Sheriff hospitalized but upbeat




 One day after a health episode sent him to the hospital via ambulance, Carter County Sheriff John Henson says he plans to be back on the job this week after medical tests revealed the problem was not heart related.
  "It is probably going to be a stomach problem, or it could be plain old stress," said Henson, who spoke to the STAR on Wednesday from his room at Sycamore Shoals Hospital.
  Henson said he began feeling a lot of pain in the upper part of his stomach around 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.
  "I started having a little shortness of breath and I figured I better get something done," he said.
  Henson was taken to Sycamore Shoals Hospital by Carter County Rescue Squad paramedics on Tuesday afternoon after experiencing shortness of breath. He stayed overnight at the hospital while doctors ran tests to determine the source of the problem.
  He said doctors informed him Wednesday the episode was not a heart attack and tests had ruled out cardiac-related problems as the cause of the incident. He said doctors told him the episode could have been brought on by over work or stress that accompanied police work.
  Henson said he had suffered stomach ulcers previously. He said that job stress, the lawman's typical diet of fast food, and eating on the run contribute to stomach irritations for most law enforcement officers.
  In what must be good news for Henson's family members, the Sheriff said he plans to give up tobacco use. He said while in the hospital he requested a nicotine patch to help him break the cigarette habit.
  "I'm on the patch and I'm trying to quit," said Henson.
  Henson has spent over 30 years with the Carter County Sheriff's Department serving as a road deputy and patrol commander before being elected to sheriff. The Poga native has proven to be one of the county's most popular sheriffs in recent memory. He was elected in 1996 to a two-year term in a special election to replace the late Paul Peters who had retired as county sheriff. Henson was reelected to office in the 1998 and 2002 county elections with enormous popular support throughout the county.
  Henson said chances are good he will be released from the hospital by Wednesday evening. He said he plans to be back in his office today.
  "I'll probably be back on the job (Thursday)," he said. "I've got no problems right now."