Thursday, July 19, 2012

Break Time

Eight years ago, in 2004, I had a heart attack. I woke up in early on the Saturday morning before Labor Day and knew something was wrong. I didn't have any chest pains but my left arm hurt and I felt sick to my stomach (my wife Roni said I was sweating heavily also).
Roni drove me to the local hospital and, after a nitro pill, I felt much better. I wanted out but Roni and an insistent nurse persuaded me to stay. A good thing as it turned out. About two hours later I had a serious heart attack, a sharp chest pain, chest heaviness, the whole bit. I was told later by a doctor, I survived that one only because of an attached nitro-glycerin drip.
Two days later I had a stent in an artery instead of a blockage.Everyone said I should feel better, but I didn't. In fact, as the weeks passed, I felt progressively worse. Two months later I decided I should take another stress test. By this time I could barely make it up a flight of stairs.
As I suspected, the test did not go well. My cardiologist called me that same evening and advised me to seek   hospitalization. And so here I was again, a scant eight weeks after my first surgery, back in a hospital bed.
A second stent was put in another artery.
Three weeks later, while sitting in my cardiologist's office, he asked me if I was a religious man. I told him yes. I turned out that a major blood vessel leading to my heart had ruptured (probably aggravated during the first stent operation). It had collapsed over 90%. A 100% collapse, according to my doctor, would have almost certainly been fatal.
After that, I had a few years of feeling pretty good health-wise, but two years ago I began to tire easily  doing chores around the house, like cutting the grass. Things just didn't feel right.
Another stress test and another heart catherization. This time the worst possible news. I needed  heart bypass surgery. I'll spare you the gory details and just add that I would never again want to go through the trauma of the procedure or the long recovery.
I went in for my two year post-op stress test on Monday, July 16, 2012. Later that same day my cardiologist called me. Everything looked great. My arteries were strong with not even the smallest blockage. They were pumping blood like there was no tomorrow. So now I have my tomorrows and, at least for now, I feel blessed. There have been so many close shaves in my life, so many times when I should have died.
In my latest life I have become a writer of sorts. I'd like to think I'm good at it, but it makes little difference to me. I enjoy writing and will continue to do so for as long as I'm able.
This summer I took a break from writing to catch up on my reading and, of course, put a dent in my chores list. When the weather cools I'll begin to write again. I have the beginning and end to my new novel on paper.  Much like life, the adventure is always in the many pages between.