Skip to main content

I'm So Vein


“Everything can change in an instant.”

“Things can change in the blink of an eye.”

“Life can turn on a dime.”


We’ve all heard the quotes. Whether you’re into time, body parts or currency, chances are you’ll think or utter one of those at some point. When we reach the age of fifty to somewhere over the rainbow, most likely we’ll relate such a phrase to a health issue.


For some reason as we start to near the end of the age range chart we’re supposed to be in our “golden years.” I’m not sure what’s “golden” because everyone’s hair is turning sliver and their hips and knees are titanium. I guess we need to check with Dorothy, Rose, Blanche or Sophia. Just turn on the late-night Hallmark Channel they’re waiting on the lanai with cheesecake and answers. 


My once busy schedule of partying at clubs, mall shopping with friends, and personal trainer sessions is now dominated with doctor’s office visits. My calendar is filled with “ist’s” dates —dentist, gastroenterologist, urologist, psychologist, nutritionist, and podiatrist’s appointments. 


Let me see if I can fit in a haircut between a gum recession check and a colonoscopy. Late-night make-out sessions at the hot dance club are just hazy memories, Now, I’m getting felt up at 8:15 AM by my proctologist. “Bend over and cough,” is my new love language. 


I’ve had mostly everything probed and prodded except for the most important body part— the heart. I’m definitely at the age when someone should take a look under the hood of the old Ferrari. Hey, I thought my engine was still purring along fine. Guess what? I’m not a good mechanic.


The cardiologist immediately wanted a baseline so he ordered a stress test. Whenever I hear test it means time to study. I needed to ace this thing like an Olympian. I bought new running shoes, dusted off the treadmill and got to work. I stressed about the stress test. 


My intentions were top-rate but my time on the treadmill was minimal. My relationship with my treadmill is like a conjugal visit— I get on it when I can. Important life things got in my way. You know, other doctor’s appointments, lunch dates with friends, trips to Barnes & Noble and binge-watching Prime Video, Netflix, Apple+ and Hulu. An episode of The Handmaid’s Tale could do as much for my heart as a session on the treadmill.


The day of my test arrived. I tied up my new Hoka’s assured I’d be leaving the hospital with an A+ score. The first part of the test was a 2D echocardiogram. I laid on my side while a tech ran a special wand over my chest. It was a bit like being in the infirmary at Hogwarts.


I heard squishing noises and sounds like a Maytag agitator. I expected some “Ohhhs” and “Awws” of approval but the only thing I heard was my heart working. I guess this was a cardiac SAT. I’d wait for the results online.


The stress test was next. I was prepped in a room with monitors and a treadmill. Three nurses were present, one to check the monitors, one to take my blood pressure and one to watch General Hospital on her phone. 


There were more wires hooked on me than the Rockefeller Christmas tree. I was put on the treadmill and advised the speed and incline would increase as the test progressed. A video screen was in front of me. I watched the tops of mountains and heavenly clouds drift by. I guess this is where I was going if I failed the test.


As I trudged along, the pace quickened. I was headed upward like a 737 during takeoff. The blood pressure nurse kept yanking my left arm checking the cuff and exchanging eye signals with the monitor nurse like a CIA operative. Something was awry. My blood pressure was dropping instead of rising. It’s not the way the physiology is supposed work. They stopped the test. “Oh no, I’m getting an F.” My feet were pumping but my heart was in spiral.


The nurse asked if I was dizzy— I wasn’t. I felt fine. My mouth was dry from the exertion. I was told to lie down on a stretcher. All I needed was a drink. Isn’t that why there are cup holders on treadmills? Just hydrate me. I wanted to yell, “Look bitches, I just scaled the Alps with the Von Trapps. Don’t make me call Mother Superior. Give me some damn water!”


So, I was a stress test flunkee. Then, my catheterization was a bust. Thankfully not of my arteries. It’s good they give you drugs before the procedure. When the doctor told me I had severe blockage, I was floating in the wonderment of gaining access to Cardiac Wonderland. An insurance paid trip through It’s A Small Bypass World.


In a matter of days, I went from needing a baseline to hoping I wouldn’t flatline. I immediately go to Google whenever I receive news of a medical concern. Knowledge is power or so I thought. WARNING! Don’t check out WebMD or any sites before a medical prodecure unless you’ve had a Xanax martini followed by a Valium chaser. 


I scoured the internet relentlessly. I was Nancy Drew looking for that damn hidden staircase. All the information I read gave me visions of a Frankenstein operation. I pictured being strapped to a table with lightening flashing above me. A buzz saw grinding and my heart being batted around the room by a cattle prod. Yes, I have a wild imagination— I’m a writer.


