Yes, I did almost die, and yes Bubba Watson (professional golfer) did, in fact, save my life… But I have never met the man. Let’s get to it.
Listen to the full episode here: https://anchor.fm/dataaxisgolf/episodes/Bubba-Watson-Saved-My-Life-e2ie79
How Bubba Watson saved my life. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Yes, I did almost die. And yes, he did actually save my life. But it’s probably not what you think. Let’s get into it.
Welcome to Data Axis Golf, your home for rapid golf improvement. And now from the thin air of the Rocky Mountains, next on the number one tee, your host Aaron Stewart.
Hello again. Welcome to Data Axis Golf. My name is Aaron Stewart. Happy to have you aboard. So yeah, this is a story that I don’t really tell much. And actually, I was out with my wife last night. We’re at a public function and the stories just sort of kind of came up, kind of in a bad way. We were talking with a friend of ours about his father-in-law, who’s in the hospital and having a tough time right now. And so that kind of led to the time that I was in the hospital with a similar ailment. And it was not looking good. So this happened to back. Yeah this so again, bear with me. This happened back in 2012. So my wife is awesome. She is well, she’s extraordinary if I can steal the word from an extraordinary girl. She is in every sense of the word. She’s amazing and I love her to pieces but she has a problem with her ear. It’s a birth defect where her station tube doesn’t work properly. And for a while, she kind of got away with it but as she got older and her ear became less and less flexible. Her station tube wouldn’t close anymore and that causes all kinds of dizziness and nausea problems and all kinds of stuff where it always sounded like she had her head stuck out the window. The wind was blowing by, so it was kind of a massive as far as quality of life goes, it was quite poor when she was dealing with this.
And so we found through a set of some really cool circumstances and finding a doctor here locally who happened to be at a conference and heard about this new procedure that could kind of help somebody like Carol. And it’s really rare, this birth defect but this doctor lived in Boston. And we actually don’t live in Boston, we live in the state of Utah. So quite a ways for us but we started again, she was desperate. We all were I mean, nobody liked to see her in pain. And with three kids and stuff. It’s kind of hard to be a mom that way. And so we started taking trips out to Boston. And I believe in total, I think when we sat down and try to count it all up. I think we took seven trips and total to Boston for you know, sort of pre-check to see if she was a good candidate. And then we actually had I think it’s either four or five surgeries in Boston Eye and Ear, the hospital there. I’m not a big fan of the place. I just had to spend so much time there. But I’m sure it’s a great facility. It wasn’t great for me to be there all that time and traveling back and forth to Boston for this type of thing. And for my experience with it, it doesn’t really work very well.
So the time is 2012, and we’ve gone back out, I actually, I guess, let me step back. So I actually had appendicitis, a pretty bad one. They caught it in time, it was the size of varying stories, but apparently was quite a large size of a, you know, between a golf ball and baseball, whatever, they got it out. I got there in time. And they, you know, fixed me but we had this surgery scheduled for Carol out in Boston. And so I was like, Can I go, you know, because it was like, he was like, three or four days out and they’re like, Yeah, no, you should be fine. You know, just take it easy for a day and then go. So we hopped on a plane and went out there and you know, the day we landed in Boston, I just was not feeling well. I felt really sort of just not feeling well. Just not myself, but it was different. I wasn’t quite getting what was going on. But I definitely was not feeling well. And it got progressively worse. And I remember the day Carol was getting her surgery, I thought maybe I should just check myself in. But I knew when Carol comes out of anesthesia, she struggles for a little bit. So I knew that I had to at least be there for her to get her through the period of where she could kind of shake off the anesthesia. And then we were planning on going home the next day. So kind of give her sort of 12 hours to 18 hours to sort of get the anesthesia out of our system, at least a little bit to the point where we could travel. And so we did that. And I am getting worse and worse, and I’m telling her to look, I feel horrible. But I don’t want to go to a hospital here in Boston. I just assumed we go back to the hospital back home. So let’s just do that. And so that was probably close to one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made in my life. At least as far as my health goes. We went and got on a plane from Boston. We flew to New York, and it was all I could do to walk as slowly as I possibly could to get to the next flight because my insides were on fire and I was in so much pain. I was having a hard time to stay conscious and it hurt so badly that was chewing Advil raw just to try to get the pain down. I didn’t want to drink it I wanted instant relief so I literally chewed Advil and swallowed up with water. I wanted as quick relief as possible. Nothing was really working. We got on the flight and I was in total pain. Every little bit of turbulence, I wanted to kill the pilot, the whole thing. I just got progressively worse for that, I don’t know, five or six-hour trip home. And when we landed in Salt Lake City, I guess I was a shade of gray, that looks pretty, pretty bad. And everybody knew that I was sort of in bad shape. And so my sweet wife ran out and got the car brought around. I got in and then she drove. Bless her heart. She is a fast driver anyway, but I mean she was unbelievable.
