Linda and Bob Hawkins
Bob Hawkins with his wife, Linda, and their dog, Ace, along with his prized 1929 Ford Model A Roadster.  (Hawkins family photo)

“A car accident turned out to be a blessing in disguise, thanks to Cottage Health.”
— Bob Hawkins, 75, of Santa Barbara

Bob Hawkins has always enjoyed an active life, even in retirement. For a hobby, he loves to restore antique cars and convert them to hot rods.

He currently owns a 1929 Ford Model A Roadster, a 1930 Ford Model A pickup and a 1968 Chevrolet C10 pickup. You may have even seen them at local car shows.

Earlier this year, Hawkins was driving to meet some friends for breakfast. While he was stopped at a red light, another vehicle crashed into him from behind. He was knocked unconscious and then rushed to the emergency room at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

“It was a pretty bad crash, and it gave me a concussion,” Hawkins said. “But it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because while viewing my MRI the staff at Cottage discovered I had a pituitary tumor.”

The pituitary gland is a small endocrine gland attached to the base of the brain. It releases hormones to regulate growth, metabolism, blood pressure and many other vital functions.

Hawkins had experienced no symptoms from the golf-ball sized tumor, but — while it was benign — it was so close to his optic nerve that he stood the risk of going blind if left untreated.

His primary care physician referred him to the Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and to Dr. N. Nicole Moayeri, a neurosurgeon there.

“Dr. Moayeri was a great listener who wants to hear what you’re saying,” Hawkins said. “I could tell I was in good hands.”

Moayeri removed the tumor, and Hawkins stayed only two nights in the hospital before returning home.

“The whole staff at Cottage was fantastic,” he said. “I’m thankful I live in a place with great health care.”

These days, Hawkins is back to enjoying his hobbies and the active life he loves in Santa Barbara with his wife, Linda, and their dog, Ace.