A Bad Day in the Neighborhood!

I just found out some friend’s applied for a loan modification under the (new) Federal Program, after she was laid off.  My friends, let’s call them ‘D & C’, contacted their lender the day after she was let go.  They got the paperwork filled out, signed, and registered with the modification program and were faithful with their house payment.  C even contacted their mortgage holder monthly to check status of their modification.  She was told all is well and it is at the Underwriter’s each time she checked.  (Of course, she was never able to talk to the same person twice.)

About four months ago D & C received a letter from their mortgage company stating they were approximately $7 grand in arrears.  They contacted their mortgage company and were told the letter was a “mistake” and to not worry about it. They were also told they should skip making the next three or four payments to help their modification application along.  They declined to not make payments as they hadn’t missed any before.  C called again October 1 to check on their application and was given the same answer as before.  Then the mail came that afternoon after her call.

A foreclosure notice.  Their application was rejected and the mortgage company was preparing to file foreclosure papers on their home.  They are devastated, to say the least!  They did everything they were asked to do except skip payments – they didn’t think that would be very smart.  No answers from anyone contacted, so far, as to why the application was rejected.  They feel like their property is being stolen from them.  The payment was reduced by the mortgage company and signed and notarized by all parties to make it legal and yet they are told in the foreclosure notice they are $12K in arrears?  How is that possible?  They did not ask for their payment to be reduced, they applied for a loan modification, and the mortgage company voluntarily reduced the payment.  How can they come back and say “Oh, guess what?  Kings X!”  Their attorney just shrugged his shoulders and said “Oh well”…  My friend said it best: “Another American dream, murdered by a federal program.”

I wish I knew how to stop this abuse.  I know there is an election coming that might have an impact, but it will be too late for them.  The movers will be here in a few days.  I know I will shed a few more tears for them when I see the moving truck show up.  Our neighborhood will be poorer without them!

Sorry to butcher a quote from Mr. Rodgers: It’s a bad day in the neighborhood…

Published in: on October 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What’s Going On? Part 2

Did you see the interview of the wife of the assassinated jet-ski rider on Fox & Friends this morning?  It was heartbreaking, to say the least!  The Mexican authorities are ignoring her requests to recover her husband’s remains, and, of course, our own President and his cabinet are ignoring her pleas, as well.   I’m guessing there is some sort of political gain to be had for them to blow her off.  This just breaks my heart.  I wish I were in a position to help her.  For our government to ignore her is unforgivable, and for the Mexican Government to ignore her cries for help is immoral.

Seems to me the local authorities should tell the Federal and Mexican authorities to go to hell and go find the man and bring him back to his family.  That probably won’t happen – no one in power wants an “international incident”. I guess those that have the power to do something are concerned about the reaction of the pirates/terrorists/drug cartels…  Our government won’t lift a finger to help for fear of insulting someone, other than a US citizen, and the Mexican authorities don’t have the ability, or the will power, to combat terrorists on their own soil.  Yes, I believe this was a terrorist attack on an American Citizen, and our own government refuses to stand up and protect its’ own people out of fear!

All I can do is pray God grants her, and the rest of the family, peace while this unfolds.

Published in: on October 5, 2010 at 10:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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What is going on?

What is going on in the south?  Areas are posted, by the Federal Government, basically stating certain areas of our country are off-limits to us.  What?  Park lands, open areas/spaces are off-limits to us?  Off-limits because Mexican drug gangs and illegal immigrants are threatening US citizens, and have, in fact, killed Americans, shot and wounded Americans on their own property.  This is absolutely unacceptable!

Earlier this week pirates killed a man jet skiing on a Texas lake, and shot at his wife forcing her to leave her husband behind – dead, in the water.  Pirates?  Here instead of the waters off Somolia?  To coin a phrase – This is BS!  Mexican Terrorists are murdering American citizens in our backyard.  Where is the outrage?  Where is the media?  Why isn’t our own government doing something to stop this?  No, I am not laying the blame entirely on President Obama or this Congress.  This goes back much further than the current Administration.  This whole mess goes back longer than I’ve been alive, and that means mid-1950s.

Well, the problem can no longer be ignored.  There is a war being waged on our southern border.  The Border Patrol is not large enough nor strong enough to wage this war.  Nor is it their job.  Private citizens should not have to wonder if they are going to be engaged by hostile forces for the simple act of walking out of their own homes, into their front or back yards.  Why is this being allowed to happen?  Why is this a political event?

