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Local People: George Breithaupt shares story of hope

March 15, 2011, was a day that changed my life forever; it was the kind of day all diabetics fear. I have been a T2 diabetic since 2001. I had it under control for many years but then totally lost control. This is the story of my life for the two-and-a-half years that followed. I want to share my experience to let all diabetics, and, in fact, to let anyone who suffers a dark day like it did, know there is always hope. Here is my story.

Walk A Mile In My Shoes
By George Breithaupt
The longest journey of my life began on the Ides of March 2011, which was a bit ironic. But Sunday evening March 15, 2011, found me on my living room floor going in and out of consciousness. However, my lucid moments were anything but. I recall trying to stand up and being unable to even make an attempt. At one point I remember thinking, “I wish Dylan would stop by.” Dylan McCament was a friend and former coworker at the newspaper where I worked.

I eventually became aware of someone knocking, pounding really, on the kitchen door, which was the main entrance to the house. I must have heard him without realizing it at first because he later told me he had been knocking for a while.
“Dylan, come in! I’m here,” I yelled. I heard him say the door was locked so I yelled at him (I thought) to wait. He kept knocking and I was afraid he was going to leave because he couldn’t hear me. After an excruciatingly slow and painful crawl of about 8 feet I reached the door and pounded on it to let him know I was there.

“George? Are you there, George?” I heard him yell. I banged on the door again and tried to reach up to flip the latch which locked the outer storm door. It was barely within my reach and had to be flipped up. I made it after several tries and the door opened.

“George! Are you all right,” he said.
“I can’t get up,” I told him.
He asked if I wanted him to help me get in my recliner and I nodded my head. Dylan is a pretty strong guy and I was nothing but dead weight. I tried to help but could not. He finally hustled me over to my recliner; a distance of probably 15 feet. How he got me into the recliner I don’t know. He later told me he didn’t really remember how he managed that.
“Do you want me to call the squad (paramedics)?” he asked. I told him I was OK which neither of us believed.
“Where is your cell phone? I don’t have mine.”
I shook my head. But he said he was calling the squad.
“I’m going to go next door to get John.”


John was my neighbor and good friend. Dylan gave me his half-finished cigarette and left saying he would be right back. It was the last cigarette I would ever smoke!
It seemed like he took several hours but Dylan finally came back with John who took one look at me and said he was going back to his house to call the squad.
The next few hours, in fact, the next few days are a blur. I remember the squad arriving and people talking to me, but I don’t remember if I answered them. I do not remember being taken to the hospital, Knox Community Hospital, and I only remember bits and pieces of being there.

I later learned they took off my shoes and my right foot was black. I have a vague memory of them cutting off my jeans, my favorite pair of black denim jeans. I also remember thinking about how I could repair the jeans later.
I remember a woman – A nurse? A doctor? – examining my foot and asking me to indicate if I felt anything. She was poking my foot and I told her I felt something, I thought. Evidently not the right answer because she said, “No you don’t feel anything.”

After that, there are just bits and pieces of things I remember. I remember my friend Zach sitting there talking to me. It was, as I recall it, like a dream sequence with a haze around Zach and no background. I remember that about several incidents. I woke up the next day (right!) feeling marginally better. I asked the nurse if there was a phone I could use. I said I had to call work to tell them I wouldn't be in. The nurse gave me a funny smile and showed me the phone next to the bed. I called work, the local newspaper and asked to speak to my editor, Samantha.

“Samy, It's George. I finally took your advice. I am in the hospital and don't think I'm gonna make it in today.”
Samy laughed, longer and harder than I expected.
“Do you know what day it is,” she asked.
“Monday?”
“It's Wednesday. I've been to see you every night. Just get better, OK?”
I started taking her advice. But it took a long time.
I have to give it to Samy, she was incredibly supportive. When I was recuperating in a Health Care Center in Westerville Ohio, about 40 miles from Mount Vernon, she visited several times there, too. And she brought me T-shirts! A wonderful gift for someone in that situation. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I found out later that the doctors at KCH were very worried about my condition and weren't sure I was going to survive. My white blood count was about as bad as it could be and my foot was black and my leg not much better to look at.
“It was black with big streaks of red and yellow, my brother Dave told me. “It didn't look good at all!”
The hospital spent several days pumping my body with all kinds of antibiotic to get my condition to a point where they could transport me to Columbus – a 50-minute trip – for better treatment. I think I was there three maybe four days before they sent me to St. Ann's Hospital in Westerville.
I do remember people talking about sending me over and even asking me if I felt like taking a ride to Westerville. However, I don't remember if I gave them an answer.
But it was decided to send me and I remember being in a wheelchair and sitting up the whole ride. The attendants kept asking me if I was comfortable and I even remember talking to one of the guys about working at the newspaper. He said his brother knew someone or he knew someone who worked at the newspaper or used to. Well, you get the idea. The trip seemed to take maybe 15 minutes but I was later told it was about 80 minutes because of traffic.