Jeff Gordon asks she was fantastic. And she was shooting in traffic. She went crazy and got me to the hospital. And I remember sort of getting out of the hospital and she was going to go park the car. And I just sort of walked in slowly into the emergency room. And I got to the window and the lady looked up at me and I just I remember saying, I don’t feel good. And then apparently I just went to the ground so completely passed out gone, whatever. They rushed me back, and I remember none of this. I came out of it. I guess I came out of it a couple of days later and I guess it turned up is that when they did the appendicitis operation, they took my appendix out. They didn’t seal me back up, they just left a gaping hole there. And so I had been dumping sewage into my inner systems and it was just basically filling up with stomach acid and guck that I had processed. And it was not now able to deposit properly. And so I went septic. I had sepsis and which is what this gentleman that we learned about last night has in the hospital which what kind of brought it up. And so it had gotten to the point where I guess they had gone in and they had sucked out all the guck. They had washed off on my organs. They’ve done a bunch of stuff and I never go shirtless because of the disaster that is my midsection now. It is brutal and nobody needs to see that. So anyway, they sealed me back up and then you’re kind of hopeful. I guess when you get to that point you have that much infection and guck inside your system. The chances of you coming out of that are not the best. And so they kind of watched and waited and sort of was looking but I guess I got worse and worse. I do remember vaguely people coming in and give me pain pills. I remember at night I would scream at the top of my lungs just because it hurts so badly. My insides and I’m embarrassed to admit this, that I’m a religious guy. I believe in God. But I was praying. I was not praying for deliverance. I was just praying to die. I just wanted out. So I completely gave up. It makes me feel horrible. Now that I think about it, I mean, I would conjure up the picture of my wife and my head to try to stop this and she would come up my head and I would go, Honey, I love you. But God, please take me now. And then I picture my kids. huh. I picture my kids. I love you guys but I can’t do it. I gotta go. Geez, sorry. I was expecting this.
So I was in so much pain and there was nothing they could do for me. I just wanted to leave this rock and be done with it. It didn’t matter what I thought about there was nothing that could get me past the pain. There was nothing that was worth it anymore. I just wanted to go and not feel it anymore. I don’t know exactly what comes next. But I didn’t care. I just wanted it to end and so that’s where I was. And that’s where I was hanging out. Well, it was around this time that fortunately for me, the Masters’ tournaments on and I love the Masters the Masters is the best tournament so far as I’m concerned. I love it and I love watching it. And so I got in sort of the midst of all these conversations and a period of being somewhat conscious that I remember hearing that the Masters was on. And it must have been a Sunday night so I had kind of come out of it a little bit and I turned on the TV to see if I could see the Masters coming on and I found it. And I’d found on the Golf Channel or I’m not exactly sure where maybe it was ESPN. I was completely on drugs, but I found somewhere where they said they were going to rebroadcast the whole thing it was like eight hours of coverage. I didn’t know who’d won. I didn’t know any of it. And this is 2012. Bubba Watson won. So that’s the title of my topic but apparently, this same day on this Sunday they had told my wife Hey, doesn’t look good. I guess he’s good, which is prayers are going to be answered and he probably won’t be here in the morning. And so she was dealing with that. Unbeknownst to me, that’s not information that they were allowing me to enjoy. This is not information that was making it to my ears. So that’s what she’s dealing with. I guess just facing the idea of being a single mom with three kids but 2012 would make them our oldest you know 10, 11 so that’s what she has to deal with the rest of her life and me moving on. So she’s dealing with that and I’m dealing with pain in a drug-induced, almost coma. I mean I am fit to be tied and tied down frankly. And I get to the point where I see that the Masters is starting and sort of coming out of the hay. So that means that it’s time for them to come in and give me a bunch more of the pain meds and I’d learned that if I do not move if I absolutely stay totally still and I don’t move that the pain is at least bearable. If I move, it’s unbearable. So I’ve gotten to the point where I figured out okay, I’ve positioned my bed and it got to a point where I’m somewhat comfortable and if I don’t move, it doesn’t hurt. Well, it hurts but it’s not where I want to kill myself or it’s, you know, manageable. It’s a level of pain that I’ve grown accustomed to handling at that point in my life. So the nurse comes in to give me stuff and I say to her No, I don’t want any of it because I know it’s going to knock me out and then I’m not going to be able to watch the Masters Tournament. And so I chased her away and she bickered a little bit. But I won the argument you can’t give a person drugs if they don’t want it. So she left and I watched the Masters and I watched all eight hours.
