of Illness from 1983 - 1996
- During a check-up, an x-ray was made of the lungs and my husband was
informed that he had emphysema and that if he didn't quit smoking he
had tried a number of times to quit smoking but had been
unsuccessful, however, this time he simply threw all of his cigarettes
away and never picked up one again. He was already familiar with
lung and respiratory illness as he had watched his Mother suffer for years.
didn't know it then but this was the beginning of a very long and
emotionally draining illness.
health held up fairly well over the next 10 years or so. We found
us some land in the country and built our dream home in 1987.
of us worked and on vacations each year we traveled as much as
financially possible. We even went on a wild west wagon
train ride in August of 1989. While camped out in the
Bridger-Teton Mountains just below Yellowstone National Park, Dennis got
so sick that the camp cook took him to Jackson Hole to a pharmacy.
The pharmacist got him a small bottle of oxygen and some medicine to
hold him for the next few days until we could get back home. We
still enjoyed the adventure and were hoping to go again but other things
got in the way.
got an infection once or twice a year and our internal medicine doctor
always took care of them with antibiotics and steroids. He was
taking nebulizer treatments (albuterol and atrovent) every morning
before work and again in the evenings. 1994 was a really bad
year for our family and the emotional stress on Dennis took a huge toll
on his condition. His Mother died on March 18th and our daughter
had a car wreck on the 21st, killing our 9 year old grandson. Our
daughter was in the Baylor trauma center and our 4 year old
granddaughter was in Children's trauma center. When my Mother was
told on the 22nd, she suffered a heart attack and required immediate
surgery. The rest of the year was consumed with trying to take
care of our daughter, granddaughter, and my Mother. The accident
left our daughter a quadriplegic and meant she and her 4 yr old daughter
had to move into our house so we could take care of them. 1994 and
1995 were very stressful. Dennis found that he could no longer
take care of all the "manly" things he had in the past.
Lifting heavy items put too much pressure on his bladder causing embarrassing
incidents. He had to stop and catch his breath more often.
His male ego was taking a big hit. He had always been so proud of
his ability to take care of everything.
1996, Dennis was having so much difficulty with his breathing that Dr.
Muncy told him that he needed to see a pulmonary specialist and that he
was referring him to the best one in Texas. That's when he started
seeing Dr. Mark Millard at Baylor Medical Center. 1996-1999