Posts Tagged ‘Charleston’

Pediatric Cardiology Reunion

September 10, 2010

Palmetto Hearts, the South Carolina based Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) support group, will be holding their Pediatric Cardiology Reunion September 25, 2010. This event will be held at The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry in Charleston, SC, and I will be attending!

This is not a CHD Conference, but rather a party/get together of Cardiac Kids who had their Congenital Heart Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Even though MUSC is based in Charleston, it is the only Congenital Heart Surgery center in the state. So Palmetto Hearts has members from across South Carolina. I’m not planning a presentation and there won’t be any informational sessions, so I’m not planning to live blog. This is just a group of friends with common experiences getting together.

I’m an MUSC “Alumni” too – after Dr. Richard Rowe left Johns Hopkins Hospital, we decided to find a Pediatric Cardiologist closer to home. But I was seen at MUSC in the early 1970’s, long before these Cardiac Kids (and perhaps their parents) were born! I’m a walking, talking history book… when I was young, the different hospital departments didn’t work together as well as they do now. Often the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing. But that was OK, because the left hand didn’t seem to know that there was a right hand!

Life as a CHDer back then really was an adventure!

The Coach

September 21, 2009

“Please leave now. This storm is larger than the entire state of South Carolina…”

That’s the warning that was being broadcast twenty years ago on WCSC-TV in Charleston, South Carolina. We never saw it, and never really had any intention of leaving. We were 200 miles inland; moving over land always knocked a hurricane down. We’d get rain and some wind, but nothing bad.

Yeah, right. Hurricane Hugo hit Charleston as a Category 4 storm and was still generating Category 1 winds when it crossed through my area. Our power went out about 10:30 PM (and would be out for a week) and when we ventured out the next morning, 14 trees in our yard were down. We watched the morning news on a TV in our van.

Five miles away, my old high school was an evacuation center. It had been chosen for the same reason that we didn’t leave – 2oo miles inland, people should be safe there. Tonight, on the worst night in the state’s history, our gym played host to about 175  people, and the football coach was in charge.

He had been the football coach – after the previous leader’s retirement, he had been picked to also serve as the new school principal. He had been at the school 20+ years; he had coached my brother when he played football and was coach when I was in school. If you judged him by his won-lost record you wouldn’t have been impressed, but that wasn’t his fault. We were the smallest high school in the state and he never had much talent to work with. Kids had to play both offense and defense and the other teams just wore us down. The coach felt it was more important to teach his players how to play the game fairly, deal with the wonderful moments as well as the letdowns, and help them become better people.

The wind was coming up and things were getting dicey outside, but in the gym everything was going well. Suddenly glass exploded along one side of the gym. A quick inspection revealed something ominous: The school’s “weight room”, really a small concrete building near the gym, had just been blown down.

The Coach got that feeling – the feeling you can’t describe, but you get when you just know that something bad is about to happen. He tried to shove that thought out of his head but it wouldn’t leave, and after a moment he decided to follow his gut.

Outside, he ordered, I think we all need to be in the school halls. Certainly there was much groaning and complaining but the coach wouldn’t budge. Come on, people, we’re going into the halls.

A few moments later the gym roof caved in. The basketball floor was cut almost precisely in half – from one end line to the centerline there was no damage, but past that… a massive pile of  wood, glass and stone. And in the middle of the night, in that wind, rescue efforts would have been impossible.

The rest of the night had to be hell – every creak and groan probably sounded like something else coming down – but the morning came and the wind abated. And everyone was safe.

Good Call, Coach.

Take your time and do it right

December 6, 2008

Starting next week, I won’t be posting new items every day. No, I am not going away – I’ve got a little case of “Blogger Burnout.” I try to generate good reading material for you every day, but it’s difficult to prepare quality material day after day. I will still post – often – but just not every 24 hours.

I still plan to liveblog from Lobby Day in Washington! My new phone works like a dream and I’m pretty sure I can post updates from it. It all depends finding an available Wi-Fi in the Capitol Complex, however!

A big THANK YOU to Heather for her guest appearance last week!

We have a new organization in our blogroll – Annabelle Baskets! Annabelle Baskets are “survival kits” given to little bitty Cardiac Kids after their heart surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. A noble cause – stop by and say hi! (or better yet, contribute a little!)

The blogroll has been rearranged… all of our links to CHD news, publications, and clinical trials are now grouped together under the heading “RESEARCH:” Take advangage of them! Dig in, find out the latest information, get involved in a clinical trial, and find out the latest from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Let’s figure out how to beat Congenital Heart Defects once and for all!

One day, there isn’t going to be a need for any CHD organization. I don’t know when that day is coming, but rest assured, it will get here. And on the day that my support group, the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) shuts the doors, I plan to be at our Home Office. This ol’ Funky Heart is going to make sure that the flag is folded properly one last time, and then shut off the lights. Afterwards, meet me at the nearest tavern.

We’ve won, and I’m buying!