I was sick of sleeping at that point. I watched all eight hours and an absolutely was completely enthralled with the whole thing and I don’t know if you remember, I’m sure everybody does, the playoff. Bubba bending that shot around the corner onto the green, winning the playoff. I mean the Double Eagle. The whole thing. It was just a magical tournament, right? It was the coolest tournament and that staying awake for eight hours without any pain medication, it hurts. I had to move around a little bit to stay. I was definitely alert because the pain kept me alert but I just remember being so present and at the moment and watching that golf tournament and sort of being transported to the Masters and I’ve never been and I want to. I want to go. But I was transported. I was there. I was a part of it and I became such a big fan of Bubba Watson because I was so tied into this. And because I was so focused on it and so alert for those eight hours I turned the corner. When the tournament was over, and I don’t remember what time it was. It was the wee hours of the morning. I went to sleep. They came in to try to give me some more drugs. I said I don’t need them. I watched the last few hours of the tournament. Bubba Watson won. I was euphoric. I just remember the surge of adrenaline. And I don’t know if that’s what it did but I just remember being so much in love with the game and so much in love with the Masters and so much in love with how that tournament ended. And how Bubba Watson played. So much in love with the emotion that came out of him when he’d won and he’s an emotional guy, but just feeling so enamored with all of that. And so tied back into that experience that it felt like I was there. That that was it. That’s when I turned the corner. That was that night. It was watching the Masters Tournament. It was watching Bubba Watson win his first major and it was being off of pain meds and it was finding something. It was being conscious again. It was being present again. That got me to the point where my body decided to fight. And I decided to fight myself that it was worth living. That Carol and the kids were worth living for, again, that I could take the pain on and get through this and we were going to do it. And we’re going to make it. And that was the last day of pain but was definitely the last day that I was unconscious. It was the last day didn’t remember anymore. I remembered every day past that point. And every day as I went through the healing process, kind of a long story longer, I guess. When that sort of thing happens. They actually inserted to clear tubes into my abdomen area and they attached to the end of these little kinds of plastic balloon type things. You crush them and you hook them onto the hose and then they act as a sort of like constant suction to suck out the infection from your insides.
So I went home with two tubes sticking out of my belly, it looked like a Borg. And I would have to change. It would fill up these little balls. They’re kind of shaped like a hand grenade, right? With plastic and they would just constantly suck out the infection. And I had those things in me for a week to 10 days. And I would just change them out and dump the poison out. Wash them out and then put them back on to these tubes that were inside me for that amount of time. But I was on heavy antibiotics and this, that and the other but we kind of sort of worked our way through that. I lost 30 pounds in the process, not healthy pounds. I looked awful and I, fortunately, put on those 30 and a few more just for good measure in case I ever have to go through that again. But I got healthy and I was so grateful. I’m still grateful. I am still grateful for the Masters Tournament now obviously means something different to me. It’s a special time of year, on my birthday month. It’s also the first major, we’re kind of getting back into it. It’s just a cool time. And it was just a moment for me to really reflect and tie back into golf and tie back into life and tie back into why we’re alive. And what we do and how we live and to appreciate your family and your spouse. And everything about life became very real, and it stayed real for me. So I guess that’s a good turning point in my life. So again, I publicly think the Masters for saving my life, and I publicly thank Bubba Watson for playing like that. Making it so exciting and keeping me to a place where life became worth living again. And all of that tied up into that. So that’s kind of the story behind Bubba Watson saving my life. It’s sort of a roundabout way. But yeah, I did almost die. And yeah, it was Bubba Watson in my watching him that kind of got me through it all. So golf is an amazing sport. Golf can if we learn it the right way. And if we do it the right way. It can be life-altering. It can be an experience that makes life worth living. More than that. It can be an experience. It can be an experience and an activity that makes life more worth living. Right. That makes life better when golf gets better.
So that’s what we’re all about here at Data Axis Golf so I appreciate you tuning in. I apologize for the emotion in the middle of that. I wasn’t expecting that it’s been. Geez. It’s been six years but it’s still a little raw. I guess more often I thought it was but thank you for listening. Until next time, please remember better data means better golf. Thanks.