I did not have a heart attack, though it is clear that I was headed in that direction.
I am home and recovering after a couple of days at Freeman, where I received excellent care and treatment from everyone, including two of my former students.The people at Freeman were also kind enough to laugh at my jokes, which is something I can't do anything about, they are simply reflex actions at this point in my life.
As I was being loaded onto the machine for a CAT scan. even though I was almost ready to fall asleep and was having a hard time talking, when I heard one of the women say to another one, "I like what you did with your hair," I felt obliged to say "thank you."
So, yes, they had to put up with a lot.
It is ironic that everything happened this week, a week in which the Joplin R-8 voters sent a loud and clear message that they are tired of the way things have been done in the school district for the past several years. Even before election night, I had been contacted by at least a half-dozen people who said they had been skeptical about all of my writing about C.J. Huff but after his Facebook attacks on Jennifer Martucci, they realized that the person I was writing about was the same man who is in charge of this school district.
On and after election night, I heard from a lot of people, especially teachers who had been wary of contacting me because they knew how vindictive the R-8 Administration can be.
It was a nice feeling though I am not naive enough to think that the corrosive element that has infected our school system is anywhere close to being removed.
For several weeks, maybe months now that I think about,I have been working on an odd schedule, with posts in the morning, afternoon, evening, sometimes late night, and even during situations like the recent tornado warnings, during the early, early morning hours.
Then with all of the news going on surrounding the school board race, I was waking up at 4 to 5 a.m., in plenty of time to catch KZRG's Morning News Watch, a program that played a huge role in providing factual information to the public about the school board race, including being the only traditional media news source in the Joplin area to note that there was a movement, which eventually proved successful, to garner votes for former Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts to keep R-8 Board President Anne Sharp from being re-elected.
Whether my round-the-clock schedule had anything to do with what happened to me next I do not know, but family and friends who have talked to me are convinced that it did.
About four months ago, I stopped at Freeman Urgent Care because I had been having occasional bouts of abdominal pain. From there, I was sent to the Freeman emergency room and after all kinds of tests, they were not able to find anything that could be causing my problems. On nights when I had the pains, they usually lasted an hour or two, though once it had taken seven hours for them to disappear.
After I got home from Freeman, I sat on my sofa and noticed that as I was typing, I could feel a pulling sensation on both sides. I loved the idea that I could diagnose my problem. I stopped working at my sofa and did not have any further problems for four months.
Then about a week ago, the pains returned for about 15 minutes and that set the stage for what happened Thursday.
I was awakened at 3:30 a.m. with the same pains I had felt earlier, stretching across my lower abdomen, but also this time in the upper abdomen. I waited and waited for them to go away and finally after eight hours I realized there was no relief in sight.
I locked up my apartment and drove to the Freeman emergency room. I went through many of the same tests that I went through during my last visit.
The pain medication I was given did not do much good. It took a full 24 hours before I was halfway comfortable. An EKG had showed some abnormalities so the doctor set up a cath test for me on Friday morning and when it was done,my body had been introduced to four new companions- three stents and a balloon.
Though the doctors felt reasonably certain the blockages had been the cause of my abdominal problems, I was kept in the hospital another 24 hours until Saturday afternoon to undergo some additional tests, so it is still not fully certain that my problem has been corrected, but a much worse problem had been narrowly averted.
One of my doctors told me about one of the scariest things I had ever heard from anyone- that he knew my pains were not a result of a heart attack- "because you wouldn't have lived through that many hours of pain without treatment."
His words bothered me even more when I learned the doctors had taken care of a blockage that was leading to a potential heart attack.
So I have been resting since I came home from the hospital, venturing out twice- once for groceries this morning and once just before midnight last night for a Sonic Oreo Blast. (That one probably wasn't necessary, but I sure felt better after I ate it.)
I will try to move to a more reasonable, yet still flexible schedule for the Turner Report and my other blogs this week.
Someone asked me after the election what I was going to do now that everything had gone my way. "What are you going to write about?"
It was an excellent question. Some of it will still be the same for a long time to come. So much damage has been done to what was once a top-flight school district and the financial problems are going to be here for years.
As long as you have C. J. Huff in charge, surrounded by people who have been promoted not for their abilities, but for their abilities to praise Huff and do whatever he says, no matter who gets hurt, you will have the danger of something new happening.
A few days before the election, C. J. Huff wrote a blog post in which he talked about how "awesome" the school district is and promised to write another one last week (he didn't) attacking all of his anonymous critics.
We will probably never know for sure just how much money the Huff Administration has wasted on trying to find my sources. Last year, a 20-year teaching veteran was hounded until she resigned with one of the major reasons being because Huff suspected her of being a source for the Turner Report (she wasn't). That story will be in my upcoming book, Silver Linings in a Funnel Cloud.
Apparently, a week ago Friday, another teacher who has been accused of being one of my sources was placed on paid administrative leave. Another story was made up so that it would not appear that she was being removed from the classroom for that reason, The accusation was almost identical to one that was made against the 20-year veteran.
Huff has developed a system where official complaints are lodged against teachers who he wants removed, not by parents, not by students, but by either members of Huff's administrative team or his administrators-in-waiting- the teaching/learning coaches.
As long as there is someone like C. J. Huff around, leading citizens who want to buy local elections, politicians who are bought and paid for by retired billionaires, con artists like David Wallace, or people trying to push horrendous ideas like Common Core past us, I will have a lot of things to write about.
Perhaps in the future, though, I will try not to write about them all at once.