Hold the Kumquats, your modest and much be-loved scribe has returned


Did you miss me? I hope so because if you didn’t the editors would probably say why are we running a guy nobody reads and who has never figured out that you are supposed to use in-definite articles for countable nouns in general and definite articles for specific countable nouns and all uncountable nouns. Let’s just run kumquat recipes instead. Editors can be a capricious lot.

Knowing what I now know, I consider myself lucky to be writing this at all. I have been laid low with an insidious and potentially fatal disease known as sepsis. It is my second such ex-perience. May there not be a third.

In case you aren’t aware of sepsis, it is a condition in which chemicals that are released into the bloodstream to fight an infection turn rogue and begin to do a number on your own organs, leading them to fail. A bacterial infection anywhere in the body may set off the response that leads to sepsis.

Two things I have learned from sepsis is no one is quite sure how you get it, but health experts are sure it is deadly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the U.S., more deaths occur from sepsis than opioid overdoses, prostate cancer and breast cancer combined. Six years ago, I was almost one of those statistics.

On a Saturday evening, our kids came to take us to dinner. I felt a little under the weather but not so bad as to not enjoy time with them. My daughter-in-law, a registered nurse, walked in, took one look at me and announced that I was very sick and needed to go to a local clinic im-mediately for evaluation. It turns out she was correct.

A call to my primary physician, Dr. Robert Coney, from the clinic’s physician with a bunch of disturbing numbers got me into ICU within the hour. It was sepsis, and had she not shown up when she did and had Dr. Coney not been available that particular Saturday evening, I would very likely not have made it through the night.

But make it I did, although a bit worse for the wear. The aftermath left me weakened enough that I am now dependent on a cane to get around these days and am still not quite sure what made the chemicals in my bloodstream decide my organs and I were the bad guys, not the in-fection.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and it’s déjà vu all over again. I awoke with what looked like a small fever blister on my lip. Nothing a dab of Neosporin couldn’t handle. Except it didn’t. Within a few days, my lips looked like a bad Botox job. That was followed by a rash that covered my face, followed by two days of intense illness, leading to dehydration and a trip to the hospital where I spent 10 days being poked and prodded, usually between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. For some reason, hospitals aren’t inclined to poke and prod in the daytime when the patient is more likely to be awake.

I am now in rehab trying to undo what sepsis did. It has given me some time to ponder. Have I been spared for a reason? If so, for what purpose? One thing won’t change: I will continue to ascribe to the philosophy of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. In other words, sepsis or not, I will vigorously represent your concerns regarding the ham-handed effort by an Alabama-based company to drill for titanium oxide in our Okefenokee in order that the world never run low of housepaint, toothpaste and chewing gum.

As for afflicting the comfortable, I would suggest that Gov. Brian Kemp and Cong. Buddy Carter instruct their PR folks that ignoring you and me comes with much peril, I hate being ig-nored and I suspect you do, too. This is not their Okefenokee, it is ours. And I’m not done yet reminding them and a particular land baron in the area who seems to be pulling the strings of that fact.

So I am back and glad to still be here. As for the editors, thank you for your patience. If you will hold off on the kumquat recipes for a few weeks, I promise I will dazzle you with a bunch of indefinite articles on such scintillating subjects as uncountable nouns. It is the least I can do.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at dick@dickyarbrough.com or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.