A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 134: The Leaking Exhaust

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11. The Leaking Exhaust

Around 2004, I passed blood for no reason at all. I knew I did not drink blood, ate raw meat, or drink red paint, eat strawberries or cherries. Back to Sawbones (oops, that's what they called the doctor when I was living amongst the Indians at Lake of the Woods). Well, doctor Mazmanian, I believe, said, "You have prostate cancer. We have to operate on that." I agreed for sure, the doc knew a lot than me. Preparations were made. Funny that I was there but remembered nothing of what went on, until they told me it was all over. I questioned doc about the ailments. He said, "I got it all, you should be good for five or ten years." Well, he sure knew his job because I am still around and no trouble.


12. Crushing Vertebrae

That made me think about what happened around 1973. When I was oiling our dump truck for hauling asphalt, I slipped and fell on my rear on the ground, from about five feet high. I was unable to move. I was lying right in front of the big double wheels of the dump truck, it really gave me the jeepers, creepers. If my driver took off, I'd be gone like a pancake. So I banged the door of the cab and screamed as loud as I could. Luckily for me, the driver came around and found me. They pulled me away from the truck, dragged me into a van and drove me to St. Catharines Hospital. X-rays showed two vertebrae had been crushed. When I was straightened out, my feeling in my legs returned. After two years, all was perfect again.


13. The Relinquished Rivet

A few years later, we took a truck apart. I held the chisel and John used the sledge hammer to chop off a rivet. The rivet smashed into my right eye. No glass in my eyeball but it busted a tiny blood vessel, since then I can see one article in two different places. Since then I have to wear special lenses, and still do. Specialists try to correct my vision, however, there's not much they can do to get my eyesight back to where it should be, but I can get by.


14. Cataract and Glaucoma

Then 2007 came, it was time for cataract operations in both eyes, needed or not. The specialist surprised me by telling me that I also had glaucoma in both eyes. I was so desperate, I tried to make a deal to trade them in for new or used ones, but no go. I thought they had a cataract in Niagara Falls, but no luck. Apparently, they didn't want to share it with me. Now I have to water them every morning like a delicate flower, it sure is worth to have A1 peekers. Maybe it has something to do with getting old, because my ears also don't hear as well as they used to. Tried hearing aids too, but they do not give my old hearing back.


15. More Surprises

In 2009, Mohammed Ali, my new doctor, claimed I had an aneurysm in my aorta. And I had that last year too, he added. He made me go for an X-ray, an ultrasound and a CT or CAT scan. The specialist said it was 5.2 cm. Too risky at my age to operate. I guess the doctor gave up on me. Did they think if they waited another year I would be stronger for an operation? Or, did they think it might heal itself? Maybe they were right because I felt 100 percent fit and raring to go. So I might as well keep on going with it, and store it away with the broken and crushed ribs I collected over the last ninety years. Crushed ribs, the first ones gave me a scare, I believe it happened in the winter time with lots of ice all over, I stumbled over a frozen log, lost my balance and landed on my rib cage on the frozen log. Wow, this hurt. The doctor advised me to be more careful. He plastered me with a lot of tape, then the rest was up to me.


16. The Drain That Would Not Stop

One night I got a nose bleed which would not stop. I went to the ER. The doctor said, "I have to cauterize it." With some electric torture-looking apparatus, she went to work to seal the leak. I did not let out one peep, it was sure a miserable feeling sticking them ugly-looking torture tools on my delicate nose. Me being afraid she would miss the hole and seal off my sniffer. Later on, I found out she did a good welding job, even then she said, "I may not have it all. Go home. If it leaks, you can come back." Well, she did a fantastic job. Funny, I was happy but never thanked her for the good job.


17. The Drain That Did Stop

A few months later, when I was working on a car, I bumped the back of my hand. It hurt a bit, but I did not give it much thought. Those things happened all the times. I rubbed it, but the skin was not broken so I paid no intention. However, after a while, this hand started to change, it started to get bigger and bigger, and blood started to collect on the top. It raised the skin 2.5 cm and became very taut and shiny. Made an urgent call to son John. He rushed me again to the ER. The nurse asked, "What did you do?" I said, "I gone into a boxing match. When my opponent sees a fist like this, I figured the match will turn in my favor." The nurse was not impressed. She asked, "Are you taking aspirin?" "Yes, our family doctor (not Ali, but the previous one, Dr. xxxx) told me to. Last year, he told me to take one every other day. Then, this year, take one every day. Then the nurse asked, "What strength?" I didn't know - the ones you get in the drug store. "Oh no," she said, "Stop that and your troubles will disappear." She was right, I was taking the 325 mg dose, and it should have been the 81 mg strength, or something like that. No more aspirins for me. How could a doctor do that? Sure I once was a M.D. myself, but that stood for Motor Doctor not Medical Doctor! I might have given a can of oil or transmission fluid or a liter of antifreeze to someone, but never an aspirin.


