In August 2019, Bob and his wife were spending time at their cottage on Underwood Lake in Oconto County. Bob was doing some yardwork when he started experiencing stomach pains. The pains progressed so severely, Bob began to think he was dying.
“In fact, I knew I was dying,” recalls Bob. “And when I said that out loud, it was my voice; but, I also think it was God’s voice, and that God was saying ‘Get yourself to the hospital now.’”
Bob’s wife rushed him to HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital where tests confirmed Bob was suffering from an internal hernia with a twisted intestine. Surgery was needed immediately.
“Because of the internal hernia, the bowel was cut off from blood flow to the point of being black,” recalls Dr. Richard McNutt, General Surgeon, HSHS St. Clare Regional Surgery Center. “Timing surgery as soon as possible in a case like this is critical to survival.”
Surgery was performed and Bob’s intestines were carefully untwisted and blood flow restored.
“When I woke from surgery, I knew there would be angels. But I wasn’t sure what kind of angels I’d be dealing with,” said Bob. “But then, I realized these were the Oconto Falls angels.”
Following surgery, Bob began a 12-day stay at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital to aid in his recovery.
“It was during this time that I got to know all of the unbelievable staff throughout the entire hospital,” recalls Bob. “I’m talking about everyone from the doctors and nurses, to those who stopped by to clean my room each day.”
These are the caregivers Bob affectionately began calling his “Troop of Angels.”
“It was an unbelievable experience from the start. But, what stood out to me most was the togetherness and mutual respect of the staff,” said Bob. “You watch that for 12 days and then, you realize your life has been saved. It’s a special thing.”
Upon discharge from the hospital, Bob, 72, knew a full recovery would take time. However, he was anxious to get back to his walking routine. Walking and staying active help Bob manage another medical condition: Parkinson’s disease.
“Before leaving the hospital, I kept asking everyone if I would be able to get back to my walking,” said Bob. “They all said, ‘Absolutely.’ Eventually, I got to start walking again – a little bit each day. Today, I still get tired and feel some effects, but I mostly feel pretty well.”
Bob, who retired in 2013, also enjoys spending time with his seven grandchildren. That includes taking them for rides in his classic cars and going golfing and hiking.
Thanks to HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital and his “Troop of Angels,” Bob is back to doing what he loves.
“Now, I’m thankful for every minute,” said Bob.