How serendipitous that I read these words as I was preparing to write this column: “Every morning is a fresh start. Wake up each morning with a thankful heart.” 

At the Penn household, we’re thankful to have survived the month of May which I’ve dubbed the “The merry month of mayhem.” We bid the month farewell and declared June to be “Joyful June,”  a month for celebrating small milestones after a scary bout of medical mishaps.

On May 3rd, my husband fell on the tile floor in the kitchen and fractured his hip. It was a first for me to have to call 911. The Sandy Springs paramedics were fast, efficient and effective. Before I knew it, they had him on a stretcher and in an ambulance on the way to Emory St. Joseph. That’s where we learned he had a hip fracture, and where it was determined he could bypass hip surgery and instead spend time in a rehab facility to enable the bone to heal.  

The next day, with a list from the hospital, I went rehab shopping.  I’m darned good at shopping, but this too was a first. I visited one facility and thought it might be OK, especially since it was close to St. Joseph, but I decided I’d ask for opinions on Nextdoor. I’m glad I asked. To a person, the respondents had only negative comments and offered other suggestions. The next day I visited three more places. One was out of the question, but I was happy with the other two and called the hospital social worker with the names of those facilities.

I happily checked that task off my list, only to arrive at the hospital Monday to be informed my husband needed to be in an acute rehab facility where they’d provide three hours of daily rehab. Somehow, I’d been given the wrong list. I didn’t bother with shopping this time. Instead, I identified my top three based on proximity. Naturally, it was the one farthest away that had a bed, Emory Decatur, fka DeKalb General. He was shipped off to hospital number two via ambulance that afternoon.

There he got the rehab he needed and made amazing progress. The PT staff thought he might go home the following week, until, that is, he almost passed out on Mother’s Day.  After several tests, they moved him to a regular hospital room for monitoring, then to ICU, where they discovered he had a massive pulmonary embolism. Ambulance number three delivered him to Emory Midtown fka Crawford Long because that’s where the best surgeon was.  

Monday morning, Dr. Omar Latouf operated on him and successfully removed a 13-inch blood clot with a new, less invasive procedure he’d developed and used only two other times. To my husband, he is now known as Omar the Magnificent. After several days in ICU, my husband got to come home. Within two weeks, with a few visits from the physical therapist, he went from using a walker to walking unassisted. And just last week he was approved to resume driving.

We’re thankful the not-so-merry month of May is over and that we live in an area with excellent medical facilities and physicians. We shudder to think what the outcome might have been if we lived in a small town far from these resources. It was a miserable month for my husband, but June was joyful and July promises to be the same. So yes, we’re greeting each day with thankful hearts.


Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident.

Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the

Enchanted Forest and on Amazon. 


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