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Osoyoos couple's vacation takes unexpected turn Bill Dean is a well known South Okanagan resident, due to his past involvement with on-the-air reports for local Channel 18, and organizations such as Community Living. He lived in Oliver previous to his present home in Osoyoos. Bill had been ‘missing’ from the public eye for some time, and this is his story about why that was. W hen Osoyoos resident Bill Dean and his wife Marjorie boarded a ship at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida just over a year ago, they expected to have a wonderful and relaxing 29-day cruise through the Panama Canal. It indeed started out that way for the retired couple, but partway into the cruise on October 18 it all changed. “I just started to feel tired and lethargic, and I’m not that kind of guy,” says Dean. “I’m 80-years-old, but I’m still not that kind of guy, you know.” Dean’s wife Marjorie expressed concern, and his lack of energy continued, so he went to the ship’s doctor, who told Dean that he had the viral infection that was going around on board. But it was not that. “I got worse. I got more tired, I got more lethargic. I could do everything normally, that’s the crazy part, except as soon as I lay down on a chair on the deck, I’d go to sleep, just like that.” The ship’s doctor was too busy to see Dean when he returned to him two days later, so the couple decided to wait out the cruise and see Dean’s own doctor back in Osoyoos. The couple had three plane flights ahead of them, with Dean not remem- bering much of the long trip back to It is a rare and life-threatening Osoyoos. “The amazing part about autoimmune blood disorder that most this whole story is that I was pretty people, and certainly the Deans, comatose from the time I got off the had never heard of. It strikes without ship,” he says. “How my wife got me warning, manifesting itself in a variety on three airplanes I’ll never know.” of ways, from fatigue to short-term The only reason he figures he was memory loss. It does not run in the allowed on the planes in his mysterifamily and is not due to something ous condition in the first place, was the person has or has not done in the because he was still able to carry on a course of their life. As Bill explains it conversation. simply, “What happens is you have When they finally got home, Dean’s platelets in your body and they’re condition did not improve. When little tiny things, they explode” and go he got up the first day after a good into little tiny fragments, only to block night’s sleep, he went to get the mail, every artery in your body. and promptly came home and sat on a chair and fell asleep again for two hours. Marjorie knew that there was something still seriously wrong with him. Especially after he woke up and said, “What time is dinner on 8506 92nd Avenue the ship?” 495-6416 Flabbergasted, Marjorie imRoyal Purple Elks meet on mediately phoned Dean’s local meet on the 1st the 2nd and 4th doctor, who said, “Get him to and 3rd Wednesday of the Oliver Hospital as fast as Wednesday of each month. you can.” There the couple each month. were told there was nothing they could do, and he was on Cribbage to Penticton Hospital by ambuevery lance. Monday “The only doctor, and I get very emotional when I do this, I almost cry,” says Dean, “the Bingo every only doctor who could diagFriday nose me happened to be on duty, the only one in the Okanagan... .” The diagnosis after a quick blood test? Thrombotic Interested? Thrombocytopenic Purpura Come join us! (T.T.P.). “He saved my life,” says Dean. Osoyoos Elks Lodge No. 436 OKANAGAN SUN • FEBRUARY 2012 • 7

Okanagan Sun FEB 2012

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