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Post Out of the Shadows: A Personal Update
Created by John Eipper on 04/23/17 7:33 AM

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Out of the Shadows: A Personal Update (Mike Bonnie, USA, 04/23/17 7:33 am)

The tea leaves are telling me it's time to come clean on my long disappearance from WAIS. It was a time I easily blew off as an artful dodge of election turmoil.

Please do not bemoan the story I'm about to tell. I am not unhappy. I type ten words a minute, so this is not easy. Thirty years ago I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The condition went untreated until October of 2010 when I needed a shoulder replaced. Somewhere between the autoclave and the open incision I contracted a Propionibacterium acnes (p. acne) virus which, with a boost from immunosuppressant meds to treat the arthritis, opened the door to two strains of pneumonia. The outset was respiratory failure and five weeks in a medically induced coma. Two out of three doctors said, "He will pull through."

I woke up in a hell-hole of a nursing home and for eight months endured neglect, abuse, and with only the grace from some angels in Reebocks was thrown out (for refusing to sign up for Title 19). Basically, I was punished because, unlike the cohort surrounding me, I could talk, was not morbidly obese, a stroke victim or an octogenarian. I did bond with one kindly gentleman on the mantra, "One God."

What leads me to this discourse is finding tremendous support and contentment over the past three months in a 55+ retirement community outside Milwaukee. My humble abode is a vicarious equivalent to a Quaker community I've visited several times in the past and dreamed of calling home. Both my hands have nerve damage. I need both shoulders replaced. The one replaced earlier has decided on its own to separate at the rotator cuff. When not cruising in a wheelchair or on the scooter I somnambulate. Both of my eyes need lens replacements due to age and the meds to treat interstitial lung disease, a product of childhood bronchitis and having smoked for 20 years.

Kids! Don't light up or you will someday be like me, dependent on an oxygen bottle. Learn and remember your roots. There is both good and evil in DNA and MTDNA.

There you have it. My absence in print. If you'd ask what I would do different throughout my life, here is one team I would have died to be part of, "Himalayan Cataract Project." http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fighting-preventable-blindness-in-burma-and-beyond/

JE comments: Mike Bonnie is an inspiration. I visited Mike almost exactly 1 year ago, on May 1st '16 in a Milwaukee hospital. At the time I extracted a promise that he'd return to his WAIS friends. It took a while, but promise fulfilled!

(Mike's other promise was to join us in Havana in October.  In the coming months I'll be working on holding him to that one.)

A strange question, but I'm curious: what is it like to awake, Rip Van Winkle-style, from a five-week coma?  Did you sleep through the November elections?  Waking up to a President Trump is the stuff of science fiction.

Courage, Mon Ami.


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  • Out of the Shadows: A Personal Update II (Mike Bonnie, USA 08/08/17 4:48 AM)
    When I sent a personal update last April, John E asked: "What is it like to awake, Rip Van Winkle-style, from a five-week coma? Did you [Mike] sleep through the November elections? Waking up to a President Trump is the stuff of science fiction."

    It has taken a while to formulate a response to the question. I entered the Emergency Room of the hospital in winter and left the nursing home a year later. While in the hospital I awoke early after, or just before, being placed in a medically induced coma for pulmonary failure. I was in a room surrounded by family and friends. A doctor and intern approached me and introduced himself as a psychologist.  He asked a couple simple questions, such as the date. I pointed out the calendar on the wall behind him and he left. Following that I lapsed into a series of dreams/hallucinations.


    I could not tell the passing of time until later.  I was told five weeks had passed (February and part of March 2016). At some point I awoke and found a tracheotomy tube in my throat. I touched it and it fell apart, setting off an alarm. A nurse announced what had happened and from across the room someone said, "He's trying to kill himself." My hands were then tied to the sides of the bed. My daughter visited, explained the trach tubing and untied one hand. As soon as she left a nurse aide retied the loose hand.


    After I awoke, no news from the outside world filtered down to me for weeks. All discussion with nurses and doctors focused on my vital signs and hygiene. I was fed through a tube inserted in my stomach. I was shuttled to another facility for chest and lung x-rays and MRI then returned to the Tracheotomy Unit, which I found latter was part of a nursing home. After the tubing was removed I was placed in the general population and labeled "Independent," meaning I could do everything for myself. It took seven months to prove that. I was aware of The Donald becoming President before my illness and still spend as little time as necessary watching national news. Trump's dismantling of the Obama legacy is tantamount to bulldozing the farm.


    JE comments:  Mike Bonnie appended this photo.  You're getting stronger, My Friend!  I'm ready for a report or two from you on Wisconsin politics.  What's ol' Scott Walker up to these days?  He's been amazingly quiet since his foray into presidential politics.

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