RUSH: Boy, am I glad to be back — and, folks, have you noticed what happened my first day back? How many Democrats have now quit? How many Democrats? Five or six! Five or six have said, “No mas! No mas!” and there will be more, and we’ll talk about that as the program unfolds today. Great to have you with us. Here’s the telephone number: 800-282-2882. It has not changed. The e-mail address: ElRushbo@eibnet.com. I really am glad to be back. I want to tell you what happened out in Hawaii, and it’s amazing, too. I had this little press conference out there before I was released from the hospital and I made one statement, “There’s nothing wrong with the American health care system,” and the whole State-Controlled Media had a cow — “That’s a personal attack on Obama!” — when I said the whole health care system worked, and then the Drive-Bys turned around and started saying, “Wait a minute, now. Wait just a minute! Limbaugh got caught here because Hawaii has the most progressive health care system in the country,” meaning it’s very liberal and so forth, “and so Limbaugh has inadvertently endorsed Obamacare” and so forth.
So let me explain what happened and what I meant by the comment. Now, before I left for two weeks prior to leaving for vacation, I had to do this program standing up — I think this is a relevant factor — because of this really troublesome pinched nerve or whatever it is, herniated disk. I don’t know what it is. All I know is, C5 or C6 and it causes almost intolerable pain in my right shoulder, neck, and all the way down my right arm; and sitting down made it worse. So I had to do the program standing up. For those two weeks I was on oral prednisone or methylprednisolone which is an anti-inflammatory steroid. It’s a great drug but it’s also a horrible drug. It turns off the appetite-control center. The side effects to it are immense and they differ from person to person. But it was the only thing that shrunk whatever the inflammation is that then got rid of the pain. It’s a six-day course and each dose is a lesser dose than the day before.
As I got down to day three and then day two with the doses being smaller, the pain started coming back. So I went back on another oral dose, which you don’t want to be on this stuff long. I was on it for two months when I lost my hearing. They threw everything at my hearing loss trying to save it, and gained 40 pounds in two months. I just had no… I never, ever felt full and I didn’t want to stay on this stuff that long again for that reason because I’d just successfully lost 85 pounds and I vowed I wasn’t going to put any of it back on. I don’t mean to complain here, folks, but it was agonizing. This whole pinched nerve was literally agonizing. I was sitting here doing this radio program with my right arm over my head like this. If you’re watching on the Dittocam you can now see it. It was just ungodly. So we go over to Hawaii, and we left on Christmas night. We went to Minneapolis, and then Cape Girardeau and on Christmas night we arrived in Hawaii, and the next day, Saturday. The shoulder was just excruciating.
So called the doctor back here and asked, “Can you find somebody…?” The next step was to get a spinal epidural shot in the actual nerve rather than go back to the oral prednisone, methylprednisolone. So I was gonna do that when we got back from Hawaii. And on Saturday it was just (long sigh). You know, I’d run outta methylprednisolone. It was agony. So I called the doctor here, “Can you find somebody out here to give me the spinal epidural? I can’t wait ’til I get back.” So we found somebody, a great doctor, who came to the hotel on Sunday to evaluate me. I filled out all the forms and couldn’t do this until Tuesday, which was week ago yesterday. So went into the hospital, Queen’s Hospital, same one I went to when you found out I was there at the same-day surgery department. And I had the spinal epidural at about eight o’clock in the morning and then flew over to Kona to play golf with some buddies immediately after that and had no reaction to it whatsoever.
The pain… You know, it takes a couple, three days for the steroid shot to take effect. It was the next day… We got back from Kona that night, did not spend the night. On Wednesday got up, went to lunch with Kathryn and her parents down at the hotel at the Kahala. Everybody down there was fantastic, and I guess it was about one o’clock or 1:15 we went back up to our room and Kathryn and her mother went down to get their nails done at the spa. I’m sitting up in the room just waiting for her to come back because we were going to do some other things, and I started getting real sleepy. I started yawning like crazy and I started getting really thirsty and I poured a couple of glasses of water and sat down and started, for the first time, to read a local paper. And I started reading about the Friday furlough problem with teachers that they’re having in Hawaii. And all of a sudden — well, wasn’t all of a sudden. There was a slow build.
