Tuesday, September 17, 2002


Wallace returns
to office at UH

By Cindy Luis

He was back at work, the left side of his head stitched up like an albino football, and happy the headaches are gone.

Yesterday, 10 days after head surgery in Las Vegas, Hawaii basketball coach Riley Wallace was in his office. The e-mails from fans, family and friends were waiting for him and he was gratified -- and a little embarrassed -- by the concern for his health.

"I'm fine," said Wallace, who returned from Las Vegas on Sunday evening. "The doctors said to take it easy for a while. No head-butting and yelling right now."

The 60-year-old had surgery on Sept. 6 at University Medical Center to remove two subdural hematomas between his skull and brain. He had been admitted the day before, complaining of severe headaches and dizziness.

"When I got up (Sept. 5), I called my daughter (Kim) to take me to the emergency room, I couldn't stand the pain," he said. "They asked about it on the scale from 1 to 10. I know what a 10 is. I gave them a bigger number.

"I never asked what could have happened if I hadn't come in. They said it was good that I did. All they've told me now is to take it easy and slow things down. We'll also be checking on the medication."

Wallace drove himself yesterday to see his neurosurgeon, Dr. Bernie Robinson, at the Moanalua Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. The coach will be staying put for a while; new assistant Bob Burke was to leave today to visit with recruits Wallace had been originally scheduled to see last week in New York and Florida.

"I'm happy to be home," said Wallace. "Eight days of laying in that bed is a killer. You can't sleep. You're hooked up to all those machines, have beepers going off, and they keep coming in and taking tests.

"When I got up and did my first lap down the hall, you don't feel sorry for yourself for very long. There are people there who aren't moving."

His surgery had concerned him.

"You have to be scared any time they crack open your head like that," Wallace said. "But nowadays, the way things are, it's not as bad. Now what happened to Les (retired UH baseball coach Murakami) was scary. Mine wasn't as bad."

In November of 2000, Murakami had surgery to remove part of his skull and temporal lobe to reduce swelling caused by fluid leakage. He had suffered a stroke the previous week.

UH Athletics

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