A few explanatory notes

Richard Koritz
Posted 3/1/22


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A few explanatory notes


In the past several weeks many of you have approached me as I traverse DeWitt County and have commented on the column in two different ways.

First, several of you have agreed or disagreed with what I have written. I am great with that. Debate and discussion is what keeps the mind active. In a democracy it is also what keeps that engine of freedom going. Please continue to let me know your thoughts.

The second comment is that many have asked why my column wasn’t in the paper. That question deserves an honest response and I have been remiss in doing that.

When I started the column for the Clinton Journal, my agreement with Editor Gordon Woods was that I would write a column every other week. That column has evolved into essentially a weekly column. I wish to stress that the Journal and Gordon have never nixed a column and have been very easy to work with. Gordon and I do not always agree on everything, but we both love local newspapers and what the paper brings to the community. We also enjoy our brief discussions over current events.

The column has not been printed every week since December simply because I did not write a column or didn’t finish my thoughts by press time. When a column wasn’t ready Gordon used filler articles to cover my vacant space. I appreciate Gordon’s efforts when I have not produced a column. The question then is why no column.

During a physical last summer my doctor noticed my PSA count was borderline and referred me to a urologist. That PSA count would increase in late fall, but my urologist and the hospital he was affiliated with appear to have had some contract disputes and those urologists have left the area.

A physician friend had told me years ago that if I ever lost faith in my doctor or medical facility to go to either Barnes or Mayo’s. He stressed that there were excellent doctors and facilities throughout the country, but if I didn’t want to take the time to research individuals Barnes and Mayo’s were always consistently excellent facilities.

With a three-hour drive to Barnes in St. Louis or seven hours to Mayo’s, Barnes was the choice. My physician friend was right. Barnes is an excellent facility and its association with Washington University Medical School doctors makes for a great patient experience, if any medical procedure can be called great.

I spent November and December doing tests. The biopsy was done with robotic assistance, but I still had to endure the dreaded digital exam. Doctors all tell you they put lubricating gel on their gloves. I personally have come to doubt it is “lubricating” and have come to believe that all urologists have some sadistic mindset to go into their specialty.

With a diagnosis of prostate cancer the agreed course of action was radiation therapy. From mid-January until next week, I have been traveling daily on weekdays to Barnes. Six hours roundtrip in my Expedition for six minutes on a table is simply tiring.

The weather has been a challenge with the first snow storm causing me to spend three of the most boring days of my life in a Collinsville hotel. The excitement was the 15- mile white knuckle drive to Barnes and back with the interstates simply ice covered and snow packed.

The trip home a week ago Thursday was another experience. Ice at Litchfield to Springfield. Route 54 was totally covered in snow with me driving between the shoulders with some heavy prayers on the way home. I never did see pavement in Sangamon or Logan Counties. The DeWitt County line was a beautiful sight to see. The road was still snow covered, but it had been plowed.

I truly appreciated those state highway workers. On top of the thrill of driving, I get to pay for it too. My fuel bill is $70/day. Since this is normally a politically orientated column that bill does deserve a comment.

Every day when I fuel up, I am reminded to thank Uncle Joe for slowing down oil production in this country.

I am very content with my doctors and the radiation staff at Barnes. The radiation staff consists of five females and one token male who rotate shifts. Modesty is simply out the door and they do their job. They put up with my crude jokes and comments and give it back to me. In a serious situation, sometimes humor is the best remedy. I have come to truly appreciate this medical team.

As a guy who enjoys a good meal, I have always stated one should not get between the fat boy and the buffet. I have changed my terminology after my prostate diagnosis. Today, my comment is never get between a man with prostate problems and the bathroom.

I am writing this column to simply explain I have been tired and didn’t have the energy to write. The radiation takes something out of you, but that daily drive has become tedious and tiring.

I also want to stress that if you are a male over 50, or have family members with prostate cancer, please do the exams for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is treatable, especially if it is caught early. Talk to your doctor about this.

We will talk politics next week, but please keep the war in Ukraine in your prayers for a peaceful resolution. Our nation was founded by people willing to die for individual freedom and that same desire for freedom is evident in Ukraine.