Thursday, October 28, 2010


Yesterday, having something I needed to write, I completely forgot what day it was. The result was, something totally flew by without my acknowledging it. And it really seems odd.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the day robots invaded my chest while I was asleep, and they repaired my heart valve.

Apparently, this meaningful milestone had been deleted from my memory.

Or was it?

Yesterday, my daughter Anna was writing me a check, and she asked me what the date was.

“It’s the twenty-fifth,” I replied.

It wasn’t. Yesterday was the twenty-seventh. What else happened on the twenty-seventh?

Robots invaded my chest while I was asleep, and they repaired my heart valve.

Apparently, I had deleted the milestone and obliterated the date.

Yeah, I don’t think so.

I’m guessing it’s not that I forgot. It’s that I don’t want to remember.

It’s not surprising, I suppose. It was a traumatic episode. And yet, there’s some good stuff that happened. Not the least of which is, they fixed me.

My heartbeat no longer sounds like a South American dance rhythm. And when I jog on the treadmill – two-and-a-half minutes, tops; I don’t want you to think I’m a Marathoner or anything – I no longer feel a shortness of breath.

So, medically, at least, it’s a cause for celebration.


Overall, I thought I handled things surprisingly well. There was hardly any whimpering at all. Instead, I behaved like a brave little soldier. Which, I must say, impressed the heck out of me.

Generally, if I had to categorize myself, I’d say that I’m a Conscientious Objector to life, meaning, if the arrangement were such that I was drafted into life, I’d have conscientiously objected, requesting alternate service.

And yet, there I was, making considered decisions and acting like a grown-up.

Not all the time. Looking back, there was a dividing line, where my behavior took a noticeable turn. In the earliest stages of my illness, when I was experiencing serious breathing problems when I lay down on my left side, I was in full “Panic Mode”, the words “This is bad!” reverberating in my brain.

But from the time of my first medical treatment to the time of the surgery, throughout that nine-week period, I was admirably clear-headed and consistently pragmatic.

“Camera down my throat? Let’s give it a try.”

“Angiogram on the Fourth? I’ll be there.”

“Donate my own blood for the surgery? Set it up!”

They performed the surgery. I convalesced. I committed myself to the Rehab. And I got better.

“Mr. Efficiency.” Who’da thunk it?

The frightening element was the “not knowing” part, where everything is new, and your mind’s ablaze with questions.

“What’s going on?”

“How bad is it?”

“What’s going to happen?”

Sugar-coded versions of, “Am I going to die?”

That’s the part I want to forget.

The part my magnificent imagination required me to endure.

New medical concerns loom on the horizon. This comes with the Territory known as Old. How will I handle them? Denial? Or acceptance, followed by an ameliorating course of action?

I am reminded of a joke in a Taxi script I wrote, though I didn’t write this joke; it came in in “rewrite.”

Alex, the Judd Hirsch character, is required to deliver an upsetting piece of news to a man he has just met.

“How do you like to hear these things,” he inquires, “‘straight from the shoulder’ or gilded?”

“Gilded,” replies the man, without hesitation.

Over time, I appear to have reverted to form. If you’re delivering bad news, put me down for “gilded” as well.

I honor the anniversary of my surgery, albeit a day in arrears. And I tip my hat to my “bordering on mature” comportment.

I just don’t ever want to be tested like that again.

“Getaway Day” puts a flutter in my kishkis (innards.) Wherever I’m traveling, I’m excited to go.

Tomorrow, we head off to Toronto for a family celebration. We’ll be traveling from the Toronto airport to the Westin Prince Hotel, located on York Mills Road, just east of Leslie. I mention our travel route, because I’ve been informed that the leaves have already fallen off the trees. If any Torontonians have a spare moment today, maybe you could drive up there, and glue a few of them back on.

We would really appreciate it.

1 comment:

YEKIMI said...

If it matters, I'd much rather be reading this blog and NOT your congrats on the one year and a day anniversary.