I give my heart to you


Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

May 15, 2016 GMT
Jon maddog Hall

Hello my friends,

Please forgive me for using this method of telling you what has happened to me this past week, but since I have been writing about Free and Open Source Software and Culture in this blog for many years, I hope to reach most of those people who care about my writing and actions through this medium. For those of you who feel that only technical issues should be discussed here, I promise not to write about my health issues any more.

About 2100 hours on Sunday, May 8th I had a bad case of stomach gas that I attributed to food poisoning. I had a pain in my chest, but every time I burped (and released a huge amount of gas) the pain subsided. I went to bed but kept waking up to burp, and eventually I tried to vomit to get rid of my bad food, but there was no food in my stomach. At 0600 Monday morning I started for the hospital.

I arrived there about 0640 hours and was admitted to the emergency room. Ten minutes later I was in the Operating Room, dealing with a massive heart attack. I had two blockages, one was 80% and one was 100%. A cut was made to an artery on my wrist and two stents were worked up the artery into the heart to open the blood flow to the heart. I was out of the operating room in about an hour.

As of Tuesday night I had no pain in my chest. I was walking around the hospital floor, starting my "therapy" as of Wednesday morning. And I was eating really bland food, since my diet is now (and probably forever) marked "Consistent Carbs (i.e. no sugars due to my diabetes) and "Heart Friendly" (i.e. no fats or salt). You can mark that "tasteless" and "small portions". I have already lost six pounds with no real exercise.

The good news is that my long-range diet might allow me 12 oz of beer every day, so if I do not drink for a week I can have 84 oz of beer on Sunday night.

They do not know how extensive the damage to my heart is. On the good side I am free of pain and actually have more "low action" energy than I have had in a long time. I think the 80% blockage has been there for a year or more, and had evidenced itself in my being tired after meals (any meals, even breakfast) to the point I would almost fall asleep. I think this was due to the amount of blood needed to digest the food and my poor heart could not do two things at one time....digest food and keep me awake. I also huffed and puffed doing little things that I could do before, but chalked that up to age and being "out of shape."

We will know in two or three months how extensive the damage is and what this means to my lifestyle, but in the meantime my travel is limited. As my doctor pointed out, they do not have emergency rooms at 70,000 feet in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

What does this mean for the long run? Well, I probably will not be doing any foot races for a long time, but if my heart recovers enough I might be able to do a long walk.

Also I was just kidding about the 84 oz. of beer on Sunday. I will have to lose weight, which will help with both my diabetes and my heart. The good news is that hot sauces work well with both diets. Crushed red peppers and small amounts of "Widow" do not even show up on the charts.

The reduction in beer consumption is not so fortunate, but I can have some every once in a while. In reality I have cut back on been consumption for some time now.

On Friday the doctor let me go home.

I will be setting up my home office and cleaning out 65+ years of clutter. You may see some interesting objects appear out of the treasure chest of what is maddog's home.

I hope you will have me around for a long time, much to Microsoft's and Apple's chagrin.

For my faithful readers of this blog and my news articles, this is probably the last time I will mention this issue here, but I would be remiss without making this warning, especially since a lot of my friends are approaching “my age”.....

I have never been a health magnet, most of my life I was overweight, with rare instances of normal weight. However, all these years my cholesterol levels and blood pressures have been low with my diabetes being under control. Even before my diabetes I used no sugar in my coffee and drank diet sodas. I never smoked and while I drank alcohol it was mostly drinking in a social setting. I hardly ever drank at home or while alone. I kept my name “maddog” to remind me not to lose my temper and to keep my stress levels low.

What I did not do is exercise. From time to time I would crawl back on my bicycle or go into a three-day a week walking regime, but exercise was not really in my blood.  I never had "six-pack abs", nor even a two-pack.

And I did not go for check-ups a lot.

From my viewpoint the last was the biggest issue for my case, not my weight, cholesterol, salt in my diet, diabetes, blood pressure, tobacco smoking, the amount of alcohol I drank or my homosexuality. For the past two years I felt weak and exhibited signs of low energy. I should have gone for an MRI and electrocardiogram of my heart at age 65, and every so many years after. I should not have accepted these feelings as just “old age”.

So my friends (and especially those of you who are “a little older”), please go to your doctor and get a cardiac check up, even if you “feel good”, and especially if you don't.  And when that chest pain comes and you are trying to decide if it is "just a bad case of gas" or a heart attack, call for help.

Let's all stay around a bit longer, just to give those closed-source people some more grief.

One last thing.  I would like to give a heartfelt (no pun intended) "Thank you" and my admiration for Dr. Berry and the entire staff of St. Joseph's Hospital in Nashua, New Hampshire.  How do you thank people for saving your life?

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