A knock on the door- part one of a rebirth- bypass surgery oh my!!
Here I lay- 12:32am – Saturday-as I rethink the last few weeks that have brought me to a hospital bed at Saint Francis Hospital in our capital city of Hartford, Connecticut. Hmmm? Yes it was my heart!!
For the past year, honestly maybe a bit longer, I felt out of breath doing the most menial of tasks, making the bed, climbing stairs, tying my shoes – “wooh” – I was out of breath. And on top of that I was feeling a bit of pressure on the top portion of my chest and into my left elbow. Now I’m a pretty smart guy and I knew something was going on – but like so many, you also get to feeling you are “super human” – (too many Amazing Spider-Man comics) and it’s nothing more than being too darn fat and never really doing any exercise besides my usual jaunts to the casino, my theater and restaurant reviews and sitting endlessly at my desk at BATV as I orchestrate the television station.
O.H.S. Stands for Open Heart Surgery- mine is this upcoming Monday.
The tale so far. So I was scheduled for my regular physical examination with my G.P. – the wise, enlightened and the one guy who can read his patient like a copy of the “New England Journal of Medicine” – Dr. Edwin Fierer. Yep he be a wise guy! So I pass my yearly physical, BP is fine, cardiogram looks perfect. So he asks, “how are you feeling” – scared, I stated I was feeling some upper chest pressure into my lower arm. “You’re saying all the right things” he remarked. Who do you want to see for a cardiologist? My response- “Patrick Corcoran, M.D., Cardiovascular Disease, Interventional Cardiology specialist and all around “Good Guy”!
Now, The Frydmans and Dr. C. go long back- the story often told is how my saintly father, Jack Frydman, the guy who would give you the shirt off his own back- (you notice I get this same trait from him) – worked at St. Francis Hospital and met this young intern- you guessed it Pat C. One day, my dad noticed Dr. C. was not having any lunch, inquisitive Dad asked, “what’s with you not eating”? Dr. C., “I’m broke, no funds from home yet.” Leave it to my pop to buy the young Dr. C. a meal and make sure he never went hungry. So there ya go- great story!
So off I go to Doctor Corcoran’s office- my cardiogram is fine, B. P. is ok- I’m over weight- so let’s do a tread mill stress test- failed! Next a nuclear stress test – it measures blood flow to your heart at rest and while your heart is working harder as a result of exertion or medication. The test provides images that can show areas of low blood flow through the heart and damaged heart muscle- mine provides a False Positive- hmmmmm?
Another visit to Dr. C. – he decides to do a lookie-loo at St. Francis with an angioplasty on Friday.
I arrive on Friday at 9:00am – admitting office at S.F- terrific and fast- you know me- had a great discussion on the history of the hospital while I waited for transport to my private room on the third floor. In quick succession, off with the clothes- ALL CLOTHES, on with the “johnny”, IV needle installed and then received a buzz cut shave all over- yep- there too! No water, no food and I wait for my appointed time to receive the procedure- the aforementioned angioplasty. Dr. C. and team of four men and one woman. Literally I don’t feel a thing- but I hear Dr. C. say, “you should have been here yesterday”- I don’t believe it Howard but you are 99% totally blocked”, as he shows me the video image. It literally looks like a thread is tied around the arteries- blocking off the blood. Later on a nite nurse states I have the “Widow-maker”! Lucky me!!
I’m calm, I’m stoic, I realize I am saving my own life. Surgeon- Dr. Martinez will do the surgery. The hospital staff have been wonderful. I share with them photos of some of my famous friends such as Governor Malloy, actress Johanna Morrison and even my turn as the City of Hartford’s SANTA Claus. The cuisine may not be like that prepared by our friend the celebrated Chef Maria Rosu, but it’s fresh and hot and I just love their Chocolate Mousse Parfait.
Well friends- that’s it in a nutshell- it is still Saturday and I have two more days to prepare for my “Big Adventure”.