Dr. Billows returns home after successful operation

David Malsher-Lopez
·3-min read

The complicated nature of the op can be learned about here through postings by his family, but Billows, a cornerstone of IndyCar's AMR Safety Team, returned home last Friday direct from ICU “with 2 drains from his neck and 1 from his thigh. He has several staples down his thigh and up his neck with some lingering swelling” as a result of not only the curative operation but also the plastic surgery that followed.

Writing from home, Billows said: “First, I want to thank my loving family for all their care and support through this ordeal. They have done a wonderful job setting up this Caring Bridge page, and Dani [daughter] has been masterful at authoring the journal entries.

“My whole family has been attentive and positive, even at my lowest points when I first found out about the diagnosis and then during this post-operative period. The “no visitor” policy at the hospital has been as hard on them as it was on me. We were able to video chat on our cellphones, but it just was not the same as having family at the bedside.

“Being home has been a blessing- I have the best ‘private duty’ nurse EVER!! Tammy [wife] is a SAINT! She won’t let me do anything for myself- which is really hard for me- but her care and tenderness is accelerating my progress back to health.  I am a lucky man to have her as my wife.

“I already knew it but this process has confirmed that I have the best kids ever as well! They have been super-supportive and have done whatever they can to ease my fears and to help Tammy through this.

“My team of surgeons, Dr. Shipchandler, Dr. Moore and Dr. Yates were the most caring, competent and communicative physicians I have ever encountered. They all had a way of anticipating questions and making me feel at ease in their hands. They worked tirelessly for 14 hours to ensure the absolute best results possible.” 

It was also comforting that I awoke in my room following 14 hours of surgery and the first person I saw was our dear friend Dr. Angi Fiege staring at me from the right side of the bed! Angi checked in on me all night to make sure I had everything I needed.  The nurses at IU Health Methodist Hospital were also exceptional in their caring, professionalism and attentiveness. 

“I am eternally thankful for each and every one of you who visited my Caring Bridge page and left comments and who contacted me individually with prayers and words of encouragement.  

“I am overwhelmed at the amount of love and well wishes I received from everyone- from our family and friends, the Methodist Hospital EMTC family, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway family and the IndyCar Series family. You have no idea how much you all touched my heart with your thoughtfulness and comments.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I was presented with a stack of cards from the EMTC family- reading through all those cards brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. I will never be able to repay all of this kindness but I’m sure going to try!

“I love and respect you all and am anxious to get back to work and some semblance of normalcy!”