Archive for August, 2015

HS Graduation night
In my blog post “Solitary Man…my introduction into show biz rejection” I discussed why my sister Judy and I went to different High Schools: “In the Fall of 1970 I was a Freshman at MacArthur High School in Decatur, IL! Because of my bad knees, I got special approval to attend MacArthur despite the fact that Arizona Drive was in the Stephen Decatur High School District! MacArthur was only 2 stories with a small elevator but SDHS was FOUR stories and no elevator!”
At the time in 1970, we had not even thought about the fact that Graduation night, four years later, might present a problem! My high school, MacArthur and Judy’s high school, Stephen Decatur, held graduation on the SAME NIGHT!!
So our family came up with a solution: Split the family up! Dad, our brother, Fred and his wife Cecelia would attend Judy’s ceremony and Mom, our sister Cheryl and her husband Rich would attend my ceremony.
Ironically, both Judy and I were among those students that sat up on the stage – not out on the basketball court floor of each gymnasium with the rest of our classmates. Judy had earned the honor by having such good grades as to make National Honor Society – all NHS students got to sit up on stage. Judy was #11 in her class!! We were so proud of her! She remembers being in the front row on stage and able to look directly across and see Dad, Fred and Celia up in the “nose bleed” section!
I was a “C” average student – yet I got to join MacArthur’s top students up on stage – of course because of music! Our Choir teacher, Ruth Helen Burlison, announced in choir there was one spot in the ceremony for a solo – I expressed my interest and told her I would audition for her. She was so nice and said I didn’t need to audition – that she just needed to know what song I had selected – but I insisted on auditioning. Maybe I wanted to end my high school experience with a successful audition as opposed to my freshman year fail? I chose John Denver’s, “Sunshine On My Shoulders”, which was popular at the time, to be the song I would sing. Another thing I enjoyed by being up on stage was getting to see all my friends receive their diplomas as they walked on by!
It was HOT that night – my sister Cheryl was 7 months pregnant with her first child and uncomfortable – I remember looking up and to the right seeing Mom, Cheryl and Rich a couple rows up in the upper section of bleachers!
Having that gown on I was really hot too! I played my 12 string guitar and about halfway through the song, one of the strings broke but I kept on going! Singing at graduation was one of my proudest moments yet when I have discussed this at class reunions over the years, no one seems to remember me singing! 🙂
The picture above of Judy and me with Mom and Dad might be confusing – MacArthur’s colors were Blue and White so one might think we graduated together. But, Judy’s school colors were RED and White. If you look closely, you can see Judy’s tassel is Red and White and mine is Blue and White! I wish I could have been there to see her big moment and I know she wishes she could have been to mine – she’s always been there cheering me on when I perform!!
Our family was a family of six distinctive personalities! Though we would go off separately exploring life’s possibilities, we would always rally together as one unit in good times and in times of trial! But that hot night in 1974, the Colvin family was split in two – a story very few in Decatur, Illinois were aware of, until now!
Dave
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From the time I was born in 1955 until the mid-1960’s I received Fresh Frozen Plasma to help stop my bleeding episodes. I generally received 2 bags at a time. At 250 ml per rational-use-of-blood-component-24-728bag that came to almost 17 fluid ounces – quite a lot of volume for a little feller! It was also a very cumbersome process. From the moment I would feel a “twinge” in my elbow, knee or ankle, Mom would call ahead to the Emergency Room so they could start the paper work. Once we arrived I was sent to the lab where they would stick my finger – it was necessary to cross match my blood type (A+) with the plasma. They also would wait until the blood sample would clot – which never made sense to me – that might take 45 minutes! The bags of plasma took 30 minutes to thaw. I would then be sent back to the ER to administer the plasma. Each bag took from 30 to 45 minutes to drip in – so I had to lay there for up to an hour and a half – again being so young it wasn’t easy to lie still for so long. But my sweet Mother would read me Superman and Legion of Super Heroes comic books while the plasma dripped to keep me occupied! While we waited for the plasma to thaw, she would often take me to the Card Shop and Snack Bar where she would buy me two brownies from local bakery, Van Zetti’s, a glass of milk and a couple of comic books!
They could never be certain how much clotting factor was in each bag of plasma which meant repeating the process the next day for a follow up treatment! Occasionally, it was necessary to go in the middle of the night and looking back I am so thankful for my family being so understanding!
My joints suffered so much damage in those early days due to the extreme amount of time involved and the lack of enough clotting factor getting in me quickly to stop the bleeding!

