Monday, March 08, 2021

Bob Dunn: Smiling in the face of adversity

Staff Reporter | February 18, 2021 11:26 AM

KELLOGG — Bob Dunn was a lot of things.

A loving husband, a caring father, his grandchildren’s best friend, an adventurous spirit if there ever was one.

His demeanor was such that without intimate knowledge, no one would know the pain and suffering that came with his extensive list of medical issues.

Dunn spent his days working as a logger and truck driver, which only fueled his three-and-a-half pack a day smoking habit, these things led to high blood pressure, diabetes and culminated in his first (of seven) stroke at age 44.

He also underwent his first quadruple bypass surgery at age 44 (followed by second quadruple bypass in 2005 at age 55).

It was at this point that he and his wife, Irma, decided to make some lifestyle changes.

Along with the aforementioned high blood pressure and diabetes, Dunn suffered from brittle bone disease which led to countless surgeries to repair and replace several broken bones throughout his life, as well as various kidney issues that required multiple forms of dialysis treatments to manage.

Unfortunately, in 2018, Dunn died from renal failure at age 68, but his memory lives on in Irma, as well as the folks at Shoshone Medical Center who helped him find ways to extend his time despite having the cards stacked against him.

“He was a very determined man,” Irma remembered fondly, “but he had a great sense of humor.”

Both Irma and Amber Melun, the former director of SMC’s Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Center spoke of his ability to bring smiles to the faces of those around him, whether it was ribbing the nurses working with him, or finding ways to take breaks to visit during his exercises, he found a way to maintain a positive outlook up until the end of his life.”

Prior to the opening of SMC’s rehabilitation wing, Irma would accompany her husband on trips to Post Falls, which had the closest cardiac rehab center to the Silver Valley, but once SMC opened their rehabilitation center in 2017, they were able to stay local.

At that same time, SMC expanded their facilities for not only cardiac rehabilitation, but also cardiac testing and monitoring, endoscopy, pulmonary rehabilitation, respiratory therapy and wound care.

“He came every day that he was supposed to,” Melun said. “I always looked forward to Bob coming in.”

Irma’s gratitude for SMC’s expanded facilities is easy to understand as it made the final part of Bob’s time easier for both of them while also allowing them to remain close to their home.

With six children, 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, being available to and for their families was a big deal.

“It was just so nice to have this here locally,” Irma said. “It made it easy. Bob was a stubborn man and if he didn’t want to do something he didn’t, but the people here were so personable and it made him want to come in.”

Irma herself has utilized the hospital’s pulmonary rehabilitation program and recommends it to anyone who may be in need of those types of services.

“You couldn’t find a better bunch of people,” Irma said. “If I had to come back and do it again, I definitely would.”

Irma hopes that her husband’s life and for that matter, his death will help people find value in their own health too.

“It is just so important to keep up on your health,” Irma said. “Get out, exercise, and for goodness sake — quit smoking.”

February is National Heart Month, which began in 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson, who was among the millions of people in the country who'd had heart attacks, issued the first proclamation.

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death among Americans.