Mr. President.  Members of Congress.  There is a war being waged on our southern border.  This is a Clear and Present Danger to the security of the United States of America!  Our military must be deployed to our southern border and they must be authorized to engage and destroy the enemies of our Country by force of arms.  This war is no different than those being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and should be treated in the same manner.

Mr. President, let loose the Dogs of War! If it takes our troops maneuvering into Mexico to close with and kill the enemy, so be it.  Mexico seems unwilling or unable to control the enemies within, so we must do it for them!  Who knows what alliances drug cartels have made with Al Qaeda, Taliban, and/or other terrorist organizations.  These cartels are killing private citizens,politicians, journalists, police, and military personnel for the crime of not agreeing to be controlled by these Drug Kings.  They are terrorists themselves.  This is not a law enforcement situation!  This is War!  This war needs to be fought like a real war and not just given lip service.

Mr. President.  You need to take action immediately!  This is within your power as Commander-in-Chief to resolve.  You swore an oath to Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.  Mr. President, don’t you think it is time for you to abide by that oath?  Otherwise, can you tell us, what is going on?

Gun Bans

I am attaching a link to an article written by John Lott.  I could not have spoken as eloquently as he, so…

Yesterday’s wild shooting spree at the University of Texas fortunately ended without anyone being hurt before the gunman shot himself.  Naturally, the incident has yet again raised the question over gun bans, such as the ban currently in effect at the University of Texas.  http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/09/29/gun-bans-dont-work/

Published in: on September 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

What to do?

Okay.  I am thinking of starting a new blog regarding technology.  This blog would cover things I am interested in like the Android OS, tablets, smart-phones, and the like.  I am no geek, techie, or whatever term you care to use, but I am fascinated by the products and applications coming out on, seemingly, a daily basis.

I have applied to Google to be approved to download the Android App Inventor, and am anxiously waiting for them to approve my request.  I am excited to get the opportunity to produce useful applications particularly with the news Auto mfgr are going to install smart-phone links to new models.

What an exciting time!  Any suggestions for a new blog name?  (Keep it clean, folks.)

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 11:37 am  Leave a Comment  

VMT & Trusting Government to do the Right Thing!

The Denver Post suggests one solution to our road woes is to mandate the installation of government monitored/controlled GPS devices in every vehicle to track vehicle miles traveled. A so-called VMT fee. Are they serious? They want the government – state and federal, because the feds control GPS satellites – to have the ability to monitor our whereabouts 24 hours per day/7 days a week? I am sure we can trust the government to not abuse or misuse this information. Government at all levels is far too intrusive now. Would they feel better if tracking devices were surgically implanted in us so “fees” could be assessed by the state or feds for any reason whatsoever? Maybe the state legislature(s) should stop wasting monies received for road infrastructure we already receive by spending it as intended on the roads instead of new progressive social programs. Maybe Governors, legislators (at all state/local levels) quit believing the federal government when they say “We will fund these programs for you. You can trust us. Take the money, spend it, it’s free…”

I shouldn’t be surprised media types spout this kind of nonsense, but I am. How can someone who is supposed to be a watchdog of the government make such a suggestion to approve of such an intrusive measure? How many Constitutional violations would the implementation of this measure cause? How would the Fourth Estate respond if a group of citizens or a government agency caused a measure to be instituted that required news stories to be pre-approved by an appointed citizen group to ensure these stories don’t favor one side or another? Do you think they might get a tad upset? Might voice an opinion their Constitutional Rights are being violated? Might sue to have Freedom of Speech rights validated?

I have to wonder if the Denver Post, and possibly other media outlets, weren’t asked to float this idea to the ignorant masses to see if such a mandate is feasible? After all, the Post advocated implementation of SmartGrid technology which is an appalling privacy violation. Not only can utilities see your daily schedule, so can government monitoring agencies, all in the name of efficiency, of course. They claim the need to monitor our household activities is vital so resources can be better allocated. This is similar to the need to see us naked at the airport to combat terrorism. We were told these naked images of us would not be kept nor would an actual photo of us in or near the scanners be allowed. Gosh, guess what? Photos coupled with images are kept and are, apparently, showing up on the Internet. A TSA agent is in trouble with a local law enforcement agency after he beat up a co-worker who made fun of the size of his genitalia after seeing his body scan.

Sure, we can trust the government not to misuse private information they keep on citizens. After all, where in history has any government misused this information? It couldn’t possibly happen here, could it?

