This is in remembrance of my uncle David Perry. I have 4 uncles and I was always the closest with “uncle Dave.” I know now years later after his death why we were so connected. I (face 268) was not diagnosed until after his death of a massive heart attack. He was only in his early 50s. I remember family speaking of his symptoms starting in his early 20s. He had an accident in a factory he was working in and hurt his neck. He may have broken it but I can’t definitely say that is true for certain. However I do know it was injured and that’s when it all seemed to start. He was in agony through most of my memories of him as a child. None of the doctors knew what was going on with him. I remember my aunt (her husband) telling me after my diagnosis that there were times he would come home and would be so stiff that she would have to move his legs and get him out of the car. So many times we couldn’t even touch him anywhere because of his pain. He never stopped going for fear he would not be able to get going again. He would sleep on the couch and have 6 to 7 couch pillows to support his body. He went thru countless hip and shoulder replacements, tremendous pain and medical issues our family would call spells. These spells consisted of him turning very pale and then passing out. Ambulance would always be called as I child I don’t know what the paramedics done for him to wake him from these spells but they were bet scary. They went to doctor after doctor, specialist after specialists with no luck. No one had a clue. After he was fused out from head to toe, his countless surgeries he finally received the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. At that point there was nothing they could do for him but try to keep him out of the devastating pain. He was on so many pain medications and they told him that if they would have caught it sooner they could have helped him. They say the pain stops after fusion but according to the way he was this wasn’t true for him. I wish everyday that he was still here because I have so many questions for him and would tell him I understand. His body suffered one of the most severe cases. His left leg became shorter than the right one and I’m not sure how much height he lost. He is my hero because he endured so much and I never recall hearing him complain. He had been with his wife since they were teenagers or maybe even younger than that. She was there for him thru it all and I know at times it was difficult as he would become quite harsh with her. But I think we all get in those places because the pain gets us to a place of anger, no escape, no answers….just pain. Through the years it mangled, twisted and tortured his body. Without the support of his wife I don’t think he would have made it as long as he did. I can remember on all mothers days, christmases or any holiday that was gift giving along with birthdays it was so important to buy such beautiful gifts for his mother and wife. Beautiful water fountains, wooden clocks or anything that held a special place in their heart. He had the biggest heart even thru his that I know now was due to pain. My uncle was my hero and I’m so regretful that I didn’t realize it til after his death. If I could just have one last conversation with him. I love you Dave and you are so missed by your loved ones. Til that day we meet again….
In loving memory of David Perry
Tennessee, United States of America