A Recent Medical and Educational History
Sept 2016 ... had a back surgery. It will be at least six months before I can do anything physical. Don't be surprised if my chess playing is a bit erratic.
June 2013 ... I had my disability hearing two weeks ago. Actually passed out during the hearing due to the pain. My wife was there and they let her answer the questions. My physical health has been difficult but I keep going. Playing chess, reading, and doing other mind-engaging things (that eliminates watching TV) helps to prevent Alzheimers. My days of any physical activity or even periods of long concentration are over. It has been about a year since I played a game of chess. Getting back into it slowly. May 2012: I had fallen twice within a week. My body hurts and I feel like the proverbial truck of bricks fell on me. It is amazing, even with modern pain meds, how bad you can hurt at times. I know my body will slowly recover, but right now I hurt. June 2011: June 7, 2011 ... Left the hospital after having my gallbladder removed via Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy and part of my liver. One of the most painful things in my strange life of weird catastrophes. I had over 20 gallstones and a lot of fatty acid tissue on my liver. Even though they opened the smallest part of me they could, they had me in surgery for well over an hour. The mass on my liver was benign (yea!). I am very sore even on my normal pain meds. Quite the painful weekend despite that they chopped my gallbladder into small pieces and pulled it out through my belly button. Profile: January 2011 absence: I was under a lot of stress. Some major headaches, fluctuating blood sugar, and my back was extraordinarily painful. Under such stress, I thought I might have to give up chess altogether. I resigned from all non-team chess games and made preparations to leave Chess.com. After doubling my pain meds in October, my physician doubled them again in late December, 2010. I did not realize how much pain I was in. But my physician is an amazing man. He saved my life several years ago when I had a 11 day stay in the hospital after falling unconscious. Ailments: I have several ailments that stemmed from a car accident that happened in September of 2001. Some are directly related, some have been deteriorating over the years. The worst is my back. I have three bulging discs which cause tremendous pain. They stem from the car accident and a botched surgery. The car accident was quite the thing. I was stopped in the bus lane behind a bus that was stopped to pick up passengers. A lady in a new BMW ran the red light (they had a red light camera) at about 40 mph and then slammed on the breaks. She hit me twice. First impact and then the rebound. She had a fancy car so the 25 mph bumpers and airbag kept her from getting hurt. No real damage to her car except she needs a new airbag.
It totaled my pre-airbag car. Of course, she could afford a fancy lawyer -- I had to take what the insurance company provided. I got less than 1/2 year’s wages in a settlement for an accident that ruined my life. I had one surgery (out-patient) and felt a bit better. Then my back started to slowly but surely deteriorate. Then one day with a very tight back, I fell down the stairs. I was helping my son and wife pack to travel to Colorado. I broke a bone in my foot. We live in the boondocks so I was taking them to the St. Louis airport. My foot hurt, but not horribly. On the way back I could not bare the pain so I stopped at a Convenience Care clinic figuring they would put a cast on foot, and I could drive home. Oops. I had a rare fracture called a Jones Fracture and almost lost my little toe. It took a 4 1/2 inch stainless screw in an emergency orthopedic surgery to keep from losing it. The Convenience Care clinic gave me an orthopedic boot, and non-drowsy shot for the pain and I drove home with instructions to see an Orthopedic Surgeon ASAP. I did the next day and had the surgery the day after. Between the back and my foot, standing and walking gives me unbearable pain.
After the surgery, I got a clot in my foot which worked its way to my lungs. My lungs were filled with clots to the tune of 80% full! I could barely breathe. They gave me only a 5% chance of living through the first night in the hospital under intensive care. I passed out twice and hit the floor twice before I got admitted.
That led to the next problem - chronic severe headaches. I have been knocked unconscious at least a dozen times in my life. I was out for 3 days when I was 11 years old (accident while playing). Twice in high school, once in midget football, once in Little League baseball, once in a mountain bike accident, once in a skiing accident, once hitting the diving board as part of the diving team -- which names most of them. The back injury really drives the headaches. I rarely have a headache free day even on pain killers. I had a second back surgery which made things MUCH worse.
Lastly, I am an insulin dependent diabetic. That also drives the headaches something awful. After leaving the hospital, I tried to go back to work (as a licensed mental health therapist). With the headaches and diabetes, I could not concentrate. I would fall asleep (or nearly so) in sessions. I had two blood sugar problems. So finally I quit. I have not worked since. I have re-filed for disability, but that takes many years sometimes before you get a decision. Why do I tell every player this? Sometimes I get so sick I stay in bed for days and may lose on time. I have been known to sleep 35 hours straight! at my worst. In June 2013 I was declared fully disabled. My recent health has been quite a ride.
Education: That is a wild story about my health. My education is almost as wild.
I have an undergraduate degree in Music Ministries from Central Christian College (McPherson, KS). A Bachelor’s degree in General Earth Sciences from the University of Northern Colorado (a combination of Meteorology and Oceanography). From there I went straight to my doctorate in Educational Psychology, Research and Evaluation (EPRE) again from the University of Northern Colorado. That degree combined Applied Statistics and Psychological Measurement. I was going to be the person who made the new psych tests and I wanted to teach at a University. I was for a time, an Associate Professor at Azusa Pacific University. I got married to a pastor which ended my college teaching days. I needed a degree and/or a career that was portable, so I could stay with her as we traveled following her career. So I went to being a shrink. I wanted to practice therapy and my “theoretical degree” was not enough according to the State of Colorado. Therefore, 10 years after I got my doctorate, I got a Master’s Degree from Denver Seminary in Theology and Counseling. Always looks funny on my resume -- most think it is a typo. No typo -- I went straight from the Bachelor’s Degree to the Doctorate, and then got my Master’s Degree 10 years later. With all my head injuries, etc., I play chess, some “go” and I read a lot to keep my mind as sharp as possible. I wrote a book in 2008. About Worship and its Deep Meaning. Available in many places including Amazon.com. I did this too to help keep my mind working (available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble).
My biggest hobby is having the most listened to online radio station playing British Style Brass Band music. Check it out at www.AllBrassRadio.com