Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Good Medicine Gone Bad

Family, Healthcare, Personal

In January of 1990 I experienced a life-altering event.

I had a bad accident engaging in a seemingly fun winter sport -


There was no booze or drugs involved - just my girl friend, a bunch of friends and the kids having a blast on a sunny Sunday.

The crash left me with an unstable burst fracture of the twelfth thoracic vertebrae. 

Things were not looking very good for Tom.

Quickly collecting opinions from various docs - one surgeon seemed to stand-out.

His claim was that he could get me on my feet in practically no time.  Well - not exactly - reasonably soon.

He was one of Milwaukee's hottest surgeons.  Bright, competent, confident.

He was at the top of his game.

I underwent a nine hour surgery to reduce the fracture and stabilize the spine. 

Even with a Cell Saver I received an additional five units of whole blood.

My spine was held together with some fancy plates and lag bolts.

A week later a thoracic surgeon cracked my chest, and the first surgeon sawed-off a rib and used it to perform a posterior fusion of the spine.

After a month in the hospital I was sent home with a brace to wear.

I spent most of the following year working part time and getting better. 

In the spring of 1991 the doctor removed the hardware.

I thanked the him for his skill, confidence and inspiration which sped my recovery.

I gave-up running and embraced riding my bicycle with renewed enthusiasm.

(I kept the hardware as a souvenir of my adventure and stopped setting-off airport metal detectors.)

This was the doc.

Photo/Kevin Hamack

You've probably read about this in the news.

I eventually married the girlfriend that was with me on that January day and we've been living happily ever-after.

Not so for Mark Benson.

Formerly MD.

Booze and drugs. 

A slide into the abyss.

Finally a crash resulting in deaths.

I suspect his life isn't going to end so happily ever-after.

God help him. 


This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Page Tools