Just a few days into 2023, Fester experienced another bout of symptoms of his myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune disorder that affects the muscles.
Fester first learned that he had MG back in the summer of 2011 during the first run of the MJ Morning Show. He was in the hospital for several weeks, including over two weeks in the ICU. His main symptoms were a drooping face and fatigue.
His symptoms dramatically improved and essentially went into remission for a long time until about 2019. When he was in Detroit for an RV trade show representing General RV, he had another flareup of symptoms. However, it doesn’t sound like they lasted quite as long.
Then came January of 2023. His symptoms began with abdominal pain and even some chest pain. He later realized that it was his MG rearing its ugly head once again. He came in to do the morning show on a Monday, but the following morning, he was taking an Uber ride to the emergency room at Tampa General Hospital. He spent five days in the hospital and received IV treatments to help reduce the symptoms. While there, MJ and the crew called him every single morning to check on his status and progress. His voice did not hold up for more than a minute or two, and he would start slurring his speech from talking for just this short amount of time.
Following his hospital stay, he came in to do the morning show for one day, but he quickly learned it was too much for him to handle in terms of stamina. In fact, a brigade of men had to be called into the radio station building to help carry him down the stairs because the elevator was out of service. So, he then spent about two weeks doing the show remotely from his house. He used a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet computer provided by Don the IT Guy to connect to the rest of the crew and contribute as much as he could. While at home, MJ would poke fun at some of the mouth noises he was making and the sound of his kids getting ready for school while the microphone on his tablet was “hot.” Apparently, he did not have a “mute” button.
Fester made his triumphant return to the MJ Morning Show/Q105 studio for good on Monday, February 6. The good news is that he seems to be mostly back to normal in terms of his speech and energy levels, at least from what we can ascertain as listeners. Let’s hope he can go another several years before having the next bout of this frustrating condition.
It’s also worth noting that MJ actually brought up an interesting observation. He mentioned that around 2003, he experienced about three months of extreme fatigue and low energy. His doctor attributed it to thyroiditis, a rare condition. He also mentioned that several other employees at the old radio station complex on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa where the MJ Morning Show crew worked from 1994 through 2012 had experienced some odd health conditions. One example that comes to mind is Froggy 1 (real name Scott Langley), who preceded the current Froggy, came down with acromegaly around 2010. Plus, the show’s longtime newsman, Martin Giles, experienced some neurological issues toward the end of the first run of the show and even had trouble giving his news updates at times on the air. Additionally, Mary the Bull-Dyke (who gave herself that nickname) passed away of cancer at a fairly young age a few years after the show ended. Other personalities from that building who died of somewhat rare health conditions at relatively young ages included Dave Reinhart, Steve “The Big Dog” Duemig, and Chris Thomas. MJ also mentioned that several individuals who had worked out of those studios wound up having autistic children. We can only speculate as to the potential factors at play here.