I know it’s nothing like that or at least there’s no lighting. I now await a surgical consultation. It’s surreal to think the doctor could take a selfie with my heart. It’s helpful to look at the good aspects of surgery. I’m asking the surgeon if he can tighten up my man boobs and give me a Gucci zipper. My cleavage can be fashion forward. He’ll be working in the area, so why not?


I’m being positive. I have great support from family and friends. My heart is full— of plaque. I’m a survivor and I’ll make it. There will be a new me with a zipper and fantastic pecs.


Recent Posts

Waking Up in Vegas - Happy 2014!

Neither, Gary or I, are really gamblers, so we try to find other activities to occupy our time when visiting Vegas. We have visited Red Rock, Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire State Park on previous visits. We had even traveled as far as Zion National Park in Utah, during an earlier stay. There are definitely natural beauties to discover while in Nevada, and they have nothing to do with showgirls or stripper poles. This visit was about relaxation and ringing in the New Year, so we didn’t need to stray far from Vegas this time. We bought tickets for a concert featuring Kristin Chenoweth. She is a very talented singer and actress best known from Broadway shows, movies, and multiple guest appearances on GLEE. The concert was on New Year’s Eve at the newly built Smith Center. Although she is about three feet tall, Kristin has a powerhouse voice. She sang songs from her career and, of course, sang one of my favorites “For Good” from WICKED. It was a great way to

Mental Health - Destroy the Stigma

I believe that I am a fearless writer. I share my personal experiences, thoughts and beliefs. I’ve not been afraid to express my emotions. Self-expression is fundamental to writing. I am a man of my words Recently, I became concerned that my blogs about depression and mental health might shape my reader’s opinions of me in a negative way.   The more I thought about it, I realized that I had internalized the stigma that surrounds mental health. Stigma is defined as “a mark of disgrace or infamy.” The word bears a negative connotation and it devalues the person to whom the stigma is applied. While the conversation about mental health is receiving a larger forum, damaging misconceptions are widespread. According to surveys, there are between 42.5-46 million adults in the US that have some type of mental illness.   Statistics show that one in four adults experience mental illness in a given year. These numbers of individuals are all impacted in some manner by the sti

Summer Adventures Part 2 – The Backyard Backlot to Broadway

  My childhood summers weren’t all the glitz and glamor of vacationing with cousins, wobbly shopping carts and bloody feet. Actually, most of my summer days were spent right at home in my yard. My parents never took a vacation. Our family never packed its bags and took off for other ports of call.   I never boarded a plane, a boat, or a train for a family adventure. My adventures were self-created. They were products of an imaginative mind that could travel to the moon, ride the rapids in the Amazon Jungle and lead a battle for the Knights of the Round Table, all before a lunch of Spaghettios with a side of Hawaiian Punch . I have always loved going to the movies. This helped provide the inspiration to my over active mind. The Saturday afternoon matinee was a childhood staple for me. The smell of fresh popcorn as you entered the lobby and the crisp cold air of the air-conditioned theater helped set the atmosphere on those hot, summer afternoons. I would get lost in the dark with

Depression, Drugs & DNA

When diagnosed with Clinical Depression, my doctor recommended medication to help the illness. The art of medication management can challenge professionals who need to find the right drug and dosage that will be effective for treatment. It’s frustrating for patients combating the effects of depression when their medication doesn’t quite alleviate the symptoms. Part of this cocktail of drugs can also cause intolerable side effects ·       Sleepiness ·       Insomnia ·       Dizziness ·       Weight Gain ·       Headaches ·       Increased Anxiety ·       Sexual Problems ·       Nausea The feeling of hopelessness and frustration is just compounded when you’re waiting for relief that never really arrives. There are so many drugs available for the treatment of depression. It can be daunting to find the right one for you. I feel that I have taken the PDR of depression medications. There’s always been the chase for the one that would tu

Communication - The Art of Words

I read a posting, a few weeks ago, that the song “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode was celebrating its 25 th anniversary. The song, released in 1990, speaks of how you can be beyond words. It relays the message that there are times when words can’t describe feelings or emotions and seem inconsequential. I do understand when people say that something is “indescribable.” We all have moments when we just want silence and time to appreciate the world beyond words.   A feeling or an emotion can be hard to verbalize at times, but are we ever beyond words? We have to realize that if we want a space of non-communication we have to communicate that. We can’t “Enjoy the Silence” unless we can tell everyone we want silence.   For people to know we are at a loss for words, we have to tell them that. Everything we say and do lies in communication. We could not function as a community or a society without it. We don’t stop to contemplate that our whole world is created fro