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Newspaper’s ‘Rabbit Tracks’ columnist battling health issues in hospital

Robert Smith, who contributes historic memories and humor to the Richmond News, has been in and out of intensive care near his home in Florida.
Smith, a 1957 Richmond High School graduate whose writing appears in his hometown paper as Rabbit Tracks, entered the hospital the week of April 24. His daughter, Michelle Bishop,

Robert Smith

Robert Smith

said he was hospitalized with a serious lung infection and other issues.
Bishop has been keeping friends and family on Rabbit’s email list updated on his condition. She said April 28 that he’s had a number of emergency procedures at Gulf Coast Medical Center in Panama City, Fla.
“Good news,” she wrote April 29. “They were able to remove the ventilator this morning … which means he’s awake … and according to my brother being a pain in the a** … ‘cause he’s ready to leave the hospital.  Sounds like Dad … so that’s a good sign … but I don’t envy Alan (her brother) or the nursing staff having to deal with a cranky “Rabbit.”
On May 5, Bishop noted that her father had a permanent pacemaker installed and, after being moved out of ICU, he developed several problems that required him to be moved back.
“He has been having to be restrained because he won’t leave his IV alone” she said.  “Today his lungs and breathing are better but he is still going back and forth on being lucid.”
The lucidity issue may have been related to a morphine drip, she said, which was discontinued.
“Long email to say … still in the hospital and on the road to recovery, we believe.  My brother has been there since last Saturday (May 3), so he’s experiencing it all first hand … it’s not been an easy week.”
Those who would like to send him a note can do so at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, 449 W. 23rd St., Panama City FL 32405.
Richard Smith, Robert’s brother, visited the Richmond News office earlier this week. He’s planning the RHS Class of 1959 reunion (Saturday, Sept. 27 at Hometown Pizza) and said he’s hoping his brother will be well enough by then to attend.
Rabbit has been a regular at reunions of his own Class of ‘57.
Richard Smith said he’d heard his brother has at times been a handful for hospital staff and even family, something those who know Rabbit might expect.
“I’ve heard he’s been a little cantankerous, but maybe that’s just the Smith blood,” Richard said. “I’ve just been praying for him.”
Classmates, friends and readers who’d like to keep up with Rabbit’s progress can contact his daughter at thom...@hotmail.com and be added to the email list.

– David Knopf, Richmond News

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