Published in: on September 19, 2010 at 10:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Absentee Voting

The Colorado SOS finally did the right thing by insisting counties follow federal law and get absentee ballots mailed to those in uniform defending Freedom’s Cause overseas!  Hurrah for small miracles!  I didn’t think our SOS would even try…  I find it astounding that an elected official would even think of trying to deny the right to vote to our men and women in uniform much less whine about having to follow the law because it is too hard or for some other moronic reason (apologies to all morons out there for my comparing the Colorado SOS to them).  I just hope the ballots do not arrive too late for them to be returned in time to be counted.

Published in: on September 19, 2010 at 8:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Summer Fun! Part 2

Fast forward seven days. Late morning, Wednesday, June 16. Working on a cup of coffee and enjoying my second cigar of the day while sitting outside. Chest starts getting tight. I’m thinking I’m just freaking myself out. I wait a bit and call the wife. “Can you come get me and take me to the Doctor? I’m sure it’s nothing, but…” ‘V’ pulls in and off we go to the clinic. I’m telling her I’m just having an anxiety attack. No big deal.

Same deal as before at the clinic. Get his co-pay before he passes out… This time though, the Doctor calls an ambulance since my ekg is “indeterminate”. Off to St. Joe ER, but no lights and siren, just a leisurely drive in the back of an ambulance with the wife following in the car.

ER Doc watches my ekg for a couple of hours and has blood taken a couple of times. She sends me to Observation until they decide what they are going to do with me. ‘V’ and I are certain I am going home around 10 p.m., or so. Not so fast… My blood work is still indeterminate so they decide to keep me, at least overnight. Crap! I send ‘V’ home – I tell her I’ll send you a text to let you know what room they tie me down in. Off to the fifth floor where I am greeted by a couple of nurses and a nurse’s assistant. After answering 640 questions I finally get to turn off the lights and close my eyes around 2 a.m.

I don’t really sleep just kind of doze, you know. I meet the day shift nurse ‘A’. I like her, very professional, you (or, at least, I could) can tell she really cares. She has me get out of bed so she can check me over. She asks me if I have any cuts or sores on my backside. Umm, not sure since I can’t see back there… “Okay”, she says, “turn around and hold you gown out in front of you.” She pokes and prods and declares my backside fit for duty, or use, whatever… ‘A’ has me lie back down and says she wants to look at my original wound now not covered in gauze, and the awesome bruise. Again, gown over my head. I’m thinking “Great. More show and tell for the hospital staff.” She gives me my meds and tells me to take a couple of sips of water to get them down. She also hands me a med I don’t recognize and I asked what it was. “Stool softener” she responds. Stool softener? I ask, “Why, when I haven’t had anything to eat, and not much to drink, should I bother with a stool softener?” She smiles and says she can’t suggest I not take meds, but I can decline them. Gosh, I actually made a good choice.

I meet my cardiac doctor shortly after playing show and tell with Nurse ‘A’ Thursday morning, and he tells me my blood work showed elevated levels of a protein that only appears after you have a heart attack, but the levels could just be an anomaly since it’s only been nine days since my original “event”. (I love that term – event…) He tells me he has ordered me on a no food and no water list since he wants to have another heart catheter procedure done to ensure my stent hasn’t moved or another vessel isn’t blocked. “Sure”, I tell him, “but I’m not interested in you performing a fishing expedition, rather than fixing something.” (I keep telling you I am the funniest guy I know! He didn’t even blink.) He says he going to consult with the other cardiac docs in his practice including the one who is on call at the hospital today and the doctor who installed my stent, and he would let me know when, what, and whatever. I am scared! I know what is going to happen this time, and I am scared out of my wits. I wonder if June 17 will be the day I die.

The floor Charge Nurse comes in close to noon, asks me how I’m doing and not to worry and tells me the Heart Catheter Lab folks are on their way to get me. What? Nobody has said a thing? My wife isn’t even here yet – I call her and tell her to head my way, and I was on my way to a fishing expedition.

I’m wheeled into the lab waiting area and three nurses come out to talk to me and tell me what they are going to be doing, and ask me how I am.

