Sunday, April 12, 2015

Answering the rumors- I did not have a heart attack

To answer some of the rumors that have been circulating the last few days:

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.


Anonymous said...

Randy, I too must remain anonymous for fear of backlash in the community - but just know that I respect your courage and conviction. Now, while we all wait anxiously to see your reporting on events, you must take care of yourself! Remember, always secure your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others!

Anonymous said...

Soooooo relieved you are up and kicking. Try not to let this mess take you down with the ship, Turner. We need and appreciate you and all you have done. KZRG did their part, for sure, but not until after you had done yours.

Keep up the resting part. We will be patiently waiting.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Huff has fallen oddly quiet. Huh....imagine that.

Anonymous said...

Stress is certainly a factor in physical ailments.
Huff is toxic, and he's made plenty of people miserable.. Your health is much more important than anything you write, so please take the advice of your doctors, family and friends. Do not let the dishonest people in the school district make you sick. You need to be strong and healthy to enjoy the good things yet to come.

Anonymous said...

I missed ya!

Heidi peterson said...

MEDICAL SCANDAL: Nobody in the history of medicine has ever survived having a stint put in an artery, vein, or any other body part. In fact, every reputable doctor will flat-out refuse to consider putting a stint in a patient for any reason.

That’s because the word for the medical device–the small, expandable tube that is inserted in a blocked blood vessel or other duct–is stent.

Stint is most often used to refer to a period of time. For example: “He served a stint in the army.”

So, you could say “During his stint in the hospital, the cardiologist inserted two stents into his cardiac arteries.”

But don’t tell us that your Auntie Meridian had a stint put in. She may have put in a stint, but her doctor put in a stent.

Jonathan Dresner said...

Swift healing!

Randy said...

You are correct and I knew that because I have used the word properly before I will get that fixed and thanks for encouraging my recovery.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Your absence was noted and you were missed. Just thought you took a vacation. Be healthy.

Anonymous said...

I wondered!
So glad you're okay. Keep an eye on all that.
So, they're still putting people on leave. Hadn't heard that.
This will take SO long to clean up.
Thanks for helping! Take care!!

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought!
Whatever happens, no buy-outs for Huff and Co. and the board needs to ride him like no one's business. I wonder what the superintendent would think about being written up with several job targets to improve his performance.
Thanks for getting us a step in the right direction.
Get well soon!

kitty chiwawa said...

Glad you're on the road to recovery, Randy. Take it easy and enjoy the rest. Thanks for everything you do, just get better soon.

Anonymous said...

I was worried about you too. So glad you're feeling better. Please take care of yourself. Stress is a terrible thing. I will wait patiently for your posts. Take it easy. You're the only credible source of news we get.

Anonymous said...

Randy, you need a medical alert tag on a chain around your neck that reads "In case of transfusion, do not use blood, use printer's ink." Glad to see you up and around. :)

Anonymous said...

Glad you are back and on the mend.

Anonymous said...

Chin up. We're still going after the bastards!

Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena said...

Hi Randy,
I'm sorry to hear about the medical troubles you've had recently. You've always been kind to my family (I'm the daughter of Greg Smith, the former Diamond Superintendent). I hope I'm not out of line in saying this, but I felt compelled to share with you that heart disease can be reversed through improvements in diet and lifestyle. I'm a doctor in San Diego, chronic disease reversal is my specialty. If you're intrigued I suggest you look into the work of Drs Joel furhman, Caldwell esselstyn, and Neal Barnard. Best of health to you!

Anonymous said...

Didn't CJ Huff fire you? Why aren't you practicing fundamental journalistic standards by revealing that? It's clear you have an axe to going. Your readers should know why. Coward.

Randy said...

Lindsey, thanks for the information. I will look into that.

Randy said...

To Anonymous 8:07: I find it amusing that you feel comfortable hiding behind the clock of anonymity while calling someone a coward. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I was fired by C. J. Huff. That is no secret. I don't feel compelled to put it on every post. If I were writing for another publication and the topic involved C. J. Huff, I would state my bias quite clearly. It makes it more important that I every time I write about C. J. Huff that I be accurate. You can choose to disagree with how I interpret the facts, but the facts do not change and neither do the documents, quotes, and reputable sources that I have used in my writing about Huff.