Everything was a blur at St. Ann's. I do recall arriving and being wheeled into the emergency room. I evidently was able to give acceptable answers to the questions I have since learned are asked by every emergency room.
The blur continued and there was a parade of faces swimming in the brown fog that was my world during those days. I remember one face in particular that – I later learned - belonged to Dr. Vincent, the surgeon who did the surgery on my leg. And I do remember him talking to me.

“You are very sick,” he would say, “And your leg is not in very good shape. We will try to save it. We can't save your leg.”
I know this doesn't really make sense but it is how I remember it in my “very sick” and confused state. One thing I do remember very well is the signing of forms that would let the doctors make many decisions they felt were needed. These were very explicitly explained and I believe my brother Dave was there to help make these understood by me. In other words, they were asking my permission to amputate my leg. In fact, it was probably my brother who actually made that decision.

Dave has told me that Dr. Vincent told him the prognosis for my leg was not good and neither was it good for me. I think my brothers were pretty well convinced they would be the first ones to bury one of the brothers. They were all staying close to their telephones during the operation and my sister-in-law Lorraine, John's wife, told me she cried for half-an-hour when Dave called and said I was out of surgery and doing well.

Although I was not in a condition to fully understand what was going on, it was a harrowing experience for me, too. I remember, at one point, after a lot of discussion, being taken down to a large room with round, overhead lights. I was transferred from a gurney to a rather cold table covered with just one sheet. Again there were more discussions and questions to me. I don't believe my answers were acceptable, this time. One group was insisting I was not in any kind of shape to make any decisions or sign any permission forms. Others contended there were other forms I had signed that were “perfectly good.” I think one problem was that Dave wasn't there to legitimize any actions on the part of the doctors or the hospital. I had had a couple of “shots” so I soon lost interested in the argument and kind of drifted off.

The next thing I know I was being wheeled back up my room. I sort of have a recollection of asking if the discussion had been settled. One of the people accompanying me kind of laughed and said I did all right. Again I drifted off.

The next thing I remember is sitting in a larger, very white room that seemed to feather away rather than end in hard edges. There was a couch and an easy chair and a large potted plant. I was sitting in the easy chair having a visit with my parents, whom I had not seen since they had passed away many years before.

Unfortunately, I do not remember much of what we discussed. I am sure it would have been nice. But what I do remember is that after a while I heard a voice e calling my name.
“I think it's time for you to go, son,” my Dad said.
“I'm not ready to go, Dad, I'm not ready yet,” I said.
“It's time for us to go,” my mother said. “but you can't stay!”
“We will be here son,” Dad said. “We'll be waiting for you. There are other people who need you.”
The voice grew louder and I managed to get my drier-than-dust throat to answer.

“How's your pain level, George. How you doing, honey?” It was the nurse talking to me.
“Yeah, I seem to have a little more pain in my leg.”
“I'll go get you some pain medication,” the nurse answered. “And then I'll call your brother and tell him you're out of surgery.”
“Whoa, wait a minute! Did you say I just got out of surgery?”
“Yes, I did. You got out about 15 or 20 minutes ago,” came the answer.
The nurse left the room and I laid my head back on the pillow. I lifted it again and stared down at my right leg, or what was left of it. It was swaddled with bandages but not enough to cover a whole leg.

“Good God, they did it,” I thought. “I did it!” I was very calm and accepting of it. I didn't look down and scream “where's the rest of me!” I didn't then and I haven't yet. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever say that to myself. I live in some fear that I WILL wake up one morning, look down at my leg, or lack thereof and THEN scream.

Although I was very accepting of what happened to me, I did wonder what was going to happen. I thought briefly about having a cigarette but realized was going to be a problem with that. So I forgot about it. The nurse had come back with a couple of small looking pills for me, which I took. I was feeling pretty mellow, immediately forgot about a cigarette and laid my head back down on my pillow. Little did I realize I had just quit smoking.

But this was only the beginning of my journey; there going to be some very dark days and more than a few with light and hope.
It was only the end of Part One.

