I had the surgery Tuesday, July 22 Today is Friday, the 24th. They were going to use bone to fuse C4-C7 but when they got in they found it was worse than they thought. The surgeon told Kathy, "His neck is junk." What he thought would be a 2 hour surgery ended up being 3 ½ hours. C5 was completely deteriorated and wouldn't accept a fusion. They had to grind it out completely, put in a titanium cage and then screw it together w/ a plate. I am solid from C4-C7.
I got out of the hospital the next day. The Dr. says I have to wear a neck brace for 6 weeks. He said I can't hook up the truck for 5 months. (Man-handling the hitch is muscle work my surgery won't take until then because the bone doesn't start fusing for five months.)
Also, they went in on the left side. That had less effect on my vocal cords. My right vocal cord has been impaired ever since the first surgery in 1973. If they had hit the scar tissue from the first surgery I would not have been able to speak...ever. My voice is raspy but it will improve.
I have canceled all meetings through Nov. Starting in Oct. I may take some Sunday meetings in the East until then.
The night after surgery I didn't sleep well so, as I laid in bed, I prayed for every preacher I know. It was a great time of fellowship with the Lord.
I can now tell you that prior to surgery things had gotten pretty bad. There were numerous times it was all I could do to get through the night. Many times I came very close to simply walking away from the pulpit while preaching. Before the asthma was diagnosed and treated I was having panic attacks from the lack of oxygen. Several times, while taxiing out to take off, I came close to screaming for them to let me off the plane. Kathy was crying almost nightly at the state I was in. I did my best to keep it out of sight but failed on several occasions.
For these reasons we are embracing the time off. We need mental healing every bit as much as the physical. Not to mention Kathy has needed to get to a dentist for six months and badly needs new hearing aids. While sitting in one place for a few months this can get done.
I have often said that I have no "rheostat." I can go full-bore or I can idle but can't seem to do anything in between. It would be too easy for me to get back on the road earlier than is safe. So, we are going to sit tight and do no traveling for the next two months and limited traveling for several months after that. I think you all understand that. It won't all be "vacation." I intend on using the time to finish a book I have been working on for five years which will catalog all 5,700 + Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. The research is done but I still have to write the text. Writing while on the road is very difficult and this time off the road should be a little easier
Also, there are issues with the motor home. It over heated all the way across the country from the West. I read in motor home magazine that driving your motor home down the road is the same as having your house structure subjected to a 3.5 earthquake every time you do it. Imagine your home being subjected to a 3.5 earthquake every four days! Imagine your body being subjected to a 3.5 earthquake every four days. Now imagine that happening right after major neck surgery. I would rather lose the time now and have some good years left down the road than to get back on the road too quickly and shorten my usable time later.
Throat cut TWICE on the Same Day
While the surgeon was cutting my throat in Kentucky the IRS was doing it in Ohio a little less mercifully. At that very same time my tax lady was meeting with the IRS agent assigned to rob us. She announced that the IRS is now going to look at 2005 and 2007 as well as 2006. She also said she wants a copy of our mailing list because she doesn't believe you people exist. She said, "How do I know he isn't sending his letter out over the internet but posting mailing charges?" I want you to know I will NOT be surrendering a copy of the mailing list to the IRS. If they want to see it they will see it as evidence in the court case I will bring against the IRS when they are done with us. I am not the brightest guy in the world and you can get away with anything with me...once! But the IRS had their time back in 1994 when they robbed us of our life savings. It happened because I thought they were interested in taxpayers being honest. They aren't. They are interested in getting whatever money you have. Period. This lady knows we're honest, but, we have some money in the bank and she wants it. Why do we have money in the bank?
- Because I have two books I'm hoping to print this summer.
- The motor home is showing it's age. (The "house" structure is only good for about 5 years no matter how well built it is.) That "earthquake" has taken its toll. All the diesel "experts," meaning people who don't own one, say with arrogant confidence, "That thing will last a million miles!" So why is it over heating at 59,000 miles? Why will the wheels not straighten up after going around a turn? Why do I have to push-out and pull-in one of the slide outs? Why is the floor in our bedroom buckling? Do you think, maybe, we have a retarded diesel engine? (By the way, do not call me with a flippant, one-sentence-answer to these questions.)
You know that we never ask for money. So we have been saving towards the next motor home. The IRS sees our book money and motor home money and, like any thief says, "How much of that can I get?" They did it in 1994 when they took everything we had in our two bank accounts leaving only $50 in each one. Do you think I believe that anything we owed, with fines and interest, just happened to work out to leave us $50 in each account? Nope. The IRS thief said, "I'll take it all and leave them $50 in each account." Where we have to be honest, they can steal. Where we have to tell the truth, they can lie. Well, that was once but it will not happen again. I told Kathy "We may lose every dollar we have but we will lose it in court. I will never give it to them again." Do I think we will win in court? What? Did you ask if I think I can beat the federal government in a federal court? I don't know. But I am not laying down this time and letting them take our life savings. I will fight it in court and lose rather than let another government thief walk in unchallenged and steal our money. At least in court, they have to go under oath too! You know all we ask for is your prayers!
Today I finished reading through my Bible for the fifth time this year.
In Christ's Service,
Samuel C. Gipp, Ph. D.