Tuesday, October 16, 2012

EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO BE BACK

Lee Hudnell
Some readers of The Bryan Times and The Buckeye Times have been wondering why I have been missing from the sports page and blog during the past couple weeks. 

Did The Times finally wise up and fire me as sports columnist and Ohio State football writer? Did I inherit millions from a dead uncle and decide to give up the journalism game for years of endless partying and traveling?

I could only wish.

No, the reason for my absence, unfortunately, has been health related.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the emergency room with sharp pains in my rib cage and back. I never get sick or anything so it took some seriously excruciating pain to get me to visit the doctor. They took an X-ray of my chest and determined that I had pneumonia and pleurisy — which is inflammation of the lining of the lung.

They prescribed me with antibiotics, pain medicine and sent me on my way. For the next few days, the meds seemed to be working, but when Saturday rolled around the pain came back with a vengeance,  forcing me to visit the ER once again.

This time they ran a CT scan on my chest and discovered I had suffered a pulmonary embolism in my right lung. 

I went from feeling young, strong and invincible to knocking on death's door in a matter of one sentence uttered by the doctor. I was quickly admitted to Grandview Hospital in Dayton and spent five days hooked to heart monitors, oxygen and an IV line pumping blood thinner into my body. I am not going to lie, I have never been more terrified in my life.

I have been released since, and the doctors feel that I will make a full recovery. I have to visit the doctor frequently over the coming weeks, but my prognosis looks bright.

I have always been a believer in prayer. But after this past week and a half, that belief has strengthened tenfold. I came to realize from my family and over social network sites just how many people were praying for my recovery. I truly felt the prayers. I felt something powerful pulling me through. Something that wouldn't allow my demise or decline.

It also made me realize what is important in my life, and what is just background noise. Although my faith and family is paramount in my life, I can't help but to be grateful for the wonderful friends and people who — in one capacity or another — possess major importance to me.

I could list endless names of who I am thankful for, but in this column I will list a few who I am extremely grateful toward.

First, I want to thank The Bryan Times' publisher Christopher Cullis and GM Tom Voigt for allowing me to be their sports columnist and OSU football writer. Although we may not see eye-to-eye on many of my commentaries — most notably Mr. Voigt — they allow me to express my opinion in print on a daily basis. My column is very important to me and they have provided myself with the opportunity to keep my dream job going all these years. Very thankful for that!

The final two people I would like to thank is BT production manager Debby Dalton and graphic artist Gwen Schmucker. These two ladies are in my opinion the backbone of the organization. And they are not only co-workers, they are true friends who always have my back. 

For example, two weeks ago when I thought I was suffering from pneumonia, I wasn't able to travel to Bryan to construct my weekly Buckeye Times preview page. I agonized over what to do, because to have them construct it for me was asking a lot being so time consuming, especially to Gwen and Debby, who are usually swamped on a daily basis.

However, I had no other option, I had to ask if they could help me produce the page. They didn't even bat an eye. In fact, they made the page look better than it's ever looked before. I told them that I was grateful and that it wouldn't happen again. But after being diagnosed with the blood clots in my lung, I wasn't able to produce the page again last week. I wasn't even able to write a story for it. And yet again, the dynamic duo was there to save the day for me. I can't express my gratitude enough to those two amazing ladies.

Sure, I know this column has zero to do with sports, but I felt I must share with my loyal readers — as well as those who despise me — why I have been missing in action over the past weeks.

I wanted to let all of you know that I am improving, healing and looking forward to getting back to my columns and OSU football stories for The Bryan Times/The Buckeye Times and my loyal readers and followers ... who I also am extremely grateful for having in my life.