Golf Course Management

SEP 2018

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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Page 45 of 101

42 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 09.18 resident rehabilitation center, learning to walk and talk again. She returned home, but the lives of Gloria, Jason, their children and extended family were forever changed. "I praise God for her ability to walk now — and talk and exercise," Jason says. "But she still has seizures. She had one today, and I talked her through it over the phone. I've carved out a soft spot in my heart for people with this sort of condition. It's debilitating. She can't drive, can't walk sometimes. "I didn't work for 90 days that winter. e first day I went back to work was the first day she went into rehab. e owners at Stow were the best. ey said at the beginning that it was all about family, and they backed that up. ey paid me the whole time." But the Jason VanBuskirk who eventu - ally returned to the Stow maintenance com- plex was a different guy. He was more re- ligious, for starters. He was no longer that superintendent who went in on Sunday nights. Most of his life priorities had utterly changed. "At that point, I was fictitiously living this life as a superintendent," VanBuskirk saus. "My wife was healing, but at a level where she needed me — a lot. ere were a lot of work days I just missed. I remember the next 18 months as a difficult time. Glo - ria was improving, but I just couldn't devote the time to my job that I once had. "(Stow Acres owner) Walt Lankau and most often caused by epilepsy but can some - times be triggered by other health problems. en Gloria had another seizure, and doctors rushed her to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. "I wouldn't talk to her again for 2½ months," her husband recalls. e doctors at Beth Israel were baffled by her symptoms at first. ey monitored her closely for two days before putting Glo - ria in an induced coma to stop the seizures. Her diagnosis was delayed, but ultimately she was diagnosed with viral encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain tissue caused by viral infections. Even those who recover from viral encephalitis can suffer irreversible damage to brain function. For some, the re - sult is a vegetative state. Still in her coma, Gloria fought off pneu - monia four times. "Infection after infec- tion," Jason says. "I was there every day. I blogged about everything, so she could re - member who we were, who she was, what she'd gone through. We had such amaz - ing support, from friends, family, guys in the industry, on email and Twitter, dona - tions coming in. … But there was no get- ting around the reality, either. It was gut- wrenching." Gloria was coaxed from her coma after 10 weeks. ere was damage, but doctors were confident she could re-learn the func - tions she'd lost. She spent two months at a Family has always been VanBuskirk's top priority. And in 2013, when his wife, Gloria, contracted viral encephalitis, he was left pondering how to balance life at home and his work on the golf course. Also in these photos are VanBuskirk's children, Bennett and Emma, and the family's dog, Kingston. Top left: Photo by Rick Bern; right and bottom: Photos courtesy of Jason VanBuskirk

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