My twelve mile walk from Welch, OK to Chetopa, KS was fairly uneventful until I got about three miles outside of Welch, at which time the metal straps holding my left handle snapped and broke off. I zipped tied the handle back on the best I could, and continued my walk to Chetopa, basically pulling my cart with one handle. It was a hot and humid day, and pulling my cart proved to be very difficult, so I was really happy to see the Shorthorn Restaurant come into view a little before four o’clock. Crystal had spent a lot of time when growing up with the owners of the Shorthorn, Robin and Gary Tullis, and had arranged for me to stop and eat there before finding a place to camp for the night.
Upon arriving I mentioned the problem I was having with the handle to Robin, and I had no sooner sat down when I saw a gentleman inspecting my cart. When I walked outside to talk with him he told me he was there to fix it, and would need to take it back to the Bartlett CO-OP, the company he worked, to do so. Once there some of his workers cut, welded and attached a new front assembly to my cart that will without a doubt securely hold the handles in place for the rest of my trip. They refused to accept any payment for the work they had done, and promptly gave me and my cart a ride back to the restaurant.
After providing me with a free meal Robin and Gary told me they had an apartment in the back of the restaurant where I could spend the night and take a shower. What a blessing! God had provided for me again, and I spent a very restful night sleeping in an air conditioned apartment. The next morning they provided breakfast for me, and arranged for me to meet a family member at my next stop in Edna, KS. It turned out to be a very hot and humid day, and the fourteen mile trip between Chetopa and Edna proved to be very difficult. Steady pain had developed in both of my hips and my lower back, and the closer I got to Edna, the worse it became. Making the journey even harder was the lack of trees or any type of shade along the way. While the roads in Kansas may be easier to walk due to them being less hilly, having no shade of any kind creates a whole new set of problems.
After arriving in Edna that afternoon I almost immediately began having health issues, and after being picked up by the young lady I was to meet, Tammy Gonzalez, things only got worse. To make a long story short not long after picking me up Tammy took me to a hospital about 35 minutes away, where they almost immediately admitted me and began running tests. I was diagnosed with acute kidney injury and Rhabdomyolysis. The doctors believe it was brought on by extreme muscle strain and extremely high body temperatures. The result was the failure of many of my muscle fibers and the release of their contents into my bloodstream. This in turn resulted in the damage to my kidneys.
Thankfully we got to the hospital very quickly, and because treatment began so quickly the hospital staff were able to reverse the damage and get my kidneys functioning properly again. I spent the night and the next morning receiving treatment, and was released about noon. The doctors suggested I take some time off from my walk to heal, and after continued kidney pain I decided to return home for a couple of weeks to rest before continuing with my walk. Depending on my physical condition after two to three weeks of rest I plan to continue with my walk from Edna, Kansas. Please continue to pray for my quick recovery, and if it be God’s will that I can soon continue with my walk across America.
I want to give a special thank you to Tammy who not only took me so quickly to the hospital, but stayed with me and kept me company until late that evening and to Crystal, who heard what had happened and drove up from Welch to check up on me and to stay with me for a while after Tammy had left. What wonderful and caring ladies! Thank you so very, very much!
After my release from the hospital Tammy picked me up and took me back to Edna where Gary from the Shorthorn restaurant in Chetopa picked me up and drove me back to Welch, Oklahoma. Crystal had arranged for me to stay in the apartment again until I could be picked up by my son Colby, and his girlfriend Jessica. Once again the wonderful folks in Welch went out of their way to take care of me. Lunch was provided once again by one of the ladies in the town, and dinner by the owners of “The Cow”, the awesome restaurant in town. Not only that but Jeanne Sears, another of the wonderful ladies in town, upon hearing that I no longer had my camelback backpack, bought me one and had it delivered to me. Thank you so much, Jeanne, and thank you too for your continued prayers for me as I heal and hopefully continue with my journey. And thank you to everyone in Welch who once again provided for my needs while I began recovering from my injuries.
I want to give a special thank you to Robin and Gary Tullis, the owners of the Shorthorn who not only provided me with wonderful meals and comfortable lodging, but also went out of their way to give me rides and to arrange for me to get my cart fixed when I arrived there. I also want to thank the men at the Bartlett CO-OP for the awesome job they did in repairing my cart. Thank you so much for the work you did, and the kindness you showed me.
And more than anything, thank you to everyone who continues to pray for me as I heal and God willing as I continue with this journey! Know that God has answered your prayers, and has taken care of me every step of the way. The damage to my kidneys and muscles could have been far worse, and even life threatening without your continued prayers. Once again God has taken care of me and provided for me through all of the special folks I have met along the way, and I am truly blessed. Praise be to God, and thank you all so very, very much!!!
Always Onward I Walk,