And I’ve often wondered what a heart attack felt like. I figured you wanted to be prepared for it. And I’d never felt that and you hear people talk about chest pains all the time, you start thinking these things when your weight fluctuates and you’re 59 years old, which I will be shortly. So this pain started building in my left armpit and left shoulder and left side of the center of my chest. And it just kept building, and it was unlike any pain I had ever felt before. This was not indigestion, even though I went and grabbed a couple of Tums just to see if it was indigestion but it wasn’t that. At least the Tums didn’t have any affect on it. After about ten minutes of this, it just kept getting worse and worse, and I was running around looking for an aspirin. We didn’t have any aspirin, but I’ve always heard, “Take an aspirin.” I couldn’t find any. So, finally… I never use the phone. I hate the telephone because of my hearing. It’s impossible for me to talk to people on cell phone, so I usually text people. So I texted Kathryn and I said, “I’m having these incredible chest pains.”
I did not get a response. I said, “No wonder. She’s getting her nails done. The phone’s in her purse.” So I called, and she, thankfully, answered the phone. I said, “Look, I think I’m having a heart attack. I’ve got chest pains like I’ve never had before,” and she hung up, and I started just still walking around the room trying to assume a position to get rid of the pain thinking it might be a muscle pull or a cramp or whatever. Then the door burst open and it was what I thought was a medical team, Kathryn and her mother and data. It was the hotel security guy who was an expert in this. He made me lie down and they gave me an aspirin, and the pain was just intense. I can’t describe the pain. It was as painful as the shoulder has been but an entirely different kind of pain because you know (or you think) that it’s the heart and then that adds even more stress to what’s going on. I never came close to losing consciousness or any of that, and my life did not flash before me. I didn’t think I was going to die, but I did think this was the big one. I didn’t have what people who think they’re going to die have, that everything in your life flashes before you. I didn’t have any of that. So they laid me down and gave me an aspirin under my tongue, and as soon as the aspirin started to dissolve the pain started to go away. So I breathed a huge sigh of relief. They called the EMT guys and they were on their way.
They put an oxygen mask on my face and they said, “Keep breathing through it, just keep breathing. Slow, breathe slowly.” So I did all that and then all of a sudden, still laying down, the pain came roaring back, worse than ever, and they had to sort of pin me down to keep me from writhing around on the floor. And everybody was calm as they could be, at least in my vision, what I could see. Then the EMT guys finally arrived and they hooked me up, EKG, started doing a bunch of tests. They told me to stick my tongue out and they sprayed some nitroglycerin under my tongue, and then they took me down to the ambulance. The ambulance went roaring off, sirens blaring, and it was on the way to the hospital that the nitroglycerin worked because by the time I got to the hospital the pain was totally gone and I felt a hundred percent normal. And it was then that extensive testing began, chest X-ray, blood, they wanted to see if my enzymes in the heart were elevated which would indicate a heart attack. I had to do that for 18 hours. Doctors came in and out. Nurses came in and out. I was stunned. I’m in Hawaii and I was stunned. The nurses, the doctors were all huge fans. I’m saying that because I want to be nice to these people but that had nothing to do with the treatment I got. I’ll get into that in just a second.
It’s interesting. I’m getting all kinds of advice. “Rush, you need to tell ’em what it cost. You need to tell everybody what you paid for this,” and others say, “No, no, no, you don’t want to do that,” that’s not relevant and so forth. But it may be in the end, the point that I want to end up making about this, especially since the Drive-Bys are ripping me and thinking that I made a political comment about this simply by saying that the American health care system is the best health care system in the world. So the doctor came in, Dr. Wallach, and he said, “There’s a reasonable probability that nothing happened here and there’s a reasonable probability that something did.” And he said, “What we’re going to end up doing is giving you an angiogram,” which is a cardiac catheter approach. I’m sure you know what it is, they insert a camera in your artery and feed it up to the heart and take a picture, shoot dye and examine the arteries to see if there’s any blockage and so forth. They did that on New Year’s Eve and it came back totally clear. Zilch, zero, nada blockage. There was no heart disease, nothing, zilch.
The doctors were all stunned, my cholesterol, both cholesterols, normal, which has always been the case. I’ve had to get insurance physicals all my life. Regardless of my weight my cholesterol has always been normal, which is one of the reasons I believe that the health circumstances of individuals are in part genetic. They couldn’t believe that my cholesterol was normal, it’s not supposed to be, the textbooks say my cholesterol is supposed to be off the charts, it was normal. The blood pressure was a little elevated because of the pain of the shoulder. Pain causes the blood pressure to go up. The blood pressure was on the high side of normal when they brought me in. Blood sugar was normal. Total picture of health. They’re scratching their heads and they’re happy about it but at the same time they’re a little puzzled. And they said, “Wednesday afternoon we’re going to discharge you,” and I said, “Oh, no, no, I’m not leaving here.” I was ready to go but Kathryn said, “You stay here tonight, there’s no reason, we can miss New Year’s Eve, we’ll watch the ball on TV from the hospital.” Whoop-de-doo. So we stayed and they clearly said, “Fine if you want to stay another night, but we’ve gotta keep you hooked up to all the monitors.” “That’s fine, that’s good. I want you to do that.”
