Details Written by Gene Benedict
Trouble in Cedar Key

by Gene Benedict

My Valentines

People ask the question “Won’t you be my Valentine?” I prefer “Will you be my Valentine?” The latter is a better, more positive, way to put things. The results are better in the long run.

Sometime back, I was sick. I was quite sick. EMS transported me to Shands four different times. I was diagnosed in the final stage of liver disease. After the last transport, it was several days before there was any semblance of stability. The only hope of survival was a liver transplant. But I did not qualify for that.

Physicians on the liver transplant team determined that nothing more could be done. They sent me home. Anne was with me and Melanie quit her job in Atlanta and came to Cedar Key. Arrangements were made for Hospice Care. Anne quit her job at Annie’s Cafe.

The two of them cared for me. Hospice nurses and helpers came by three days a week to help. All stops were pulled trying to make me comfortable.

Anne is a very strong, positive person, as is Melanie. Melanie started a business on her own cleaning houses. To help with the finances, Anne and Melanie staggered work, and handled the paperwork required, while tending to me.

In addition the two of them cared for their own needs. I tried to help myself, but I was weak and in pain. I kept as much of a positive attitude as possible and prayed much of the time. My mind was feeble. I was in and out of consciousness. I was skin and bones. I was discolored and had a severely bloated mid-section. My liver barely functioned.

From time to time, Shands would drain fluids from my abdomen. I was not qualified for a transplant. I was dying.

Miraculously, through positive attitudes, many prayers, and caring doctors, I slowly gained strength. After months it became visible that my health was improving.

I was still too weak to walk. Anne and Melanie under strain and with little sleep, kept positive attitudes. Slowly I was getting better.

The girls and I worked hard to get me on Medicaid. Melanie found a way. We (they) tried to get me Medicare and long term disability. Several times the state turned us down. We found an attorney that took my case to court and the judge ruled in our favor with a significant financial award for back years that had been denied.

Two years after moving to Cedar Key and becoming part of the community, Melanie returned to her life in Atlanta. Anne returned to a regular work schedule. And, I, maintaining a positive mental attitude, gradually increased in health.

Nearly a year later, the physicians on the transplant team deemed me healthy enough to survive a transplant.

I continued to improve without a transplant and several years later, I removed myself from the transplant list. It has been over ten years since the physicians on the transplant team sent me home to my deathbed.

I thank all of you who helped us, prayed, and maintained a positive attitude through this ordeal. And most of all, thank you, Anne, and you, Melanie. You are truly my Valentines . . .

Gene Benedict’s articles have been missed

by the Cedar Key News and it’s readers.

We are glad to have them back in for our paper.

Gene can be reached by email at:


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