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.