So then we checked out the next day and had the press conference at about 11:15, innocent little press conference, no questions, and all of a sudden I have made a personal attack against Obama and the American health care system. And it’s been funny here to watch and listen to the State-Controlled Media go through its contortions to try to first say I took a swipe and now say I got tricked into supporting Obamacare because I praised the health care system in Hawaii. And I just want to tell you, what happened to me, the health care system in Hawaii has no resemblance, zilch, zero, nada to Obamacare. There wasn’t one bureaucrat between me and the doctors. There wasn’t one insurance company. It was me dealing directly with the doctors, me and my checkbook. So I was willing to pay for it. We’ve gotten to a point in this country where a lot of people, particularly Obama voters, think somebody else should pay for it, it’s some sort of right, there’s something almost religious or magical that health care is something that ought not cost anybody anything. Everything else in life costs, but health care ought not to. And because of that, there’s no relationship between the customer’s ability to afford things, patient, and the people that provide the service.
You’ve got middlemen, you’ve got bureaucrats in the state government, the federal government, and you got insurance companies. I’ll just tell you, whether I tell you what this cost or not, I will tell you this. It was 35% less than it would have been had I had insurance. Thirty-five percent less. (interruption) No. I did not confuse them by paying for it. This bunch was totally prepared for that. I’m being asked that question because I have confounded doctors in the past by saying, “Okay, I want to pay for this,” and they’re not set up for that. They did ask, “Okay, what’s your insurance company?” This is in the emergency room, by the way. We’re going through all the registration and they want my insurance. “I’m paying cash.” “Oh. Oh, okay. Fine.” So that got rid of all the bureaucracy. There was no bureaucracy here. There was zilch, zero, nada. Now, I’m prepared for people to say, and the Drive-Bys are saying, “Yeah, but when you make the kind of money Limbaugh makes of course you can pay for it.” Why is that my fault? One of my objectives in life was to earn enough money to be able to totally provide for myself without having to depend on anybody else. And I’ve done that. It was an objective. It was a goal.
I was able to do it largely because I’m an American and I live in the United States of America. I was able to do it, there’s opportunity, there’s freedom, all kinds of freedom and opportunity here that doesn’t exist in most places around the world. And yet because I’ve done this somehow I am an exception, I do not know what real Americans go through, but I do. I’ve been broke a couple times. I’ve been in circumstances where I could not have paid for this before, but I decided I didn’t want to be in that circumstance. And my only point in telling you this is there was absolutely nothing in common with what’s coming our way in health care. You know what I wanted to say at the press conference? I wanted to say, and I decided to pull back on this because most people were interested in my health, I wanted to say, “I’m just glad this happened before 2013 and Obama’s health care went into effect ’cause I might not have survived it. There might have been somebody who said, ‘You know what, we’re not going to pay for Limbaugh to get treated here.'” And, remember, Obamacare requires you to have insurance or you get fined. And I don’t have insurance, and I will get fined and go to jail before I buy it.
RUSH: So even as we speak today, the medical community at Queen’s Hospital in Honolulu have no clue what happened, and there’s no guarantee it won’t happen again. It could have been related to the spinal epidural I had the day before and then went out and played golf. Now, I’ve had spinal epidurals before, but I never went out and played golf after them. But I’ve never had this kind of chest pain, either. They said it could have been an arterial spasm that we didn’t catch. Who knows? So the point is that I was extremely lucky, and I also found out that — at least as of the tests that were taken last week — my health is in actually pretty good shape. In many ways, it’s in excellent shape, according to the markers that we in society use to measure health. You shoulda seen it. The hospital people kept coming to us saying, “We don’t know what to do with all these flowers.” People were sending in — all of you were sending in — bouquets of flowers and cards for the two days we were in the hospital.
So we gave them to other inmates of the hospital but I’ll tell you: The nurses, the doctors — Dr. Joanna Magno did the angiogram, Dr. Wallach was the lead cardiologist — everybody was just superb. They were entirely professional, competent, calming, and inspiring in the way they went about their work. And everybody at the hotel, when I made that distress call, snapped to. Things aligned perfectly. Imagine if Kathryn hadn’t been in the hotel, if she’d gone to some spa somewhere to get her nails down. Imagine… Who knows? Everything just aligned perfectly that needed to be in order for me to get treated as quickly as humanly possible. Thanks to all of you again for all of the e-mails and the flowers and cards. It’s great to be back, I can’t tell you how much, and when we doing it back I’m going to play some of the media sound bites related to this and have a little fun with that. Then we’ll move on.