A Story About My Dad

Dad and his favorite coon dog, Bonnie Blue. Circa 1963

Yesterday my sister called and said Dad had another seizure. He’d driven to the Moose Lodge for lunch. When he got out to walk inside, he thought his leg didn’t feel right. He calmly told the lady at the door he was going to have a seizure and for her to call my sister and an ambulance.

I’m not telling you this to collect your warm wishes for Dad’s speedy recovery. He’s fine now. Seems he forgot to take his anti-seizure medicine the night before. What I thought you might find interesting is how he got to the point he had to worry about seizures.

When Dad was 17 he got tired of driving a coal truck, lied about his age and joined the Army. Before he completed basic training the Korean War began. The Army pulled every tooth he had and sent him to Korea with no dentures and a Garand. (Sometimes he used a BAR. Said he liked shooting it but hated carrying it.) Eight months later he was home with a bullet hole in his chest and another in his leg.

Dad spent over two years in the Army Hospital at Ft. Picket. They didn’t think he would walk again. He did. So well in fact I was never able to keep up with him when we were coon hunting. Dad was always proud of his service but never let on it was a big deal. Even considered himself lucky to have had the experience and to have been afforded the GI Bill.

Here’s the cool part; after Ft. Picket, the only nights Dad spent in a hospital were those he spent with my mother when she was ill. Over 50 years and no hospital stays.

Anyway, two years ago he got the flu and a VA doctor prescribed Phenergan for nausea. A side effect of this drug is that it can impair thinking and it did. Sis stopped to check on Dad and he seemed disorientated. She thought he might be dehydrated so took him to the VA for fluids. That’s when things got stupid!

They diagnosed him as suffering alcohol withdrawal and heavily sedated him – a common treatment apparently. Sedated him so much he suffered a massive stroke. Then, they refused to release him in his comatose state to his personal doctor at the regional hospital. After a trying several hours, during which I thought I might end up in jail, we finally manipulated his release.

Long story short: Dad recovered very well considering the extent of the stroke. (He did drive to the Moose Lodge the other day.)

What I find ironic is that after nearly dying while serving his country, the government administration designed to care for our veterans nearly killed him again, just because they didn’t know what in the hell they were doing.

Oh, almost forgot. His VA doctor was Korean.


About gunwriter

Born and raised in the West Virginia hills, Richard literally grew up in the woods. He has chased coon hounds until daylight, waited out whitetails perched high in an oak, canoed the New River and hunted from the Montana Mountains to the Green Hills of Africa. During service in the Army and later as a municipal police officer and Special Agent with the railroad police, Richard obtained numerous certifications in small arms instruction. He has trained military personnel, law enforcement officers and civilians in the application of firearms for defensive, competitive and recreational use. Richard won the West Virginia Governor’s Twenty Award for law enforcement, the West Virginia National Guard State Pistol Competition and earned his Distinguished Medal with pistol. Badge turned in, Richard is now a contributing editor for several magazines. He was the compiling author of the book, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter and conceptualized and contributed to Selecting and Ordering a Custom Hunting Rifle. Richard also contributed a chapter to the John Velke book, The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Richard has patents on a riflescope reticle and a revolutionary bullet testing media. A hillbilly at heart, Richard lives on Shadowland - his shooting range in West Virginia - with the most understanding wife in the world, their three kids and a very protective ridgeback hound.
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4 Responses to A Story About My Dad

  1. Philip Williams says:

    That figures. I’ve had my dealings with the VA as well. I can hardly wait until we *all* have government health care.

  2. Judy Bolen says:

    Dick….Can’t keep a good man down , that’s for sure…glad he’s better.

  3. Jim Dodd says:

    I am retired military and it is common knowledge in our community that the VA is good at killing patients for a variety of reasons. All who can stay away from their “care”…jim dodd

  4. Samantha Mann says:

    You got that right! My biggest fear when I was called by the Moose and told Dad was going to the hospital was not what kind of shape he was in, but “My God, what if the ambulance takes him to the VA!” Luckily, in the midst of a seizure, Dad was able to tell them to take him to a different hospital.

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