After a harrowing stay in a hospital, the last thing a person wants to worry about is yardwork and house chores.
That's just what the friends of Terry Moberg thought.
As a result, the 60-year-old Brainerd man, who lives with his five Irish setters, came home in late June after a month at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale to discover just how thoughtful his friends and grown children are.
Nearly a dozen friends from the Brainerd Fire Department and North Ambulance, as well as family members, rallied to make Moberg's homecoming a pleasant one.
While Moberg was hospitalized, he received a semi-load of logs for his winter heating needs. The volunteers cut, split and stacked several cords of wood. They mowed his lawn, trimmed his shrubs. His daughter, Brenda, cleaned his house.
Moberg said he was astonished by the assistance.
"I don't like to ask for help," Moberg said. "It's overwhelming that you have friends like that -- that dig in.
"There aren't words that can express it," he said. "Thank you is not enough."
In mid-April, Moberg began experiencing back pain. He saw a physician, later a chiropractor and again a physician. An MRI -- magnetic resonance imaging -- test was ordered and a vertebra protrusion was discovered. A neurosurgeon determined the protrusion was not causing any neurological problems so no action was deemed necessary, Moberg said.
Moberg, who works for North Ambulance in Brainerd, returned to work but only lasted five days before the pain again got the better of him.
On May 26, he awoke about 3:30 a.m. because his legs were tingling. He fell back asleep and awoke again about 6 a.m. so he could let his five dogs outside. He stood up and promptly fell over. He discovered he was paralyzed from the waist down. He crawled to let the dogs out then grabbed a phone to call friends and an ambulance.
He was transferred directly to North Memorial Medical Center. A Staples friend retrieved his dogs and transported them to a McGregor kennel.
As additional tests were being performed, Moberg could feel the paralysis moving up his chest. Initially, a physician thought his spine may be full of tumors. A radiologist, though, determined he had an abscess on his spine. His physicians believe he developed a common Staph infection that entered his bloodstream and settled on his spine.
"That was good news more than anything," Moberg said of the abscess rather than tumors.
As he was being wheeled to surgery, he asked a physician about his chances of waking up again.
The physician responded he wasn't worried about that but he couldn't tell him whether he would walk again.
When he awoke, Moberg discovered he could wiggle his toes.
After several days in intensive care, Moberg spent the next several weeks in a rehabilitative unit, performing physical and occupational therapy. He endured days of excruciating pain. In addition, heavy doses of antibiotics to attack the underlying infection sapped his strength and robbed his hunger.
Finally after four weeks in the hospital, Moberg was well enough to go home. The pain had significantly subsided. He was walking with a cane. It should have been an exciting time for Moberg. Instead, he discovered one of his beloved dogs, Andre, was seriously ill.
Andre developed bloat, a common disease in deep-chested dogs, which can be a fast-moving, fatal condition, Moberg said.
Immediate surgery corrected the problem but his 7-year-old pet still was not breathing properly. Moberg's veterinarian, Dave Hanson, decided to take the dog home with him. Hours later when Andre still was not improving, Hanson decided to drive the dog directly to one of the nearest intensive care facilities for animals at the University of Minnesota Veterinary School.
Moberg feared for Andre. He said he considers Andre his closest companion. He has cared for the dog since it was an hour old, often lugging the tiny puppy in his pocket.
After a couple days in intensive care, Andre turned around. The dog's health improved. Moberg believes the dog may have become sick because it was heartbroken.
Each day, Moberg regains strength. He's lost 30 pounds since he fell ill. He hopes by his next appointment in September he will be able to quit wearing his back brace. He longs for the day he can wake up and not have to put the brace on.
Moberg, former owner of Brainerd Ambulance Service, which he sold to North Ambulance, has worked 38 years providing emergency medical services with ambulance companies. He misses his work. He also believes this experience will give him more empathy, although he believes he always has been thoughtful of the sick.
"I want to go back to work," Moberg said.
He said Hanson told him it was a humbling experience for him to rush Andre to the U of M. He said Hanson realized how clients feel when they come to him with a sick pet.
"That really kind of sums it up," Moberg said of how his experience being ill has changed how he may react to caring for others.
In addition to the help he received at home, the McGregor kennel refused any payment from Moberg for his dogs. Moberg simply wants to express his appreciation to all his friends and family who helped see him through this ordeal.
He said his reaction is one of wonderment. "I didn't expect it," he said. "It's nice to know the help is there."
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