COTC pays tribute to alumnus David Barber

NEWARK – Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) is mourning the passing of one of its own. Retired Knox County Sheriff David Barber passed away over the weekend. He graduated from COTC in 1982 with a degree in criminal justice technology. Barber was one of the founding members of the COTC Alumni Council, a former member of the criminal justice advisory board, a former instructor on both the Newark and Knox campuses and was the keynote speaker at COTC’s winter commencement in 2011.

“David Barber was a proud graduate of COTC and never hesitated to serve his alma mater,” said COTC President Bonnie L. Coe, Ph.D. “He will be greatly missed. Our condolences go out to his family.”

Barber served as Knox County sheriff for 20 years, retiring in 2013. COTC interviewed Barber in 2016 for a video celebrating COTC’s 45 anniversary. During that interview Barber said that the associate degree he received from COTC put him on the path to becoming sheriff.

Barber from COTC

File photo of David Barber - COTC

“I've always had a special place in my heart and in my life for Central Ohio Technical College because it gave me the opportunity and the tools and the things that I needed,” said Barber. “All the experiences both in the classroom, on the gun range, on the self-defense mats, and all the networking I was able to do with other students who have furthered their law enforcement careers made a huge difference. I guess to sum it up I would not be where I am today if it had not been for my COTC experience.”

Barber’s career started in June 1973 when he was a police officer for the Mount Vernon Developmental Center. He later became chief of police in Centerburg before moving into a uniform patrol deputy position at the Knox County Sheriff’s Department. He was elected as sheriff in 1993. Barber said he decided to go to COTC so he would have the opportunity to advance his career.

“I was acquainted with a couple law enforcement officers who were attending COTC,” said Barber. “I checked it out and found out that going to Central Ohio Technical College through the criminal justice program was going to excel my chances of furthering my law enforcement career.”

Barber was the first person elected to the position of sheriff in Knox County with a college degree. He knew it was important to give back to his alma mater and said he benefitted greatly from those experiences.

“I was honored to be an instructor for a few years in the Basic Police Academy at Newark. I served on the COTC Alumni Council, and back many years ago I was on the criminal justice advisory board for the college,” said Barber. “I am just so impressed with what President Coe and the college have done, not just for Newark and Mount Vernon, but for central Ohio.”

COTC was ranked number one in Ohio and number 19 in the nation by PayScale in its 2016-17 College Salary Report ranking the best community and career colleges by salary potential. COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.

Local People: Tammy Lemley, cancer survivor, emphasizes resources available through ACS

MOUNT VERNON – The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event has always held a special place in the hearts of participants and local residents Don and Tammy Lemley, even before Tammy's late 2013 diagnosis of breast cancer. Today, Tammy is proud to say she is a cancer survivor and is now a member of the leadership team for Knox County's Relay for Life.

Just before Thanksgiving 2013, Lemley discovered a lump in her left breast. After making it through an anxious holiday season, she had a mammogram after which doctors told her she would need a surgical consult. Following was a biopsy, lumpectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, consults with more doctors for a treatment plan of chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy. "Once I heard the word 'cancer,' I didn't hear anything else," said Lemley. "My family and I were overwhelmed."

Through their association with Relay for Life, her family quickly discovered the many resources available through the American Cancer Society. "ACS played a huge part in walking with me through my journey. I attended the Look Good Feel Better program provided by ACS through Knox Community Hospital. The facilitator (cosmetologist) provided education about beauty techniques to help manage appearance-related side effects of my treatment," Lemley said. "There were days of fatigue and no energy, so this was a great class and very helpful."

Tammy also received a "cost-free" wig from ACS, in addition to articles and education on resources for staying healthy and active during and after treatment, advice for caregivers and survivorship care plans. "The ACS is a great resource to help know and understand the right questions to ask along the way," she said. One of the greatest goals of ACS is to find a cure for cancer--it is the nation's largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research. As Lemley explained, "ACS funded the research for a drug known as Herceptin, which ultimately saved my life."

Now, as a survivor, Relay for Life means more than ever to Lemley and her family. "We're representing the survivors and caregiver groups this year on Relay's leadership team," she said. "It's so important for our community to understand the impacts of cancer and how it affects everyone, from survivors, caregivers, families, friends and community members."

Tammy and her husband Don have four children, ages 26, 21, 13 and 8. As she stated, "I have discovered that I wear many different hats that include, a wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, chef, nurse, children's church leader, cheer coach, girl scout leader and employee. There were times throughout my treatment that I struggled with which hats I could actually wear. My faith and support from my husband, children, friends and staff at the Center for Cancer Care, and the American Cancer Society have helped me and my family throughout my journey."

