Just Venting

Tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. I go into Lenox Hill Hospital for a 1:30 p.m. surgery date with Dr. Paresh Shah.  The event is the closing of a pouch that has opened off my esophagus and increasingly over the last 3 years interfered with my eating while encouraging both my belching and vomiting.  On the positive side, it has also led to my losing about 15 pounds and developing a mutually beneficial relationship with the fine folks who manufacture, distribute and profit from Ensure, milk shakes and a remarkable variety of soups and hot fudge sundaes.  Still on the up side, the diverticulum has led me to eat taking small bites slowly, chewing thoroughly and being content with less food per meal.  In short and often sweet–and Buddhistically abstract– the virtues of patience and persistence are closer to being significantly more mine than ever before.

Some other ultimately positive consequences of this particular turn of fate:

  • Both my primary care physician, a Dr. Altman (who is actually quite young and who is now my PCP because my designated PCP, Dr. Aron,  has apparently decided that my health is not sufficiently interesting that he would enjoy or be challenged  continuing in that role) and my cardiologist, Dr. Janis, who replaced my now retired cardiologist, Dr. Cagin, in approving me for surgery both suggested that a man of my 70 years would do wisely to either reduce his work hours or retire altogether.
  • My work supervisor, when made aware of the opinions of these gentlemen through my expressed desire to comply with their wisdom, denied my request to lop 8 hours off my weekly schedule while offering no opposition to the social worker whom I [allegedly] supervise reducing his work week by 10 hours.
  • For the second time in 17 years I am actually considering working somewhere other than Samaritan Village’s Highbridge facility.  Both fortunately and unfortunately the city is filled with opportunities to help those struggling with addictions, criminality, fear and denial.  Chances are actually pretty good that someone out there (HEY!  ARE YOU READING THIS, SOMEONE OUT THERE?) will find me appropriate to join with them in this deeply rewarding work.
  • Me being more in love with Bobbie than ever!  (I could try and try mightily to explain this, but I’d fail.  You have to believe me on this one.)  I did just upload this photo of her and Mrs. Sipowicz onto my MP3 player.

The mp3


valuable possession I’ll have with me in the hospital–despite being told “Bring no valuablepossessions.”  It’ll hold about 65 music albums and photos of family and friends and a special and separate album of this particular snap.  I’ve known Bobbie since 1957.  She’s never looked or been more beautiful than she is now.  I mean, look at those weird-assed toes!  Does Kim Kardashian have toes like that?  Or Kate Bekinsale or any of A’mare’s nameless companions?  But I rhapsodize…

  • Another positive in all this is that, rather than simply accepting and living with the diverticulum, I am accepting and living with the possibilities of modern medicine.  Two years ago I underwent a procedure to open the sucker wider so that nothing would actually get trapped in it.  Result: a failure from the git-go.  Then came two years of working hard to live with it, only to see it grow more and more demanding, more and more intrusive of my relationship with lobsters, pizza and Elisia’s pulled pork.  It wasn’t that I feared this surgery, but rather that I’d lost faith in medicine’s ability to actually succeed.  While that faith hasn’t been restored, my feeling now is, “What the hell.  They’ve got to earn a living too.  Let’s give this another try before I lose/give up my job and no longer have health insurance that matters.”
  • There’s also great satisfaction in knowing that the paperwork is done: the Living Will, Advance Directive and the pledge of my corpse to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine are written and delivered, and that, in the event of a massive foul-up, all I own or lay claim to will go to Bobbie.
  • I didn’t think of this one before, but I may have been motivated to put my photo book, See All As My Path!, on sale as  a way for folks to have access to some tangible artifact of my having passed through.  Interesting it is, how Buddhism and age and a year studying the foundations of chaplaincy and volunteering in a hospice seem to have taken much of the sting out of thinking and writing of my own death.  Of course this is no guarantee against my coming up to that final moment, bursting into tears and screaming at the then top of my lungs, “NOOOOOO!”  Whatever, we’ll find out then.


Listen, thanks for putting up with this.  I’ve not done a real rant in quite a while.  I’ve also not admitted or–often–even been aware of all I might have been feeling when it came out all of it’s own.  That’s the beauty of writing for an audience you trust.



Now here’s your final challenge: Find Snapper!

Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm  Comments (4)