I am scared and more than a bit embarrassed to be in this situation. Not to worry, they say. We do this all the time, so no need to be embarrassed. “Well, I don’t do this all the time, so, yes, I can be embarrassed unless you all want to remove all your clothes while you work on me.” They smile politely and say “we will come get you and see you in a few minutes.” Oh yes, they are going to be getting an eyeful… Well, I am back on the moving table (tray, if you prefer), and my three lovely nurses are standing next to me. Gown gently lifted and tucked under my chin. One of the nurses grabs my package and begins shaving away on my left side while carrying on a conversation with the other nurses who are watching. “Great”, I think, “now I have a Mohawk” The nurse wielding the razor tells her friends she is “much more aggressive shaving than they are.” They ignore my mutterings – almost like being home talking to the wife.

The Doctor comes up to me and introduces himself, and explains the procedure. He tells me the possible downside like I’d heard before the stent was installed. (It’s like I had to go into the shop for some non-warranty repairs or something…) I respond to just “do it.” So, he does. No pain this time – no emergency, so the drugs (?) had time to take effect. All done, and my three nurses take over. I can feel them applying pressure – can’t look, “Stay flat on your back. Don’t raise you head. Don’t move your leg.” they say. I look down my nose toward them, and see one take over applying pressure from another, so now, instead of a wrist close to my package, I have fingers resting on me… Sure, don’t move. Whatever… After applying direct pressure on my gauze covered wound for 15 or 20 minutes the nurses pronounce the bleeding stopped. About that time the Doctor tells me he didn’t find any new damage or any issues with my stent. I tell him “Thank you!” So, maybe I won’t die today. Though, I am still scared, and I wonder if this is how I am going to spend the rest of my life. My three lovely nurses wheel me back to my room, and, along the way, explain to me why I need to have my floor nurse place a urine catheter in me. Don’t want to keep that nasty dye in your kidneys longer than you need to, they say. “Great”, I think, “another opportunity to be viewed and abused.”

Back in bed in my room. Nurse ‘A’ comes in and asks how I’m doing. I tell her fine, and then tell her what the cath lab nurses strongly suggested. She says, “So, you want a Foley Catheter?” (I am so embarrassed, and I tell her so. She ignores me. She understands I’m being this way because I am scared.) Do I want one? “No, but based on how uncomfortable I was without one last week, you had better install one.” (There we go with another installation…) She raises my bed a bit so she can get to me easier. (She, like the flight nurse, isn’t much bigger than a sneeze.) Gown up over my head, exposing my new gauze covered wound, old wound, awesome bruise, and new Mohawk haircut. She grabs me and begins explaining what she is doing at every step of the way. (Me, I’m trying not to embarrass myself with any changes in direction or length of my package. I am not used to any female holding me and moving their fingers about me who isn’t my wife! Success, no embarrassment, barely!) “Okay, now for the placement of the catheter. Breathe in and out, slowly, five times, please. I am going to start inserting the tubing into your bladder on the fifth exhale, so just keep breathing slowly.” I begin breathing. On the fifth exhale I feel her trying to insert a six inch fire hose down my package. It is decidedly uncomfortable! I am trying not to squirm, raise my head or move enough to break open my gauze covered wound. Then, relief. She warns me that when the night nurse removes the catheter in the early evening, it will be uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as it will be the first time I need to urinate once it’s out. (She was right!) Near the end of Nurse ‘A’s shift, I thanked her for her care, concern, and dealing with my fear and embarrassment. I was in tears before I finished. She was awesome! The rest of the evening was uneventful save the occasional screaming emanating from my room whenever I needed to go potty.

Friday morning, and not only was I glad to see my cardiologist, ‘A’ was my nurse again! “So, what time do I get to go home?” I asked. Well, he hasn’t decided if I am going to leave that day or Saturday; although, he was leaning for Friday afternoon. I asked if I could take a shower. The answer was no. He would allow a hand towel bath but only if I had help. Oh, joy, another opportunity to exercise self-control… I expressed my joy at seeing her (‘A’) again and informed her of what the doctor had said regarding my shower. She said she’d take care of it. “Hi, I’m ‘J’, and I am your nurse assistant, and I’ll be helping you take a bath today, Mr. H.” Great, 25 maybe, blonde, extraordinarily good looking. Oh, I’m going to have difficulty not showing her more than she really wants to see, I am sure… I tell her, “Bet you weren’t expecting to be bathing a 56 year old fat man, were you?” She giggles and says it doesn’t matter. Just part of her job. Me? I’m trying not to poke her in the eye… I get to go home later that day, but before I do, the rest of the morning and early afternoon is spent with folks coming and going and inspecting my gauze covered wound, awesome bruise, and Mohawk haircut. On my way out of the hospital, I tell ‘A’ Thank You! I also tell her she is an Angel, my Angel!