18. Too Good Is Not Always the Best

One spring day in Florida, I went to Solomon's Castle with my best friends. One day, we visited a very interesting place built close to the Everglades. As the story went, the owner bought the property sight unseen. When he found out what he had bought, he was not very happy. A total swamp. He got an idea that maybe it was not a total loss. So he built a dyke around the place and pumped and pumped to get some dry land. On this he built what he called Solomon's Castle. The parts and building collected from scraps and old used material. A very interested place to see what a person could construct if his imagination gave him the urge to go and do it. Imagination here is everywhere with no limit.


19. One Never Knows

This was one day I never expected to become hydrated. I had heard it was possible. I never felt too hot or thirsty. This sickness became a case of being tired, terribly tired, day and night tired and more tired. No rest, only tired, many days, very, very tired, no cure, only tired, and more tired. But in time, this healed itself too. I was back to my old self again, back to be as "fit as a fiddle again."

After several years of being normal, was this normal? Oh, no. Why? On Aug, 11 2011, I was going on my bike to Broadway which I have been doing for several years, but this time I started off, instead of moving, I fell flat on my face, my front wheel fell in a hole, my right eye turned black, including my face, down to my chin. Broke three ribs. Most of all, smashed three fingers on my right hand and twisted my thumb. Two and a half months later, my ribs and face were fine, but the fingers were still in the healing process. Big lesson learned. When one gets older, the healing process takes much more time. Learn to slow down in all your movements. I never knew I would one day become one of the old people. I have never considered myself old at 91. Okay, I am a member of the H.B.S. - the Has Been Society to be qualified for that category, but like I said before, one never knows. I always dreamed that old people would be 80 or over but now I see I am one of them.


20. Aneurysm

What sickness is that? I know that same name came up when my dear wife Margaret after a blood vessel busted in her brain on my birthday, December 12, 2002. Her left side was paralyzed for two months to the day. Then she left this world after a 55-year happy marriage by getting another stroke, which was fatal about two months later on February 17, 2003.

I think I mentioned it all ready in 2009, but this aneurysm became more serious. The CT scan became part of my yearly checkups showed for four years no problem, but this time the size enlarged from 5.9 to 6.1 cm. So Dr. Ali said,"You'd better get operated on it or you may get poof and no more birthdays for you." So he made an appointment and figured maybe in October in the new $750,000,000 St. Catharines Hospital, but I had to go to the Hamilton General for a check up. From there to McMaster University for more tests, then two days later for a pre-op test and a pail of blood. "Okay, you're all set. Next Monday, October 21 for your operation."

Then Friday October 25, 2012, a phone call came. "We have an emergency, you operation is now on October 28." Today is October 26. No more wait? I had to be there two hours before the operation at 10 am.

Today is November 4, 2012, I did have my operation if that's what we call it. A week ago today, it started with four nurses scrubbing and rubbing at the most delicate part of my body in the neighborhood of my generator. The doctor told me because I had a heart murmur, they could not give me anything that would make me totally immune of the operation, like a spine shot. They gave me local injections. Whatever they did, I felt used as a pin cushion, right and left. A lot of pushing and squeezing and kneadling. The only thing that was bad was a problem with the small of my back became crusiatingly painful as I lay flat on my back, not to move my legs. They said, "All good things come to an end". I found out that "All bad things come to an end too."

The good things came to life when I could not find any blood, no stitches, no crams and no mess. But many patches, stickers small and large and no bandages. No zippers or buttons or clamps. As a reminder I guess, a huge black bruise 4 x 8 inches on my left leg and some stickers they said, "They will fall off some time." After only one day, they let me go, but first they have to take one more blood sample. Very strange thing happened, I told the nurse as a joke, "I have no blood." She proceeded to needle my right arm but could find no blood. Tried the left arm, the same, no blood. She left and came back with an elder person who felt all along my arm, inserted another needle with the same result, no blood. After a while they packed up and said, "We are all done." And left. Every time the nurses stopped in to ask if I had pain. I always said, "NO pain." Finally, I told them if you had too much pain please give it to someone who was more interested so they had something to complain about.

Whatever the future holds for me, no one knows, but I have renewed my H.B.S. (Has Been Society) dues for another year. Monday, two weeks after the operation, I had to report to Dr. Ali with instruction where to look for the operation. Yesterday, November 11, 2012, all is well said Dr. Ali, but I have to give it time for implants to adjust to the surroundings in my intestines. I have to come back to see Dr. Ali on December 17. So, no Florida for us for a while. This is my last entrée.

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