The Beat Goes On

For Tom Havlicek of Minong, music courses through his veins. A guitarist, a singer, and a long-time crowd-pleaser, Tom doesn’t let anything keep him from doing what he loves. But when an infection called cellulitis brought him to Spooner Health for a two-week stay, he trusted his team of healthcare experts to get him back on his feet and back to the beat.

Originally from Watertown, Wisconsin, Tom was a certified union electrician before he took a leap of faith and bought The Bungalow Bar in Rice Lake. It paid off because he and his wife Linda were owners of 30 years – many of which were filled with their love of music. From country music to old-time rock ‘n’ roll, Tom never strayed too far from entertaining a crowd. Even when the Havliceks moved to Minong, he joined The Second Time Around Band as a guitarist and kept toes tapping all around the Northland for seven years. But when his foot started to swell, become red, painful, and warm to the touch, he knew it was time to slow down. Even after taking a break from the band, his cellulitis worsened and his symptoms became debilitating.

Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and the tissues underneath. Although common, the infection can become severe. Symptoms of cellulitis include redness, swelling, warmth, pain or tenderness, and leaking of fluid. Most of the time, cellulitis can be treated at home with antibiotics. In Tom’s care, his cellulitis had become so severe that he lost consciousness and has little to no recollection of his ambulance ride to the hospital he initially stayed at. After his vitals were stable, he was transferred to Spooner Health where his experience gave him something to sing about.

“I was treated like a king every day for two weeks. From the culinary staff going out of their way to make you feel at home to the nursing staff frequently asking if there was anything they could do to make my stay better, Spooner Health treated me like royalty.” He recalls Marilyn Nordquist, Inpatient Services Director, visiting him almost every day to check on his wellbeing, even getting him a new mattress when she noticed he was using a pillow to support his back. He says, “The nursing staff is so caring and attentive.”

Tom was also visited by speech, physical and occupational therapists from Spooner Health Rehabilitation Services team, which develops individualized plans catered to the needs of each patient. The team worked diligently to help Tom regain his strength and independence, as well as help him recoup his short-term memory loss caused by the infection. Naturally, a hospital stay for two weeks can become mundane, but with a team of experts dedicated to his wellness, he was able to use his walker to explore the beautiful, new hospital and heal peacefully.

“If you have to be in a hospital, Spooner Health is one of the best to be at,” Tom says. He is now able to continue healing at home but is ready for his next musical adventure: Tom’s Good Ole Fashioned Karaoke Show. Stay tuned for more because we haven’t heard the last beat from Tom Havlicek.