Our friend, ‘T’ comes over a couple of weeks after I get home to see how I am and how ‘V’ is after this ordeal. I ask ‘T’, if she’d like to see my awesome bruise. She says, “Sure”. I move my towel around so she can see this awesome bruise. Her hand flies to her mouth and she exclaims “Oh, ‘B’!” I look at her and wonder why she is so pale and swaying on her feet. She sits down, hand held at the base of her throat looking at me like I’m some sort of monster or something. Welcome home…

I have not had to go back to the hospital (knock on wood!) since the June 16th “event”. I am most impressed with all of the people I encountered during both visits – Kaiser clinic, EMTs, ER staff, St. Joe floor nurses and staff, Heart Catheter Lab staff, everyone! I get a bit emotional when I think of or talk about the nurses, doctors, assistants, medics, etc., I had the privilege of meeting and interacting with during those six days. My life has been irrevocably changed by my twin heart “events”. I am still emotional but not like I was in the immediate aftermath. Those professionals I was involved with had a tremendously positive impact on me, and I will be forever grateful to them for giving me back my life – twice!

It seems so inadequate to just say Thank you to someone for saving your life, but, until I can think of a better way of expressing myself: Thank you, all of you, who played a part in giving me my life back – twice!

Published in: on September 16, 2010 at 5:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Technology & Old Guys

Okay. I am the first to acknowledge I am no tech whiz-kid or whiz-elder, whatever you prefer. I know just enough to be dangerous – to myself and others. Most notably because everyone knows I do NOT play well with others. It has to be done my way and by my rules which change as needed…  Nope, old guys don’t play fair!

I signed up with twitter and have posted some nonsensical stuff and some stuff that does make sense, but I digress. My twitter moniker is: PatriotPapa.  I am still learning how to direct tweet and all that other t-word stuff.  Haven’t made anyone’s PC or smartphone crash – yet…

I have also asked Google to allow me access to an Android App (beta) programming program. (redundant in a repetitive sort of way?) The wife and I want to get smartphones soon, and I thought it would be fun to play with app programming to see if I could come up with something useful for us mid-50s folks, and maybe others as well.  I’ve watched the programming videos and am absolutely fascinated with this system!  I am an OpenOffice advocate, and have been for a number of years – it is what I use to write the majority of my blog posts.  I don’t know the history of Android; though, I hope to before too much time passes.

Not sure if I want to wait till late November to purchase said phones and data programs. I may just ask Verizon how much it will cost to drop our service as we only have two and a half months left on our contract. No, I have no plans on staying with Verizon, with whom we have been with for over 17 years, because their data and voice programs are very expensive, and, to some extent, limited, plus they have modified some of their Android phones to list Bing and other MS programs instead of Android Apps.

I am excited about the technological advances we have seen the past couple of years with the tablets and smartphones, in particular. I watched, with not just a little envy, a news report showing a bunch of 5th and 6th graders who were handed brand new Aplle iPads to use for school work. How awesome was that? Not sure who provided the iPads, but they are to be congratulated for helping these kids. I hope other schools are able to do the same for their students before the school year is out!

This old guy is excited about technology and wants to embrace as much of it as he can and contribute to it as best he can.

Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 6:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Summer fun!

Well, I guess I should come clean on my “interesting” summer. I finished mowing the front yard fairly early Monday morning, June 7, and, as was my usual routine, got a cup of coffee and sat down in a lawn chair to drink said coffee and have a cigar. (I love cigars!) In the process of doing this I coughed rather hard – thought I was gonna lose a lung. I attributed this to the dust I inhaled during mowing.

After coughing, I sat down to enjoy the cigar, coffee, and morning. This did not last long – I started to feel a bit uncomfortable. I had a spot about the size of a quarter next to the sternum along the nipple line that felt like I’d pulled a muscle. I tried stretching it out to no avail. I also noticed I had spot pain on the inside of both biceps. I went into the house to drink some orange juice and water – figured I was a bit dehydrated, hence the pains. I made a couple of phone calls and kept trying to get comfortable. Nothing worked. The thought came to me “Maybe you are having a heart attack.” Yeah, right. A heart attack. FFFFPPPPTTTTBBBB! Whatever. I just turned 56 the week before. No way…

Well, the thought persisted – it had to have come from God, because I wouldn’t have thought that. I found a sheet on the fridge that listed signs of a stroke. “Nope, no signs that match stroke. Wonder if there is anything printed on the back… Yep, signs of a heart attack. Hmmm, maybe I am having a heart attack.” So, with that thought in mind, I went upstairs, took two aspirin, took a shower, and got dressed. I moseyed down stairs and grabbed my wallet, keys, and sunglasses and drove to the Kaiser clinic a couple of miles away.