CryoCryoprecipitate – mid-1960’s
I remember being told a story of a nurse who worked in a hospital that had hemophilia patients. She happened to notice that as the plasma was slowly dripping in, she saw little white specks floating around in the bottom of the bag. Further analysis found these white specks to be the actual clotting factor that was needed – the rest of the plasma was not. So they came up with a process that spun the liquid down from 250ml to 15-20ml’s per bag. Also each bag contained 80-100 units of clotting factor! In my case I received 8 bags per episode. The process was significantly reduced in time and volume. It took only about 20 minutes to administer and only around 160ml of liquid!
It was around the mid-sixties I started to become interested in music – learning guitar and piano.
I started performing in public in the spring of 1968. I frequently would over use my elbows and need factor. But with the process improved, I’d get the Factor in me quicker resulting in less damage to my joints! I soon was accompanying the choir with my guitar and singing in school talent shows. By the time I reached High School, especially after I learned to drive, I told Mom I could go to the ER by myself! Looking back it was amazing how she always pulled it together to get me to the hospital for treatment! She also didn’t drive so Dad or my older sister Cheryl had to take us! I don’t ever remember hearing anyone complain about the inconvenience!
Factor VIII – Plasma basedAlphanate
Though concentrated Factor VIII was available from the mid-1970’s, I decided to stay with Cryo since the process was working so well, especially having set up a process in Normal, Illinois while I attended college at Illinois State University.
I had been given Factor VIII on different occasions on summer trips in 1974 and 1975. It seemed to work, but didn’t seem to me at the time to be as effective. Looking back it is very possible the ER nurses didn’t give me enough of the Factor.
I began using the concentrated product in May of 1978.
I still use the plasma based clotting factor to this day. There is an artificially created factor that is not from human plasma, but so far I’ve found it to not work as well for me. For others it seems to work well, and I keep trying new products but have returned to Alphanate. As clotting factors are created to work longer between doses, it is my hope to one day be able to use the newer brands.

The new process has changed my life DRAMATICALLY!
From the moment I feel a bleed coming on, I can prepare the factor and administer it in around 20 minutes! This photo shows what I now go through in receiving factor.                                                                                         Factor 8 I place a towel on the table to create a sterile field. A 50% dose – shown here is 1830 units – comes in one vial of white powder. It is mixed with a liquid diluent that blends clear. I place the blue end of the transfer device into the dliuent, turn it upside down and into the powder vial, the vacuum sucks the liquid into the powder and after 5 minutes is completely mixed.
Having removed the blue end of the transfer device, I draw the liquid up into a 20ml syringe. After tapping out air bubbles created in the transfer, I tighten the tourniquet around my forearm, clean the surface of my hand with an alcohol swab, then start the IV with a 23 gauge butterfly needle.
After slowly administering the factor via IV push, I discontinue the IV with some 2X2 gauze. Applying pressure for about 5 minutes, I then place a bandaid on the vein site. All in about 20 minutes!
The past few years I’ve given the Factor on a prophylaxis basis every other day! It has reduced normal bleeding episodes from weekly to just a few each year! Life changing!!

