I am one of those computer gypsies who wanders the country from end-to-end, working on contract projects that last anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months.

Thanks to the last three presidents, that is what a lot of computer people are reduced to doing in place of a regular, full-time profession.

Last November I was caught in a high-rise hotel fire in Dayton, Ohio, where I severely injured my neck and back trying to escape down nine flights of stairs, in the dark, to exit the burning building into an alleyway.

I was taken to the hospital, examined, pronounced sound, and turned back out onto the streets of Dayton at 3 a.m. on a cold November morning — shorts, bedroom slippers and a bloody T-shirt.

When I got back to Phoenix I found out that I had a severe concussion, multiple neck, back and leg injuries. After months of examinations with the neurologist and a neurosurgeon I was informed that my condition could not be repaired by surgery.

I could accept the fact that my physical condition would never be the same, but I could not accept the notion that I was going to have to live with the intense pain for the rest of my life.

So I did what I thought was the next logical step, I entered a very expensive “pain clinic” in Scottsdale, and started treatments. After several weeks of pain treatments I began to realize that chemicals were not the answer. My personal physician recommended a physical therapist right here in Ahwatukee Foothills, Dr. Keith Pritchette, DPT, ATC. I was surprised because I had gotten used to going to Scottsdale or Chandler for anything to do with my health.

After several weeks of exercising for a couple hours a day, three days a week, I can finally say that I am now essentially pain free. I am not cured, but I am up and about, I can drive again, and I can work. After almost a year of living in pain I can finally do things that I never thought I would do again.

“Pain is a funny thing, where you hurt is not necessarily where you are injured,” this was recently told to me by a very high-powered neurologist. Chemical treatments only bring short-term relief — at best, along with a lot of unwanted side effects. Today, I go through my day with two 220 mgs of OTC Naproxen Sodium (aka Aleve) and no other drugs of any kind.

The lessons I have learned are: I should have been exercising all along, I did not have to wait for a life threatening event to start exercising, and I should have looked in my own Ahwatukee neighborhood for health care.


• R.F. O’Meara is a 69-year-old computer consultant who has lived Ahwatukee Foothills since 1993. He has been in Arizona since 1979.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.