A Beloved Contributor Now on the Mend

After a dicey and lengthy surgery, a favorite RACmonitor contributor is recovering – and documenting it all on a website of his own design.

The last time we left Frank Cohen, he was fearlessly contemplating his imminent surgery: a marathon procedure that physicians had forewarned him could last between eight and 12 hours. The good news to report on this Saturday is that he is alive and well, having been discharged from his hospital bed in Tampa, Fla.

No doubt, many of you reading this piece from the comfort of your home today, nestled in front of your computer or laptop, could be excused if you momentarily take for granted the same things Frank Cohen appreciated on the day of his recent release.

“There are things that I take for granted, such as being outside in the sunshine, the fresh air, and not having to wear a mask every time I get up,” Cohen wrote in a posting to his custom-built website.

More on Cohen’s documented recovery soon, but here, once again, is the backstory.

As you might recall from our last writing about him, Cohen, back in the 1970s, was involved in a military effort by the United States under the late president Richard Nixon’s “war on drugs,” a 50-year battle to stop the flow of illegal drugs coming into the U.S. At the time, Frank was part of a rescue mission, caring for a teammate who had been injured in an accident somewhere in Central America.

So, there was Frank, in the middle of the action. In a helicopter flying low over the ocean, he was jarred out, only to fall into the water and sustain a number of injuries, including severe damage to his spinal column – a later source of multiple surgeries, chronic pain, and the reason for his latest surgery. One of those earlier surgeries saw doctors inserting significant amounts of metal – cervical plates, spacers, pins, rods, and screws – all implanted to provide his neck stability.

Recently, as reported here, Frank had experienced difficulty in swallowing. And upon medical examination, the doctors discovered that one of the screws holding the hardware together in his neck had broken loose and perforated his esophagus. His recent surgery was to remove the hardware and patch the hole.

In a style and manner so characteristic of Frank Cohen, he created a website to keep family and friends updated – not only on his procedure, but also on his recovery. Here, from his website, www.franksupdates.com, Frank feeds us tiny morsels of information, devoid of ornamentation, and, like his appreciation for numbers, concise and to the point. Some samples:

Pathology Report

2 March 2022

The preliminary pathology report indicated that there was no infection in the neck or the hardware that was removed. No bacteria and no fungus. If the culture comes back the same, it will be great news. 

So Grateful for You! 

5 March 2022

Just a note while we are awaiting “release” paperwork. Again, we would like to express our deep gratitude for all the kindness, offers of help, encouraging words, and especially your prayers. The lengthy delay in scheduling surgery added to the stress and we are forever in debt to all who made it bearable and even humorous at times. We love you. 

Thank you! 

Home again, home again, jiggity jig… 

5 March 2022

I was released early this afternoon and am now home, enjoying being out of the hospital and back in my own environment. There are things that I take for granted, such as being outside in the sunshine, the fresh air, and not having to wear a mask every time I get up. I’m a bit sore still, definitely exhausted and looking forward to some quiet time just to recover. There aren’t words to adequately express my gratitude to all of you who continuously prayed for me and my successful recovery.  

On March 7, this past Monday, Frank became philosophical about his state of affairs, noting the ancient proverb about the race between the rabbit and turtle: “slow and steady wins the race.”

“Today marks one week since my surgery,” he wrote. “And I learned something very important about myself; I have unreasonably high expectations.”

Today, Saturday, March 12, Frank appears to be well on his way on a long journey to recovery. What we don’t know, yet, but expect to find out soon, is whether Frank has settled in his soundproof, waterproof, bombproof bunker, buried in his jungle-like enclave in Spring Hill, Fla.

We’ll know soon.

And as he characteristically writes in a closing line to his RACmonitor articles and Monitor Mondays podcasts, “and that’s the world according to Frank.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Keep up with Frank Cohen’s surgery and recovery by going to www.franksupdates.com.


Chuck Buck

Chuck Buck is the publisher of RACmonitor and is the program host and executive producer of Monitor Monday.

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