I was reminiscing the other day about various things and suddenly I grabbed the calendar and realized how lucky I am to still be able to reminisce. Lucky because of a couple of things I did and more importantly the things the top shelf doctors at our home away from home, Eisenhower Medical Center did for me.
Sunday February 5, 2017 was another perfect day here in the Coachella Valley. Sunny and 73 degrees with barely a breeze, it was the kind of day we moved here for two years earlier. We were invited to dinner at the house of my mothers neighbors, Joe and Joe and happily accepted. We arrived around 4PM, enjoyed some adult libations and as the late Irv Kupcinet called it, "the art of lively conversation".
Dinner was sensational, as we knew it would be, and after gorging ourselves on dinner and dessert we retired to the living room for more conversation and one last beverage. It was a wonderful night, good food, good friends, and we left with the promise to do it again soon at our house.
Once we got home we let the dogs out and Linda went to bed to read while I stayed up to watch some TV. About two hours later I decided that I needed some Cheetos to finish the evening and opened a new bag. I ate about three or four and thought, these are not settling very well. I put them away and told Linda that I wasn't feeling 100%. I wasn't sure what was wrong but I just didn't feel normal.
She was a little concerned because I never complain about my health but we decided it was just a little bloat from dinner. I went back to the T V but about ten minutes later I still wasn't feeling right so I took a Tums and two aspirin. I mentioned to Linda that I still wasn't 100% and she asked if I wanted to go to the emergency room. I never want to go to the emergency room but while I wasn't sure what was going on I knew it wasn't normal so off we went.
We arrived at Eisenhower around 9:30 PM and I found out that if you tell someone in the emergency room that you are having either a gas bubble or chest pains you move up to the front of the class. They left Linda to give them my personal information as they took me in back and took my blood pressure, drew some blood and hooked up an oxygen reader and a pulse monitor. I was feeling a little better but still not right.
After a few minutes they brought Linda back by me and we waited for the blood work to come back. In a short while the nurse came in and said that my blood work was normal and my vitals were normal but they wanted to test me again in about an hour. We sat in an exam room and waited until they came back took more blood and more vitals. By now it was around 10:45 PM and when the nurse came back she seemed a bit more serious.
She said my blood numbers came back showing a tiny amount of bad news and that they wanted to keep me overnight in the exam room to continue to test me. OK. Shortly after she left a doctor came in asked me some questions, checked me out, and told me to sit tight because they wanted to take more blood in a little bit. I felt like I was down about a quart by this point but whatever.
After the next blood withdrawal and vital checking we knew that it was going to be a longer night because both the nurse and doctor came in together. The doctor said my numbers were climbing in a bad way and that they were making arrangements for me to be transferred to a regular hospital room. The nurse said it would take about thirty minutes to arrange and suggested to Linda she might as well go home because nothing was going to happen tonight. Linda left and I told her I would call her when I knew something.
They took more blood and before they took me upstairs to my room the doctor came in and told me that they were going to schedule me for emergency surgery tomorrow morning to check on my heart. They think there might be some blockage and they want to check it out. He assured me I would be awake and that it is a simple procedure.
Up to the room I go, there is no way I'm sleeping I'm so wired, and I lay there hooked up to machines keeping tabs on me while listening to my roommate snore happily in the next bed. In the morning, around 6AM, I call Linda to tell her that they are going to be doing this surgery thingy and she is shocked to say the least. I told her there was no reason to come here since I would be down in surgery but she could call the nurse to get information.
To keep this short, I was lined up in the hall with about six other people and we were pulled into the room like being on a conveyer belt one after the other. They went in through my wrist and I fell asleep for a few minutes but I could hear them, and talk with them, and just like that, bingo, bango, bongo, I'm being wheeled back up to my room.
Linda was there waiting for me and I assured here I was fine. A doctor came in and told us they had put two stents in me. One artery was blocked about 92% and the other was blocked 98%. That one was what they call the widow maker. I hadn't slept since Saturday night into Sunday morning and with it now being Monday afternoon I was tired. I told Linda to go home and I would call her later. She left around 12:15 and I told the nurse I was going to sleep. She told me they would be coming in to take blood and checking on me so my sleep was not going to be very peaceful. I told her to do what she needed but to not wake me up unless it was an emergency. She laughed at me.
4:30 Tuesday morning I woke up. The night nurse welcomed me back to the world, unhooked the bed alarm so I could use the bathroom, and rehooked my alarm when I returned. She asked how I felt and I told her that I had not felt this good since I was 20 years old. I could not believe how great I was feeling.
Linda came back around 7AM and shortly after that the cardiologist came in and checked on me. He pulled up a chair and asked me to tell him what happened. I recounted the story for him and he took some notes. When I was done he told me something I will never forget. He said that I did two things right. First was taking aspirin and the second was coming into the emergency room. I asked why that was and he said, "if you hadn't done either of those two things, especially taking the aspirin, you would have been dead before hitting the floor."
Talk about an attention getter. I laughed and said I was lucky. He gave me some instructions for after care and eventually I was sent home the next morning. It wasn't until about four days later that I thought about what he had said and I became fairly emotional. I still get emotional when I think about his words to this day. It was a close call.
It was that event that made me change my life. I gave up my business and retired from the rep game. I got my real estate license and started that adventure part time. I was asked to write a column for a Cubs fan based online website which led me to get an offer from a Sports Illustrated version where they would actually pay me. I turned it down because I liked writing for fun and didn't want another job.
Anyway you know the rest of my story. I retired from the real estate game after covid hit and wrote a book that is a nationwide non seller and am living the good life in a beautiful place. I am happy to be able to reminisce because the alternative is not very appealing.
Happy Anniversary to me indeed!