us) that we will continue to benefit from your meticulous attention to detail.

  9. #9 by lucasmsd on August 2, 2013 - 3:58 am

    Great to hear all is well Bob. Sounds like this could be another chapter of your book on South Dakota politics that needs to be written!

  10. #10 by EML on August 2, 2013 - 5:39 am

    It’s “wunneful, uh-wunnerful” to hear you’re recovering well. I think a lot of us have missed your posts, and I wish you the best of luck in your continuing recovery!

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