Healthcare on The Prairie

Quite a day yesterday! It started out the night before at 11:00 p.m. when my shoulder began to hurt with very sharp pain. I’ve been recovering from reverse shoulder replacement surgery so this wasn’t an unusual happening. I got up and took three Advil and applied heat to the area. At 2:00 a.m. I tried to go to sleep again; the pain increased so I got up and took three more Advil.

By 4:00 a.m. The pain was so intense that I broke into my emergency supply of pain meds and took the last 2 Tramadol I had left. I gave up all hope of sleeping and waited until 7:00 a.m. and drove myself to Mayo in St. James, Minnesota where I had a physical therapist appointment I had already scheduled.

When I got there at 7:45 a.m. I met with the therapist who suggested I go over to the clinic scheduling desk and see if I could get a Doctor to look at my shoulder.

At the reception desk, I was told that the earliest I could be seen by anyone was 9:15, so I went to a waiting room chair and waited to be called. At 9:20 a nurse came and got me and took me to an exam room and took my initial information. I told her I was at a 10 of 10 on the pain chart and asked for pain meds. I waited in the room for 15 minutes for a PA to come in who looked me over as said I needed to have X-rays. I was sent back out to the waiting room and waited another 15 minutes for the x-ray tech to come and get me. A very nice woman took the X-rays and led me back to my original exam room where I waited for the results. The PA told me that my info was sent to be read at Mayo (headquarters) and I should wait there for the results. The results came (40 minutes later) and they revealed a complete shoulder separation of my newly replaced ball and socket. She then sent the information to my surgeon in Mankato for his review. 15 minutes later I was told that I needed to get to Mankato Mayo emergency to get treated.

Being as my wife was sick with flu I called a buddy to see if he could drive me. Unfortuanently he was already taking care of another medical emergency with his mother so he couldn’t help. By then I was really hurting and not thinking very well, so I decided to drive myself from St. James to Mankato, Minnesota (About 45 miles). I got to Mankato and walked into the emergency room where I was examed and treated by some very nice people and my surgeon who after I was sedated put by shoulder back in place. It was now 3:00 p.m. and I was feeling much better. My shoulder and arm were placed in a sling, which I will be wearing for 6 weeks while it heals.

Unfortunately, because I was put under for the procedure they would not allow me to drive home and suggested I should take a cab 55 miles back to Ormsby. I immediately suggested they were out of their f#$!! minds. I called a friend (Thanks Cornie in Odin, Mn) who volunteered to come and get me and also recruited another friend (Thanks Lyle Anderson) who would drive my car back home. At 6:30 p.m. I was back home – 19 hours after my shoulder separated. Though it took awhile there were a lot of very caring people who worked to help me.

I guess that’s the good and bad for choosing to live in rural Minnesota.

Given a chance to make the decision to move out to Ormsby again, I would certainly say the friendships I’ve made here make the inconveniences worth it.

Pure Science


– Clarence Holm

For the past month I have been trying to get my head around Michio Kaku’s book “Parallel Worlds” published in 2005. It’s been tough sledding as each paragraph read is followed by an equal amount of time exclaiming “Huh?”

The idea of multiple dimensions, traversing black holes and entertaining the notion of time travel excites me. But the sheer immensity of thought needed to capture even a partial picture grounds my feeble imagination. I’m afraid the knowledge of Einstein along with contemporary Astronomers and Physicists will remain out of my grasp.

That being said, I did manage to find an application for quantum physics in today’s world of Facebook and Twitter. While e=mc2 represents relativity, I believe my theorem helps us to identify and categorize jerks in social media.

Let me introduce my “Universal Theory of A-Putz” ©2014 Clarence Holm


And it’s corollary:

(Praise ±(Urge/Talent×Zeal²))/Attention

or simply stated: P³=P²±{U/T×Z²})/(A͚)

First of all I need to set some parameters:

Zeal=Drive and Drive=Zoom ergo Zeal²=ZoomZoom.

Let me explain my thinking. Many individuals approach social media with a limited supply of talent at the urging of a girlfriend or maybe a drunken buddy. While wandering through the cyberworld they realize that there are a lot of these same type of people who share his core belief system. Together they amplify their message, no matter what type of outside influencers (good or bad) try to influence the group.

Sooner or later some of these “Zealants” ©2014 Clarence Holm are divided into groups that cater to that subset and maximize their pomposity.

I can only think of one resolution to this theorem.


This may be relying too heavily on Darwinism, but aren’t we all!

Dear Clarence*

Q: Clarence, I’ve noticed that you seem to know a lot about exercise, can you help me choose a place to exercise?
A: If you are at a gym and all of the other members are overweight and out of shape chances are you are not at a very good gym. I’ve also noticed the best places have HD TV and snack bars.
Q: A friend told me  I should cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: Your friend is misinformed. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products. Bacon is a good choice to round out any meal.
Q: On Opra, I heard them talking about body/fat ratio, how can I calculate my mine?
A: It’s very simple, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.
Q: Dear Clarence, my wife and I cannot agree on the most appropriate fork to use with fish when a dedicated fish fork is not available.

