Shaking raises some concerns |

Shaking raises some concerns

by Ron Walker

“Did you feel that?” our daughter from Kentucky asks, and tells me of a harrowing experience.

“First, a big bang sound, then the dining room lamp starts swinging and the grand-father clock makes a clanging sound and, finally, a pack of coyotes starts talking to each other. I went straight into Mom’s bedroom, she continues, and asked her if it was an earthquake and she calmly replied, yes. I felt like a young girl,” Marla says, as she completes her story.

Marla is grandmother to four boys. But in Kentucky they have tornadoes, not earthquakes.

The next earth-shattering event occurs when my physical therapist, Michele, arrives, while I’m on a journey of recovery for a full hip revision and busted femur. Kindred Home Health Care provides me the services of a PT and a nurse for three weeks. Michelle has 14 patients in Smith Valley, and wastes no time in taking my vital signs. She has a funny look on her face.

“That is a very, very weak pulse; do you feel OK,” she asks.

I offer a few feeble excuses so she calls her supervisor. Her supervisor recommends that Michelle call the paramedics and, in less than five minutes, seven paramedics materialize and are standing there with a gurney the size of a nuclear aircraft carrier.

Although I am inclined to throw a tantrum when others take over my life, it seemed a wise decision to acquiesce and find out what the fuss is all about. The gurney is sprung open, I roll on, they strap me down, and as I hug Orllyene (who whispers words of sustenance in my ear), I make my exit. With supreme finesse, the gurney slides into our fancy Smith Valley Fire Department ambulance as a group of concerned friends forms in our front yard to make sure Orllyene and I are OK.

As I settle into my new “home,” I meet Summer Walker, a charming gal from Alabama, who is the local pastor’s wife. I also meet a strong “commander-type,” who is the husband of one of my Steel Magnolias. They hook me up to a heart monitor and connect me to a bag of liquid. All during the ambulance journey, I study the peaks and curious plateaus on the heart monitor. (Hmmm) “Only doctors are allowed to read the monitor” Commander says.”

“In route, I ask Commander if we are going to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room?” “The ER has better equipment,” she responds.

When we arrive at the ER, I am wheeled directly into Room 5 where I meet Mike, a grizzled-looking male nurse (“… began my career during the HIV pandemic crisis,” he says) who takes over. He and a young EKG technician pepper me with sticky disks, and Mike then expertly finds a terrified vein in my arm. For one hour, my life hangs in the balance, until a young doctor informs me that my heart likes to “twitch” occasionally, but as long as it is just two or three twitches, it is alright. But if it twitches six times in a row, it’s back to the “ER.”

Orllyene and Marla soon arrive at the ever-perfect Carson Valley Medical Center and the decision is made to go to Sherry’s Stage Stop in Yerington for a fabulous “take out” dinner.

Ron Walker can be reached at