One of our Washington Butterfly Association founding members has been dealing with health issues since around June 20. It is David Nunnallee. Some of you may have heard about it; some have not. Thankfully, David is now at home and seems to be recuperating successfully.

Jo and David Nunnallee at LepSoc 2010

If you would like to snail mail a note or card to him, his address is:
2820 196th Ave SE
Sammamish, WA 99233

For email messages, his address is:

Here is the email that Dave sent out yesterday afternoon, July 27.

Hi All,

Thanks so much for all of your messages, phone calls & well-wishes. I am back home as of a few hours ago, the first time I have seen home for nearly 6 weeks. Cannot express how good it is to be separated from institutional food, medications, needle pricks, box-checkers, boredom and rule enforcers. They were actually good, should not complain, but so glad to be home.

One of the most difficult things was being completely out-of-touch with everyone. Jo visited faithfully and was bringing in cards & emails, but I had no way to respond. No computer, and phone useless for the present until my voice begins to restore (vocal cords damaged during the surgery).

The heart problem was completely out of the blue; Jo took me in to Swedish-Issaquah back on June 20, with some heart pain and before I knew it the ER had called 911 and everyone trooped down to Seattle-Cherry Hill to the big cardiac center; a surgeon & team met us in the parking area and everyone (nearly 20 people by now!) marched us into the OR, and that’s when my lights went out. When I woke I was wandering in a rocky desert, wondering where I was and where I was going. A day or so later reality started returning, together with pain, and they were pumping narcotics into me; I was watching bugs & light shows on the ceiling. They kept me at Cherry Hill for a week before transferring me to a rehab-recovery center near our home in Sammamish.

The problem was not a heart attack, rather my aorta (big outlet portion of heart) had begun dissecting, splitting lengthwise. Most people who have this condition ride home from the hospital in a long, black car, but a quick diagnosis in Issaquah and a good surgeon at Cherry Hill managed to patch me up. A couple of weeks later I had to return to Cherry Hill for a second operation to remove fluid collecting around my heart, then back to rehab center again, and there I have been until today.

Again, thanks so much for your cards, calls and emails; while my response was forced silence they were all very encouraging while I was stuck in the hospital and rehab center. It will be months before I can hope for full recovery, but I’m on my way now. While phone calls are welcome please know that my voice is still very weak and may be hard to understand on the phone.


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