I prefer the genteel salad fork while my wife and son use the heaviest fork available.

Which do you prefer?
A: While I appreciate your desire to raise your fork etiquette to a higher level, it appears to me, you are working much too hard at this. The Minnesota State Fair solved this dilemma quite nicely by putting the fish on a stick, dipping it into batter and deep-frying it.
Q: Mr. Clarence, recently the car my wife drives started smoking. At first it happen every once in a while but now, it’s all the time. The car is quite old and has a lot of miles on it. What can we do?
A: Consider yourself lucky to be a Minnesotan. Our legislators have solved the problem for you. All you have to do is bring the car with you to your favorite bar or tavern. Thanks to the smoking ban now in place, your car will automatically quit smoking.

*Dear Clarence’s advice should be taken with a grain of salt or a dinner roll, depending on your appetite.

Happy Birthday To Me

Originally published abt 2005

Today my wife woke me up announcing that this is the tenth anniversary of my stroke or as she likes to refer to it, “My Second” birthday.

It hard to believe it’s been that many years, the events of the day seem so fresh in my mind. I had stayed home that day because I had an intense headache. (My co-workers knew my headache had to be bad, because my wife ran an in-home daycare and the thought of me hanging around with 10 toddlers had to be an act of desperation.) I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee and the next thing I knew I was on the floor, unable to get up. My wife asked me what the matter was and I realized I couldn’t speak. One of my arms decided to take on a mind of its’ own and started to swing around for no apparent reason. I had to use my other arm to grab it and hold it down. My wife tried to lift me up, but I was like a rag doll (A 250 lb. rag doll!) I can still remember 10 set of children’s eyes staring at me and asking “Are you OK?”

My wife called 911 and it seemed like only moments until the ambulance arrived. At the same time, a neighbor came in and took over the children (including one of my own) and got them out of the house, before I was placed in the ambulance.

I knew what was happening to me, I could hear and understand everything. I just couldn’t respond! None of my limbs worked, other than my right arm, which I was using to restrain my left arm from waiving uncontrollably. I was in a deep trouble! I realized that there was nothing I could do myself and I made a conscious decision to put my fate in a higher power and relaxed completely.

When I got to Waconia Hospital Emergency Room, they immediately put me though a variety of tests and x-rays. The tests revealed I had a 90% blockage of an artery leading to my brain. My doctor called my wife and pastor in. He told us about a brand new experimental treatment called TPA. It had not been used successfully yet in Minnesota, but it had great results in other states. Without the drug I would be guaranteed a life long paralysis, with TPA I had a 50% chance of recovery or a 50% chance of dying. —- It was impossible for me to give my opinion, although I knew I wanted it done. Instead, I had to listen to my wife and our pastor talk out the options about the life I would or wouldn’t have, if paralyzed. My wife decided to take the chance on TPA.

The effect of the drug was almost immediate. The first thing I noticed was that my arm stopped moving. Soon I was able to touch my fingers together. Within an hour, my speech returned, although it was slurred. It was a miracle, I had survived a major stroke and my second life was beginning. I had a lot of therapy ahead of me, but I soon found, I had a lot of friends willing to help.

After the injection the first visitor to see me was my brother Jim and his wife Jayne. They had left the office to come to Waconia to support me and my wife. Jim had complete confidence that I would recover. He never once spoke to me about replacing me at work. Even when I had my darkest days, he stood by me helping with the financial problems that accompany any major hospitalizations.

I also found that I was blessed by many friends in insurance, who took the time to send me notes, card and flowers. I remember the second day of my hospital stay, Kent Peterson from Chaska, stopped in to see me. He had brought a card for me to read. He was pretty excited to have me read it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t read it, so I just smiled at him and said thanks.  That was the first time I realized that I had serious problems remaining that would require time to heal. My wife had figured this out before me, because when I was asked to name my children, I repeatedly forgot one.

I remained in the hospital for about a week and afterward I came home to continue the recovery. Within another week of being trapped in the house I was going stir crazy, luckily I got a call from Bob Comeau of Coon Rapids, offering to take me out for a drive. We drove west on Hwy 12 looking for used tractors; I had a great time going through the junk yards talking tractors. It really helped to get out and about.

During my recovery, I received many phone calls, including daily ones from Percy Ross (nationally known columnist). He made it a point to call me every day just to chat and ask how I was doing. He, by far, wasn’t the only to offer support. I had so many people helping me through my experience. There are just too many to name. I keep a scrapbook of all the cards and notes I received during that time. I still like to look it over to remember just how lucky I am to have so many good friends.

Why am I telling you this? I just wanted to let everyone know just how much I appreciated all the help I received. It humbles me to think of all the people who took time to support me, when it would have been much easier to forget about me.

To all of you that sent me cards, flowers, food and even money to help me out of my medical expenses, Thank you. To everyone that took time to visit me at my home and hospital room, Thank you. To my brother and co-workers who took over my work load, I know I can never repay you for you generosity, but at least I’d like to say thank you again.

It’s not everyone who gets a second birthday, and I want you to know I plan on celebrating it for many years.

Happy Birthday to me