Saturday, August 20, 2016

In Memoria -- Larry Clark

We attended the memorial service for Larry Clark this afternoon at the Fairmont Park Church at 10401 Bellfast Rd. at Farrington St.  Robert Poye conducted the service for Larry. Larry and Robert were church and golfing buddies and had been friends for over twenty years. Each had agreed to preside over the service for the other depending on who passed on first. A slide show with pictures of Larry was on display as the church filled.

Larry was losing weight and felt weak in mid-2014. He went to the doctor a few times about the weakness and tiredness, but they did not do a blood test.  It finally got to the point that he did not feel like playing golf. In November 2014 his family doctor did a blood test and referred Larry to an oncologist. He scheduled an appointment for two weeks later.

Larry’s friend Ray Morrison and his wife Tina came to visit Larry. Tina is a nurse and she advised Larry not to wait for the doctor’s appointment, but to check in at Methodist Hospital Emergency Room. Larry’s wife, Andrea, my wife Kathi and I took Larry to Methodist the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2014. He was admitted to the hospital under the care of Dr. Baker. The first thing the doctor asked was if Larry had worked at one of the refineries. He had. Larry worked at Arco refinery for a few years about 20 years previously. The doctor told him he would have bled out internally in a week, if he had not come to the hospital.

Important information for everyone and especially refinery workers. If you suffer from rapid weight loss and a feeling of weakness, see your doctor and get a blood test.

They immediately started preparing Larry for chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Before that could happen, we had to build his weight back up. Andrea and Kathi began feeding Larry a high protein diet and a lot of Boost supplements. After chemotherapy Larry had a strict medication regimen and again needed a high protein and calorie diet to build up his weight before the bone marrow transplant. Andrea or Kathi and I took Larry to the hospital 2-3 days per week for blood tests and sometimes infusion of blood and platelets to keep him going until he was strong enough for the transplant.

He finally got the transplant in June of 2015. More medication and continued high-protein diet seemed to have him improving. He took steroids, anti-rejection drugs, vitamins, and other medications several times per day.

While his immune system was weakened he had two urinary tract infections, pneumonia, a stomach infection, three MRSA infections and blood clots in the legs. They also removed his pacemaker, thinking it may be the source of the MRSA infections. In the end, too many infections and too much time in bed and his organs began failing. We all still had hope for recovery until the last week of his life, but it finally became apparent he was too tired and weak to continue.

It was a real privilege for me to get to spend so much time with Larry near the end of his life. It was a blessing and a pleasure for me. Watching Andrea’s endless love and complete devotion to Larry was an inspiration. We have been family a lot of years, but Kathi and I spending the last two years with Larry and Andrea created a lasting bond.

Below are pictures from the meal the church provided after the memorial service.











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