Tuesday, May 10, 2016


May 10, 2016

Not a whole lot is happening. I've gotten busy with work which is a good thing. Jo is still having trouble with her foot. She will try to get into the doctor sometime tomorrow. Her toes are turning blue.

The infant child of Jo's niece and her husband had to have open heart surgery, to repair a faulty valve earlier Monday. He's about the cutest little bugger you've ever seen, but has been plagued with health issues almost from birth. So, he beat me at having his chest cracked open before his first birthday. I guess I'm next.

I have thought about what a shit I was for a number of years. I won't go into any detail now, but suffice to say it is the heaviest burden I carry around my neck everyday. Can't help but wish I could go back and mend all those wounds, big and small, I inflicted on Jo and my kids. I'm not looking for absolution, we all have to bear our various crosses until we breathe our last. Writing of those days may bring me some sense of relief or understanding. We'll see.


Friday, May 6, 2016

CRACK - Day 5

May 6, 2016

 So, the excuses begin.

I didn't post anything yesterday as we spent considerable time in a St Francis emergency "pod" dealing with Jo's badly sprained ankle. When we finally got home, we both crashed for quite a while, and then we had some very important TV to watch. So...

Actually, Jo was doing better today with her ankle, but may have walked around too much as it was hurting her more later tonight.

I feel a little bit like a condemned prisoner who knows when he will be getting his deadly vaccinations. Now note, I wrote "a little bit." I don't equate my pending surgery with a nearing execution. It's just having the date looming before me feels like I'm in a kind of limbo. There are things I can't do and others I shouldn't do. While I know the aftermath will likely be painful, and the recovery probably maddeningly slow, I still can't quite imagine what it will be like. 

I've never spent a night in a hospital except, I assume, the few days after my birth. I've had a couple of scopes on my knees and a few other minor procedures, but never anything on the scale of having my chest cracked open, and being placed on a heart/lung machine during what I've been informed is a 4 to 6 hour operation. I was told that they will not stop my heart during the procedure, which they say is a fairly new thing. Traditionally, they do stop the heart so that they are not trying to graft an artery onto a moving target, but apparently they've figured out how to overcome that particular problem. The surgeon said that stopping the heart creates problems in not only restarting it, but getting it back up to speed, or up to rhythm, or whatever. The heart, and, consequently, the patient tends to be sluggish for some time after having it stopped.

I'm still kind of ambivalent about the whole thing. That it's still more than 2 weeks away, renders it all kind of unreal. I suppose the closer I get to it, the more it will take over my thoughts, and influence my days.

I know hundreds of thousands of people have had bypass surgery, so I'm certainly not unique. But, as I suggested above, the experience will be unique to me. 

I've had a few thoughts reflecting on my circumstances, on my life's successes and failures. I have to admit that success has not visited my life a great deal. My greatest "successes" are my marrying Joan Marie Mascari, and our having and raising our two sons. I love all three of them more than I can say.

As I get nearer to the ceremonial chest cutting, I believe that at least some parts of my life will come swimming through my head. While there has been a lot of good, a lot of happy times, there have also been dark ones as well. All of it may be worth pondering. 


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

CRACK: Day 3

May 3, 2016

Most of this day was uneventful. I realized that I have yet to take a look at the rather voluminous amount of information the VA gave me regarding my upcoming surgery. Not sure I will until maybe a few days before. It's just not something I want to dwell on.

Nick, our son living in Germany, talked with Jo today on the phone. He had researched everything he could find on Coronary Artery Surgery. Supposedly, this is now a procedure that is 97% successful. That's hopeful. It also helps that I'm not diabetic. It occurred to me that Jo, Nick and Chris have learned far more about all this than I have. I suppose that's fairly normal. A part of me just doesn't want to know.

I wrote above that "most" of the day was uneventful. However, late this afternoon Jo went out to get the mail, but on the way caught her foot on something, twisted and went down. I was unaware of this as I was out in the rear garage, and she was on the front side of the house. She said that she sat there for a while to collect herself, got herself up and somehow hobbled back into the house. She put some ice on it for a while, but didn't tell me about it. Finally, she came out and yelled for me to come up to the house.