Today I turn 60 – SIXTY – years old!! When I was born in 1955 in Peoria, Illinois, the average life expectancy of someone with hemophilia was less than 20 years of age!! TWENTY!! Now I am 60!!!
While modern medical advancements were critical to my staying alive, so many people over the years – WAY too many to mention separately – helped to get me here! But there are some I need to mention!
Mom, Dad, sisters Judy and Cheryl and brother, Fred – my family! Without my family, 60 years of age does not happen!
Then there are all the nurses and the interns at Decatur Macon County Hospital up until 1978! From 1978 until his passing in 1987, Dr. Andrew E. Weiss – himself a hemophiliac – taught me so much.
When I was 10 yrs old The Creator of this universe placed my wife Debbie into my life – together we produced our amazing daughter, Meredith!! Now she and husband Rusty have blessed me with more incentive to take care of myself – our grandchildren, Austin Ann, 3 yrs old and Mason, 1!!
I’ve also been incredibly blessed with my lifelong friends always treating me “normal”-never letting me get to feeling sorry for myself! Back in high school and college, even when I would have a swollen elbow or knee, my buddies would come get me to go driving around! Or if I was unable to walk, one friend would come over to our house and we would play several games of chess! Getting me out of the house or keeping my mind occupied was instrumental in speeding up the healing process!
My music also played a role in keeping me going….but that is what the rest of this blog is all about!
So I approach my 61st year with gratitude, with thankfulness and hope!
I must be here for some reason! 
Love you all! Dave

daverainedout 2007

2007 RAINED OUT

2008 Sun in my Face

2008 Sun in my Face

2009 singing to tracks after getting over a broken elbow!

2009 singing to tracks after getting over a broken elbow!

2010 - favorite year

2010 – favorite year

From 2007-2011 I was blessed to have been invited to perform each year at the Decatur Celebration in Decatur, Illinois! As they get ready to head into the 30th year anniversary next weekend of the annual street festival, I think back fondly on the experience – even the first year I got rained out!
Regardless of the year, it literally takes a village (my family) to get me up on that stage! I sang on a relatively small stage set up for local performers that was called the Mini Place Stage, later changed to the Street Jam Stage. Between Debbie nervously making sure I didn’t fall and my son-in-law and brother-in-law helping me up and down the 4 stairs on the side of the stage, I could not have done it without my family! Each year friends I’ve known since childhood would take the time to come see and hear me sing – that has meant so much to me!
My song, “My Decatur My Hometown” had gotten some local press that initially brought about my invitation to perform. I had put together a CD of my original songs called “HOME” and our daughter, Meredith, ran the “Merch Table” selling that as well as t-shirts we had made up. 2009 Celebration merch table

2007 Rained Out!

2007 Rained Out!

Each year was special! In 2007 I was 5 minutes from getting on stage when the clouds opened up and it rained, heavily, for two hours!! Never made it to stage that year!

2008 Sun in my Face

2008 Sun in my Face

In 2008 the sun was in my face most of the time but I did get interviewed by the Herald & Review newspaper regarding the rained out year and my song about Decatur!

2009 singing to tracks after getting over a broken elbow!

2009 singing to tracks after getting over a broken elbow!

2009 I had just healed from a broken left elbow so I sang most of the songs to the music tracks recorded here in Nashville! I did play two songs on the guitar but didn’t feel I could play the whole show! 2009 ended special as well with my wife Debbie, my sister Judy, her husband Rich, my cousin Bryan and his son Tony joining me on stage as the Colvinnaires to sing “My Decatur My Hometown”!

2009 Colvinnaires

2009 Colvinnaires

2010 - favorite year

2010 – favorite year

My favorite year was 2010. They had moved the stage from in front of The Arts Council building to over by The Avon Theater. It seemed more wide open – folks could sit on the grass or at the couple of picnic tables. The stage had a little shade roofing it had not had before. The temperature was warm but not hot as it was the other years.

HOT 2011 final performance at the Celebration

HOT 2011 final performance at the Celebration

After barely getting through the extreme hot temps of 2011 and cutting my performance short by about 10 minutes, I felt it was probably time to call an end to performing. It was getting more difficult getting me up on stage and more difficult getting through a set that I use to be able to perform much longer and more easily!  My elbows were swelling more frequently adding to my decision.    2011 Dave and Debbie

So after a final local performance in Brentwood, TN. (another outdoors- in the heat situation) in August of 2011, I’ve not performed since save for a talent show appearance at our church!
I had surgery on my right elbow in 2012 and just had surgery on the left! Now that both elbows are fixed – maybe we can find some indoor venues where I can more easily share my music?
I will always, however, be grateful and thankful for my years playing at The Decatur Celebration and thankful to my family and friends for helping me do what I love doing!
I have the whole half hour show from my fave year of 2010 here from Youtube for you to watch if you like!
Filmed by Lewis Marien with a little help from his family! 🙂