Features — 21 June 2013 — by Michael Finnegan

I could say that I took a sabbatical leave from my column but that would be the wrong approach to you, my loyal readers. My e-mail, both my private and public telephone numbers were ringing off the hook, and at the same time people were congratulating me on placing history into its proper perspective.

Arriving at the Philip Goldson International Airport, I met several people who congratulated me on my article in the No. 1 leading newspaper, Amandala. While tiptoeing and walking on one side to the next side like an old man, I would have expected that people would show me their concern primarily because of the surgery I had just undergone; however, my health was only their secondary concern. Foremost in their minds was the series of articles published in the Amandala newspaper.

I believe that why my health was their No. 2 concern was because they were confident I would push through as I usually do. So have no doubt that I will find the time, every week, to continue my historical writing. It is a tedious task and it involves lots of local and international telephone calls and research to confirm historical details.

At this time I would really like to say thanks to the management and editorial board of the Amandala newspaper to allow me the space I have been given to record history as I see it.

I went not on sabbatical leave and, to quote the song writer Clarence Carter, “Let me tell you about the few troubles I’ve had.”

Some five years ago I had a colon complaint and had to receive colonoscopy treatment, which was successful. Four years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had to undergo surgical treatment to relieve that problem I had, and I am glad to report that that problem is in remission.

For the past two years, however, I have been experiencing excruciating pain in my left leg. I did not pay the kind of attention to this problem that it deserves and as a result the pain became more excruciating and at some point really unbearable. I had been to several doctors and in fairness to them they all diagnosed what was the problem and they advised that this problem must be solved surgically. I was faced with deciding on whether to do the surgery here in Belize or not and I kept contemplating, as in the words of the Vince Gill song, “which bridge to cross or which bridge to burn.”

In the meantime, I kept on a course of medication, but at one point even the medications prescribed by doctors in Belize were unable to capture the tentacles of this excruciating pain. I woke up one morning, signed all the necessary documents related to my Ministerial portfolio and with the approval of the Prime Minister took leave and headed north to Houston, Texas.

In Houston, I consulted one Dr. Masaki Oishi, who reviewed the history of my case and after a very thorough medical assessment arrived at the same conclusion as my Belizean doctors, that the progressive lower back pain, extending into my left extremity and the associated numbness, was being caused by lumbar disc disease.

Dr. Oishi said that the solution to this very painful condition would be surgery. He laid out to me the pros and the cons of surgery, in other words the good and the bad of such a surgical procedure. The options were relief or living with the excruciating pain. I decided then and there that I would opt for the surgery. My decision in opting for the surgery was based on my life long experience. I have been down many times and rebounded to a full and more productive life and most importantly, the good Lord throughout my life has always been on my side so that I would get up from my misery and “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” to quote Muhammad Ali.

While in Houston, I was fortunate to have met two young ladies; they are both married, and in my estimation of things, they are doing extremely well in the United States of America. These two young ladies are: Mrs. Rondine Flowers-Bailey, who was once a voter in the great Mesopotamia electoral division which I represent in the National Assembly; her father was once an outstanding footballer who played for the Berger 404 football team; and Mrs. Corrine Wade-Bradley, the sister-in-law of the Mayor of Belize City, Mr. Darrell Bradley. Corrine was once a resident of Casuarina Street in the Lake Independence division.

Alone in the United States of America, I was at a loss as to which way to go and which way to turn. These two Belizean women made my problem much easier to solve. They found expert medical care for me, and, upon my visit to the doctors, because the intensity of the pain made me unable to communicate eloquently, they became my voice and explained what was my problem. They made arrangements for the surgery and did everything and offered all the assistance a recuperating patient needs. I am so grateful to have met them as they made life extremely easy for me during that difficult period.

A week and a half after the surgery I was concerned because I was unable to get up and walk. It was frightening. A week later with help I found myself getting off the bed and dragging my feet on the pavement, which to my mind was a vast improvement.

Returning to Belize I sought physical therapy treatment as advised by Dr. Oishi and I am glad to report that I am about 95% better. My therapist is one Miss Rubia Briceño, a university-trained therapist whom I can recommend to anyone.

In my last article I said that I was going to reintroduce you to the legendary Collet Gill and Raymond Lashley, but I must let you know that I have had to change my plan on submitting that article because as a writer I must first be inspired. I seek your patience for a few weeks before I live up to that obligation.

However, I will reintroduce to you one of the best football teams I have seen play and let me tell you why. Can you imagine seeing a football team with its defence line comprised of players such as John Young, Frankie Clarke, Drake Williams and John Staine?

Don’t get excited yet: remember, next week.

(Ed. NOTE: The Hon. Finnegan’s articles are of great value and interest where our sports and community history are concerned, and we welcome him back and extend best wishes to him.)

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