The top of her left foot is badly swollen and turning blue. I think she may have actually broken a bone either in her ankle or the foot. A trip to some kind of "Immediate Care" is in store for us tomorrow morning. I suggested we go yet tonight, but she didn't want to do that.

This adds a little spice to our simmering stew.


CRACK, cont'd

May 2, 2016

Not much happening. I've gone back to work. We shut down a couple weeks ago, because we weren't sure about how soon I'd be cracked open. Since it's not going to happen for more than two weeks from now, we decided to accept more work until a few days before the dreaded date. I did an appraisal inspection earlier today. Woohoo!

I guess I haven't gotten into much of a reflective mood as yet. Most of the noise coming from Indiana's direction involves tomorrow's primary election, and Jo and I have found it both entertaining and interesting. I've made my druthers known on FB, so I won't mention her here.

A bit of history:

I go to the VA for my medical care. I see my primary doctor about every six months for routine check ups. Among the laundry list of things I ran by her a few weeks ago, my greatest concern was my back. I have a few herniated lumbar discs, which came about around a year and a half ago. I was hoping that I could investigate the possibility of having minimally invasive surgery to repair those damn discs. In that regard, Dr. Shah set up an appointment for an MRI for my back, which I had just a few days later. 

However, the last thing I mentioned was a burning sensation I'd been having at the center of my chest when setting out to do any even nominally strenuous work. Suddenly, that took over the conversation. She set me up for a stress test which I had a week or so later. That resulted in some anomalies popping up, so it was determined that I should have a heart cath. Oh boy!

That resulted in the realization that I have three blocked arteries, at least one of them at over 90%. One of the blocked arteries is the so called "widow maker." Now that sucks.


Chest cracking here I come.

I've been pretty fortunate for most of my nearly 70 years roaming around my part of the planet. I've had the usual list of ailments - childhood measles & mumps. Occasional bouts of flu and a fair number of colds. I broke my arm twice when I was a kid. Several years ago while working as a manager at Long John Silvers (great job - NOT,) I managed to step into one of the fry vats (don't ask) severely burning my left ankle and part of my foot. That was a treat. But otherwise, overall not too much to complain about.

I guess I'm now getting my comeuppance. 


Sunday, May 1, 2016

That Cracking Sound You Hear...

May 1, 2016

As you might notice, it has been around three years since I posted anything here. Over the past several years, I have focused on Facebook as it is more immediate in reaching the various folks with whom I have "Friended" including many family members, some old personal friends and several people with whom I have come together, owing to our sharing personal, social and political ideology.

But life, as they say, is a journey with many ups and downs, twists and turns, some of which we seek, but most which come to us unexpectedly, for good or ill.

"Ill" is coming my way.

Later this month I am to have my chest cracked open for the purpose of bypassing a number of arteries that have had the temerity to become clogged over my nearly 70 years of existence. 

This wasn't totally unexpected. As I noted, I am "getting up there," and I have long been, for lack of a gentler term - fat. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs (anymore,) and I don't chase wild women. In fact chasing anything is pretty much beyond me considering the circumstances. 

But my sorrowful eating habits, and my general lack of any regular and meaningful exercise over these many years have taken their toll. Consider that you don't often see really old fat guys waddling about. Turns out there's a reason for that. Who knew?

I intend to write a sort of "Oh shit, they're going to cut me open" diary over the coming days leading up to, and hopefully after the slicing and dicing of my "temple."

I hope to avoid being too maudlin in this effort, but, perhaps in doing this, I will be able to reflect on some things, perhaps seeing my life and the world around me in a different light. 

That being said, intentions tend to be more hopeful than when it comes to actually carrying out a task. 

We'll see.  


