Bowling great Doug Dunham had just returned from a relaxing four-day vacation in Ohio where he hardly did anything — he and his wife, Jan, rented a log cabin, “In the middle of nowhere,” he said.
After a good night’s sleep, Dunham woke up at 3 a.m. to go to the restroom. When he returned to bed, Dunham — who has the appearance of a very fit 60-year-old — felt a little tightness high up on his chest and his left arm was somewhat numb, but the symptoms went away and he didn’t give them serious thought at the time.
When Dunham woke up at his normal 5:30 a.m. time, both he and his wife had to visit the restroom. Dunham told his wife that he would go to the downstairs’ bathroom.
Doug Dunham never made it out of the bedroom.
“I didn’t reach the bedroom door as I collapsed,” he said. “Jan got me up some of the way, but I went down again. I do not remember any of this at all. I came to on the floor while Jan was on the phone with 911. It was a miracle I didn’t hit any of my body parts on anything. Honestly, I really wasn’t concerned at the time. I thought it was just a weird thing.”
Dunham was totally mistaken.
Rushed to Meadville Medical Center via ambulance, a cardiologist took blood and did an EKG on Dunham and the EKG results came out perfect.
“He told me he wished everybody’s EKG looked this good. However, he also knew what happened just wasn’t right considering the shape I’m in. The blood work came back with an enzyme abnormality, so he elected to do a heart catheterization on me.”
He then got the shock of his life.
“When I came to, he told me that he has good news and bad news. I said go ahead, and he said that I have three blockages, two at 100 percent and the other at 98 percent. I said, ‘no way.’ But, he then said the good news is that my heart is really good and strong and that it made its own way around the blockages. He said if I wasn’t in the shape that I’m in, I would have died years ago. He also said one of the blockages has been there for years. I was shocked! … but luckily, I did not have a heart attack.”
Dunham was then transported to Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie. He then had to play the waiting game — four days! “It was really irritating me,” he said.
Finally, the surgery was scheduled: a Wednesday morning.
“I actually wasn’t very nervous surprisingly,” he said. “I just wanted it behind me. I knew what the surgery entailed because of my dad, who also had a triple by-pass and then a heart transplant at 50 and who died at my age (60) now. I just wanted it done.”
Dunham then relived his young hockey days.
“Prior to the surgery, I told the anesthesiologist that I was a hockey player in my youth. When he stopped in to see me after the surgery, he said, yes, you were a hockey player. Apparently, when he brought me to after the surgery, he said my fists were flying, a left, a right, another right, a left. He said it took four of them to restrain me. I said, ‘I didn’t hit anybody, did I?’ He said, no. I do not remember any of that happening at all.”
After two days in ICU, Dunham was given a room in the stepdown unit. “I couldn’t wait. They removed several items from me. I didn’t even know I had a pacemaker installed. They cut a couple stitches and took it out of me, three wires and a little box, yanked it right out of my upper stomach. That wasn’t very pleasant.”
Dunham then got up on his feet — for the first time in three days.
“I told them that I want to walk to the stepdown unit. So, they hooked up all my stuff to the IV tower, got me a walker and off I went. It was maybe 60 yards. When I got to the nurse’s station, the head male nurse said that he doesn’t see that very often and that he is glad to see when people walk over there. I told him that I want out of here as soon as possible.”
After a few more days at Saint Vincent’s, Dunham finally got the news he had been waiting for — home-bound. Twelve days felt like 20 for him.
On his first day home, Dunham gave his wife a major scare.
“Nature called, and when I got back to the bedroom, I felt myself going out. I fainted. The same dang place I passed out before. It’s definitely a bad spot. Jan wanted to call the doctor, but I told her that I just got up too fast. I got back into bed and have been fine since.”
Dunham’s next big day is Tuesday. “Hopefully, the doctor releases me,” he said. The 22-time, 300-game roller can’t wait to throw his rock down the alley.
“I really miss the camaraderie and the competition. I feel I will bowl well when I get back into shape, with blood flowing through my body like it hasn’t in years. Who knew? I’m looking forward to lacing them up again.”
Get checked out
When I heard the news of Dunham fainting and triple by-pass surgery was required, this fellow bowler was stunned.
Dunham has the image of a very healthy human being. We were fooled.
“This is what I learned … everyone needs to get serious about getting checked out regularly,” said Dunham. “I hadn’t been to the doctor in years. I didn’t think I needed to. I had no weird signs or signals to warn me of this condition.”
That was my motive for doing this feature on Dunham — EVERYONE needs to go to the doctor regularly.
McGranahan geared up
The Greenville punisher is pounding the Plaza Lanes’ pins again.
After making a major splash in his first season in the Commercial League last year with a league-high 227 average, Greenville native McGranahan has picked up where he left off.
The pin-crushing, right-hander opened the 2019-20 season with games of 265, 247 and 238 for a 750.
Guess who has brought his sharp-shooting skills to Meadville? Broc Baker, the Lin Vin Lanes in Titusville smasher and former Maplewood High School football standout.
Bowling in the Commercial League, too, Baker — who will go head-to-head against anyone — also had a strong opening night with games of 248, 226 and 249 for a 723.
Besides Troy Johnson and Don Granda Jr. (please see sidebar), there were five other 700’s thrown at Lakeside Lanes: Rodrick Baird (738 in Stewart’s Classic League), Steve Swezey (718 in Wednesday Nighters League), Dan Francis (709 in Wednesday Nighters League), Glenn Dillon (707 in Wednesday Nighters League) and Brian “Mr. 300” Williams (707 in Wednesday Nighters League. Williams tossed his first career 300 game two weeks ago and was last week’s column headliner.
Benak blasts ‘em
Barb Benak is like fine wine — she gets better with age.
Competing in the Sunday Mixed League at Cochranton Lanes, the left-handed Benak was in the strike mode, throwing games of 232, 205 and 165 for a 602 series.
Maybe you can give your scotch doubles partner some lessons, Barb. Gotcha, Larry.
Great set, Barb!
Archacki, Garvey shine
The young gun action at Lakeside Lanes is going to be fierce this season.
For the second consecutive week, Nick Archacki and Brookelyn Garvey — Cat’s Bowlers of the Year in 2018-19 and 2017-18, respectively — were in an intense battle for top scoring honors.
Garvey prevailed in week one with a 668; Archacki took home the bragging rights in week two. Throwing games of 224 and 245, Archacki fired a 638, while Garvey rolled games of 183, 223 and 215 for a 621.
Thinking of Reagle, Kanline families
This columnist wants to send his condolences to former women’s bowling standout Donna Reagle and the Kanline family (Rick, Brenda and son Ricky).
On Sunday, Donnie Reagle — Donna Reagle’s son and Brenda Kanline’s brother — died unexpectedly. He was only 51.
Donnie Reagle, who had a charismatic personality, had a stellar youth bowling career at Plaza Lanes in the early 1980s.