The Relay For Life movement is the world’s largest fundraising event to fight every cancer in every community, with four million participants in 5,000 events worldwide in 2016. Last year, more than 450 people participated in the Relay For Life of Knox County and raised $269,000. The 2017 Knox County Relay for Life will be held June 16-17 at Mount Vernon High School football stadium.

Visit relayforlife.org/knoxco to learn more about the event, or contact Carrie Haver at 740-398-6603 or Sarah Thomas at [email protected].

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For more local news KnoxPages news click here.

Former Sheriff Barber will be missed by many

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - After the news came Sunday that former Knox County Sheriff David Barber, 63, had been found deceased in his Kinney Road home, those who knew him expressed shock and admiration.

Retired KCSO Sgt. Karen Bennett Butler knew Barber for decades. She told KnoxPages.com that Barber was a very private person and took pride in his work. Sunday evening Butler said, "His sudden death has shaken many of us that worked with Dave, before and then after he became Sheriff, and we are all still trying to wrap our minds around the events of today."

Former KnoxPages.com Editor Adam Taylor said that he first met Barber 17 years ago while working for the local newspaper and covered him extensively through the years. He spent many hours talking to him and shared that he last spoke to Barber two weeks ago. Taylor said Barber had experienced post traumatic stress disorder with the Matthew Hoffman case. Hoffman is spending his life in prison for the deaths of three people whose bodies were discovered stuffed in a tree in 2011. Taylor says Barber was troubled and haunted by that case. Barber said he worked through the PTSD with the help of friends.  Since retirement Barber had been on the road with the touring rock band Def Leppard. Taylor says Barber’s death is a tremendous loss to the community. Taylor concluded, “Barber wasn’t your stereotypical, old school county sheriff, he was a trailblazer.”

Municipal Court Judge John Thatcher and former county prosecutor said, “There are two things that I admired most [about Barber], number one - how well he took care of the people who worked for him and number two -  how well he took care of his mother.  And his job was his life.  He did a lot to take the sheriff’s office into the modern era. He was responsible for CALEA law enforcement accreditation. It was a long process to achieve that.”

Thatcher also said that it was during Sheriff’s Barber’s time in office that the new jail and sheriff’s office were built on Upper Gilchrist Road.  Thatcher relayed a story Barber told about one Christmas in the old sheriff’s office on East Chestnut Street when he (Barber) was sitting at his desk and plaster fell from the ceiling. That was an indicator that a new jail/office was needed.

It was in the 1980’s, when Barber served as KCSO detective, when Knox County really started cracking down on sex abuse cases. Thatcher said the investigations back then depended on old fashioned police work, there was no DNA or some of the forensic tools used today.

County Commissioner Thom Collier said, "Dave served our county well and represented all that was good about the sheriff's office. He took the identity of his office very seriously. He was a sheriff personified, that was just his life, he served us well." Collier knew Barber for decades, the two grew up across the street from each other on Hamtramck Street in Mount Vernon.

 

 

OSU Alumni Club of Knox County awards scholarships

 

MOUNT VERNON - The OSU Alumni Club of Knox County has awarded six first-year scholarships and one upperclassman scholarship. Scholarship recipients are Milan Pozderac, Casey Miglin, Emily Derikito, Caleb Hickman, David Alden, Mason Myers and Cierra Light.

Recipients of $2,000 are Milan Pozderac, Casey Miglin and Emily Derikito.

Milan Pozderac of Mount Vernon is a graduate of Fredericktown High School and the son of Milan and Kim Pozderac. He will be majoring in animal science.

Casey Miglin of Mount Vernon is a graduate of Mount Vernon High School and the daughter of Scott and Susan Miglin. She will major in international studies.

Emily Derikito of Fredericktown is a graduate of Fredericktown High School and the daughter of Sheri and Tracy Divelbiss and Alan and Connie Derikito. She will pursue a degree in pharmaceutical science.

Recipients of $1,000 include:

David Alden of Danville, a Danville High School graduate. He is the son of Noel and Kate Alden and will major in political science.

Mason Myers of Centerburg, a Centerburg High School graduate. He is the son of April Myers and David Myers and will major in engineering.

Caleb Hickman of Mount Vernon, a Mount Vernon High School graduate. He is the son of Michael Hickman and Alice Hickman and will be majoring in agricultural education.

Cierra Light is the recipient of the upper class student award. She is a Mount Vernon High School graduate and the daughter of David and Christina Light. She is currently a senior in the OSU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences where she is in the Sonography Program. She is an active member of the Health Sciences Scholars Program.

The awards are merit based. The club has been assisting students for many years and remains committed to student recruitment, scholarship initiatives, cultural programs and community service.

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