Gene Pinkney
Last of 2023 Articles


Dr J. to the Rescue


I had just begun to think that maybe I was done with health issues for a while. After all the stuff I endured in the last couple of years, operations, weird symptoms and interruptions to my normal life, I thought I deserved a break. But I awakened three mornings ago with more, really weird, symptoms: instability in balance being the main thing. I associated it all to a diagnosis the VA. gave me a while back-that I had some stenosis (pressure) on my cervical, (neck), vertebrae, which could manifest itself in one’s breathing and more commonly one’s balance.

Knowing the time it usually takes to get set up for the VA. to find a spot for me I decided to follow my wife’s advice and contact a doctor she had been seeing regularly for some time --Mike Jacklitch, who was able to see me that very morning.

Dr. J. and I go way back. He was a student of mine back in 1973, and a very memorable one, because at the time, Mike was thinking about majoring in English or possibly medicine. I recall he was a stand-out in my lit classes. A typical College English 101 class at Science could consist of students going into many different callings, and having an English major or two in your class usually made for a livelier discussion than say one over-loaded with business people or technicians of some sort.

But Mike took a trip down to Missouri between quarters, and there, he was lured into chiropractic, which was to become his life’s work. ‘What a waste,’ I thought to myself; he would have made one heck of an English Prof. But after his fine treatment of the stenosis attacking me, I’m now glad he went into chiropractics. He gave me exactly the perfect therapies to get the pressure off the nerves in my neck and remove the cause of my symptoms.

Some people are leery of chiropractors, but my association with them has always been very positive. Back in high school I suffered quite a severe injury to the lumbar area of my lower spine. My folks took me see Dr. Curtis Mitskog who x-rayed the area and found a slight inward tilt where the cross-body block that had created the injury had made it’s deadly impression. He showed me some truly valuable exercises that would prevent the injury from getting worse. I ended up using those exercises all the rest of my life, and they have kept me from ever needing dangerous back surgery.

Incidentally, Curt Mitskog’s daughter, Alisa Yaggie, also grew up to be a chiropractor and her office is right next to Dr. J’s. She has become very prominent in many areas of Wahpeton life, especially politics, and will be honored in the home-coming parade this year.

You may wonder why I chose to associate Mike’s name with the other more famous Dr. J., Julius Irving, the Philadelphia 76er’s basketball player. Very simply, both are very tall people who have advanced their careers by leaps and bounds: Dr. J the 76er, by being able to leap into the air from the free throw line and spike-dunk the ball, and Dr. J., Mike Jacklitch by leaping into action to relieve my stenosis, thereby winning mention in this column.

I’m truly blessed with J men: one locally and, one nationally, but there is a third J man of Heavenly origin who took the greatest leap of all-from His seat next to His father, Almighty God, to a manger in Bethlehem on a mission from God to save a fallen, befuddled and wire-dangled tribe called the human race. On a hill called Calvary, He accomplished that mission. Upon His ascension, God said, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” and John added later, “whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Gene Pinkney 8/6/23 for The Daily News