Friday, July 12, 2013

Republican Revolution

We are now in the midst of a Republican Revolution. They are attempting to take complete control of the country by both legal and clearly illegal means. Unless and until they are challenged in court  and in the voting booth on everything they are doing, they will continue down their path of wanton destruction. It's not being done willy nilly. As crazy as it may seem, I believe there is a concerted effort being orchestrated by ALEC and the likes of the Koch Brothers. among others. Well, hell. I guess I've become a conspiracy theorist. It's just hard not to.

Why aren't more people taking them to court over all of the new abortion legislation or the new voting regulations designed to suppress the likely Democratic vote? Why don't more doctors and nurses speak out against the usurpation of their authority as medical professionals by legislators, who by and large have no license to practice medicine?

Things are unraveling in this country. It's coming apart from all angles, from high and low. How long will it be before one or more of these paramilitary hate groups decide they've had enough of whatever it is they find so intolerable and grab their assault weapons and start shooting? How long before Americans will start being killed by random road side bombs - maybe even suicide bombers? And they won't be Al Qaida or other radical muslims doing these things. It will be Americans killing other Americans.

I find the religious Right perhaps the most dangerous. It is their stated goal to establish an American Theocracy, and any means to that end is justifiable in their eyes, because god is on their side. They have already demonstrated they are more than willing to target and kill doctors and bomb abortion clinics. When might the other shoe drop? We have had state legislators around the country proclaim that it's time to take up arms. There are literally hundreds of internet crazies who are just itching for a fight. I think it's just a matter of time. Once such a precedent is set, once someone acts, this country may turn into another Iraq or similar to other places plagued by indiscriminate violence.

The blame, as I see it, falls squarely on the shoulders of the Republicans who refuse to disavow such actions or attempt to separate themselves from outrageous statements. That fuckhat Palin  campaigned against Obama talking about how he used to "pal around with terrorists." Well look at the bedfellows Republicans keep. They appear at functions with many really Right Wing radicals and invite them to openly appear at campaign and fund raising functions. Rand Paul now has at least one on his staff. Rather frighteningly, the Right Wing crazies have control of the House of Representatives.

Again, I say that the people we will ultimately have to arm ourselves against are those Right Wingnut crazies. And why has all this transpired? Because we have a black man in the White House.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Uncertain Future of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Consider this: There are, I think, twenty full time symphony orchestras in the United States.  A country of over three hundred million people can support only twenty full time symphony orchestras. That number is about to be reduced by one. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is in serious financial straits. In fact Indianapolis could lose the ISO altogether. The contract with the musicians expired Sept 1.

Apparently, the ISO is running a 10 million dollar deficit. In response the powers that be over the orchestra want to reduce the number of full time musicians by about a dozen and significantly reduce the pay of those they retain. They want to reduce the season from 52 weeks down to only 36. Of course, the musicians are opposed to these changes. Obviously, something's got to give. It is possible that if management prevails, many of the musicians will leave the orchestra altogether. That would be a hard, but perhaps necessary choice.

Some may not believe this, but Indianapolis does have diversions other than sports. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Eiteljorg Museum, The Indianapolis Children's Museum, The Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Indianapolis Zoo, along with the ISO and several other arts and cultural institutions in and around the city provide a significant draw for people who may or may not cater to sports, but also want something more for themselves and their children to enjoy. The ISO has been an integral part of Indy's cultural fabric for decades. Its loss would be a critical blow to the city's reputation.

I certainly do not have a solution to the problem at hand. My last foray with the state lottery garnered 2 free tickets. It can be argued that a truncated season with a smaller orchestra would be preferable to nothing at all. On the other hand the loss of their summer season and other performance opportunities, along with the diminished number of musicians will have a critical and lasting effect upon not only the quantity of their product, but also on its quality. The loss of many of the quality musicians from the orchestra will likely take a toll in that regard. It's also possible that they could well lose Conductor Krzysztof UrbaƄski should the proposed reductions come to fruition.

Would that some billionaire were to divert say a paultry twenty or thirty million away from their support of some political super pac or other and dedicate it instead to the life and lasting health of the Indianapois Symphony Orchestra. That would be money far better spent.