Details of Sadler’s surgery released

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March 21, 2008

3:51 PM

The student body can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief. Sam Sadler is back on campus.

p. Approximately eight weeks ago, shortly after announcing that he would retire this summer, Sadler, vice president for Student Affairs, underwent a pericardiectomy at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

p. When functioning normally, the pericardium, the membrane surrounding the heart, is elastic and moves with the heartbeat; however, an inflammation of the membrane causes strain on the heart and leads to pericarditis. During a pericardiectomy, the majority of the membrane is removed so the heart is able to beat normally.

p. “The good news is there’s a procedure that cures the problem,” Sadler said. “The bad news is that it takes major surgery.”

After six weeks of recovery and two weeks back at work, Sadler said he has recovered 85 percent and feels great.

p. “The day after the surgery, I could only walk about one-sixteenth of a mile, which was one route around the cardio floor at Duke,” Sadler said. “Now I’m up to three and a half miles twice a day on different routes through Colonial Williamsburg.”

p. While recovering at home, Sadler read seven books of varying genres, watched a DVD set of BBC broadcasts and spent time with family.

p. “I think that’s the most time my wife and I have spent together in a few years,” he said. “It’s one reason why I’m going to retire, so we can have more of that.”

p. Sadler said that his wife wasn’t particularly confident he would be a model patient.

p. “I think she was surprised that she could trust me. I usually do crazy things or ‘guy’ things and get into trouble,” he said. “But she found that she could go to the store or participate in the things she does, and I’d still be there when she got back.”

p. Sadler said he struggled with aspects of life away from the College.

p. “I sincerely missed all of you,” he said, referring to the students. “It’s why I love this work. It’s funny in the summertime when you’re not here in numbers, and even funnier knowing you all were here, and I wasn’t.”

p. His time away was more difficult because of the turmoil on campus surrounding former College President Gene Nichol’s resignation.

p. “The hardest part was hearing what was going on only through the media. I had to read about it and nothing more,” Sadler said. “It was tremendously difficult being away and feeling I couldn’t contribute during such a painful and wrenching time.”

p. Sadler said his confidence in the capabilities of the staff he left in his stead at the Office of Student Activities gave him tremendous peace of mind during his recovery.

p. “It was a relief to know we have such a great staff and it means a lot that they gave the gift of more time and hours so things wouldn’t be backed up when I got back,” Sadler said.

p. As Sadler entered the close of his career at the College, he took time to reflect.

p. “I love this place. I missed not being at the center of things,” he said. “Knowing what’s going on and being involved have been important parts of my life for a long time. Being away from it was a learning experience.”

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