Last June, I wrote about Dan Lauck’s battle with Parkinson Disease that cut short his honored career as a newspaper and television journalist. Lauck’s wife, Meg, provided details of the extraordinary medical procedures Lauck has endured with the hope of an improved life as he battles the disease.
Surprisingly, Lauck made a comeback recently to provide his former Houston television station, KHOU, with a fascinating story on Rich Clifford, a NASA astronaut that flew on the space shuttle Atlantis 15 years ago while secretly suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
Certainly, this is dramatic news, and I enjoyed Clifford’s revealing story. However, I spent most of my time studying my friend and listening to his voice while fighting mixed emotions as I watched Lauck on-screen.
No matter how hard Lauck fights, he is slugging it out with an opponent that, so far, cannot be beaten. That is very sad. Yet, seeing Lauck on a golf course playing a game he loves pleases me greatly. What sticks with me the most, though, is just how difficult this story must have been for Lauck. That five-minute story took many days of work that would tire a totally healthy man.
Consider those demands as you read an update on Lauck’s condition from Meg Lauck: “For those of you who have not been updated since Dan’s brain surgery almost a year ago, it came with pros and cons. His tremors have stopped and that is the best part. The tricky part is that he had some significant cognitive impairment after the surgery and it has taken a long time for the brain swelling to be reduced. He is significantly better now and outpatient therapy at TIRR (where Gaby Giffords goes as an inpatient) helped a great deal. Also, he now has trouble with unstable gait and falling down frequently.”
This puts a real perspective on the determination it took for Lauck to bring Clifford’s story to television. Lauck’s fight will go on in this difficult battle. It is a fight being fought by a fine man who gave us a fine story. The story is a remembrance of things past as well as an appreciation for a difficult future for both men. My prayers remain with Lauck, Clifford and their families that God’s will be done.