Civil War Re-Enactor Faced Battle Of His Life And Won

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Retired Chickamauga City Manager and Civil War re-enactor John Culpepper faced what could have been the battle of his life and won, thanks to the urging of his wife and paramedics. After shrugging off a day of symptoms that included a racing heart and other ill feelings that were consistent with side effects of a steroid treatment used to treat his sinus problems, Mr. Culpepper, a member of the Hutcheson Medical Center board of directors, decided to seek treatment in the hospital’s emergency department in a move that may have saved his life. Now, he’s telling his story so that others may learn from his experience.

After experiencing a full day of unusual sensations in his chest that eventually escalated to severe chest pain radiating into his jaw and teeth while he was doing yard work, Mr. Culpepper and his wife decided to contact paramedics. To their relief, emergency responders found that his heart sounded normal, his blood pressure was good and an EKG did not detect any problems. Still, they urged him to proceed to Hutcheson for further testing. While Mr. Culpepper believed the sensations in his chest to be related to allergies, he decided to go to the emergency room only because he had a board meeting to attend at the hospital. He drove himself to Hutcheson Medical Center, where testing began immediately upon arrival and detected an elevated enzyme in his blood, indicating an immediate heart problem.

Dr. Ezad Ahmad, a physician who covers cardiology call at Hutcheson, conducted a diagnostic catheterization that detected a 90 percent blockage in an artery leading to Mr. Culpepper’s heart – a condition with life-threatening consequences. Mr. Culpepper was subsequently transferred by ambulance to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, a hospital that performs interventional caths, and received a stent within ten minutes of arrival.

“If it were not for the paramedics urging and the Hutcheson board meeting, I would not have sought additional medical care and would have suffered a massive heart attack,” said Culpepper, who is admittedly stubborn. After all, he had a complete blood work-up with his regular physician just three weeks before that did not indicate a problem, and he was scheduled to receive a distinguished service award for “Outstanding Community Service for Walker County” from the Fort Oglethorpe Kiwanis Club the following day.

“Mr. Culpepper’s decision to follow his instincts and the advice of medical professionals at home and at Hutcheson allowed us to treat a previously undetected condition,” said Dr. Ahmad. “Now that he’s won this battle, he’s ready to take on a few more. This time, though, they can be as a re-enactor.” 

Since his retirement, Mr. Culpepper focuses his time in serving as chairman of the Georgia Civil War Commission and continuing his involvement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Mr. Culpepper was able to play a significant role in commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga last year, which included more than 10,000 re-enactors.


Latest Census Bureau Population Estimates Indicate Aging Across Tennessee

According to numbers released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, Tennessee's 2015 median age is 38.6 years, slightly older than the U.S. median age, which rose from 37.7 in 2014 to 37.8 in 2015.  The data release includes national, state and county population estimates for 2015 by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin.  A partner to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tennessee ... (click for more)

Alexander Says Congress Needs To Pass 21st Century Cures Now

Senate health chairman Lamar Alexander on Thursday said the miraculous eyesight recovery of Tennessean Doug Oliver underscores the need for passage of 21st Century Cures to “unleash medical innovation and give more Americans access to life-changing treatments and life-saving cures, like Doug did.”  Senator Alexander made his remarks at a Bipartisan Policy Center event alongside ... (click for more)

Darrel Eric Chapman, 49, Dies In Red Bank Home Destroyed By Fire; Case Ruled Arson/Suicide

Darrel Eric Chapman, 49,  died in a house fire in Red Bank early Friday morning after the homeowner said he was awakened by popping sounds. Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol said the case is being considered an arson/suicide. He said, " At approximately 12:30 a.m., the Red Bank Fire and Police departments responded to a residential fire at 604 Bitsy Lane where they discovered ... (click for more)

Attorney Gets Misdemeanor Plea In 2nd Case Involving Sexually Harassing Waitress

A Chattanooga attorney who was charged for the second time with sexually harassing a waitress has pleaded guilty in General Sessions Court to a reduced charge. In the latest case, Charles D. Lawson had been charged with aggravated sexual battery after an incident at a local restaurant involving a waitress. Prosecutor Jason Demastus said Lawson pleaded guilty to the B misdemeanor ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tipping The Preacher

I got an unusual telephone call the other day from someone I love who asked my help in solving one of life’s delicate mysteries. It is a tough question: “How do you tip a preacher?” In the first place, you never tip a preacher. It’s the preacher who gives out the tips, helping to keep you on the straight-and-narrow in your quest to waltz through the Pearly Gates. But there are ... (click for more)