Tomorrow, aka December 3rd, marks ten years past that I had quadruple bypass, open-heart surgery. Wow, a decade! I hadn’t even thought about it till recently. It was a surreal—and scary—time, to say the least.


The play-by-play of that period came flooding back to me. It started with back pain, especially going up hills, something of which there are plenty of in my Ocean Hills neighborhood. It culminated with excruciating pain going up one particular hill, which I would dub The Hill. (I couldn’t walk up that hill for years thereafter. See my post, “A Head Case?”) It forced me to my doctor’s office, and fortunately he recognized the pain as angina, having experienced it himself. He had stents put in and said that I would probably have the same done.

Wrong-o. I remember the exact words of the doctor who administered the subsequent angiogram: “You have four arteries ninety percent blocked. We can’t do surgery today, but it will be done tomorrow.”

Holy crap! Well, at least I didn’t have time to think about it.


Crash Davis taught Nuke LaLoosh that baseball cliché in Bull Durham. Needless to say, it applies to me. During the decade since the surgery I’ve done my best to take care of myself—with a fair share of slipups, of course. All of the electrocardiograms and other tests have indicated that, right up to this day, my heart is “strong like bull”—if any of you remember Uncle Tonoose on The Danny Thomas Show. That pleases me no end.

“We’re still here, chief!”

Prior to writing today’s post I took a walk around the neighborhood (I’ve walked thousands of miles in the past decade). From the top of one particular hill (not that hill) I could see the ocean to the west, and snow-covered mountains to the east. How cool is that! Yeah, life is worth living, especially in Southern California.

Jacqueline, my amazing bride, far outpaces me in health challenges, but right now she’s also doing great. Every day—every single day—we paraphrase a line from Frequency, one of our favorite movies: “We’re still here, chief!” Damn right!


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