I parked in the south forty of the lot as is my habit, and walked into to clinic up to the check-in desk. The lady greeted me and asked if I had an appointment to see my physician. Nope, I responded, no appointment. She asked the nature of my visit, and I said: “Well, without being overly dramatic, I think I might be having a heart attack.” She said she would call the duty nurse and did I have my Kaiser card, ID, and $30 co-pay – (get the money BEFORE he collapses). Before I could hand over my card and ID, much less the $30 co-pay the nurse was standing by my side. She asked how I was and I told her what I was thinking, and she escorted me upstairs via the elevator. We walked into a room marked “Tornado Shelter” – 2nd floor, mind you – and told me to sit on this examination table/torture device. I parked my fanny on this thing and tried not to fall off. She put on a BP cuff and took the reading, and announced she didn’t like what she was seeing.

Well, people came out of the woodwork! She instructed me to take off my shirt and get comfortable on the examination table. Right, comfortable… I leaned back with the assistance of numerous nurses who were holding my arms and slapping ekg stickies all over my chest. A nurse hands me a teeny-tiny pill and says stick that under your tongue. I ask what it is and she says it’s a Nitro pill. Put it under your tongue now! Another nurse put an oxygen mask on me which pushed my glasses up to my eyebrows. Two other nurses have an arm clutched to their side and are prepping me for an IV in each arm. The nurse on my right got an IV in first and the nurse on my left was not having much luck. She kept telling me to relax while she tried to get a needle in several times… Relax, you’re a pin cushion… After the third or fourth failed attempt near my elbow she tried to put one in the back of my hand, and announced, loudly, “His veins are collapsing!” Well, gosh, that sounded encouraging. She finally got the IV installed; although, I truly do not remember where.

While being used for needle insertion practice the original nurse ran an ekg for my Doctor. He sauntered in a few minutes later and told me he assumed I knew I wasn’t going home this afternoon. Me being me, I asked where I was going, and he said, “The hospital”. OK, no problem, Doc, I drove over here. Which hospital do I need to drive to? He replied, “No, you don’t understand. I’ve called a helicopter for you.” “What do you mean you called a helicopter for me? Glad you called since that means You get to pay for it!” He smiles tolerantly at me and nods his head, and asks “Do you want to call ‘V’ now? No, I’m going to let you call her and give her that bit of news. She can be mad at you, not me!” Keep in mind that even my sharp mind has not figured out I am having a heart attack. I figure they are practicing some sort of drill to justify the $30 co-pay.

About this time someone announces the helicopter is landing out back and the Fire Department is here. The flight nurses came in along with their bright yellow gurney, and helped fill an already crowded room. The gurney was placed by my left side, hooked one of the IV lines and dang near dragged me off the table. I managed to get unhooked from the gurney and looked into the eyes of both nurses – remember, I am laying at a 45 degree angle which means neither nurse is much over five feet tall.

The flight nurses check both IV and oxygen, transfer the oxygen from the clinic to their portable bottle and help me slide over to the gurney. That done, they wheel me out into the hallway where I am greeted by no less than six firemen. I asked the nearest why they were there, and he said they always show up when a helicopter is called. I pointed to my Doctor and said “bill him”. As they are rolling me through the clinic I commented to one of the firemen I was glad I still had on my cargo shorts since no one bothered to put a sheet over me. He just smiled and told me to relax, and continued out the door into the very bright sunshine. Whatever…

On the west side of this clinic are two grass mounds surrounded by standard concrete six inch curbs. No path, no ramp. Just a fairly steep slope to the top of the mound. The flight crew and firefighters have a discussion on how best to get me up the hill. They move me from one side to another while discussing their options. I announced that I could have walked up the damn slope in the time they took to make a decision. They smiled and ignored me. Five firefighters; one pilot and both nurses grabbed the backboard I was on and proceeded up the hill toward the helo. Not all of those carrying me were the same height, so I was not being held level but at a rather awkward down and to the left sort of lean with my feet leading the way. I am trying to keep from sliding off the damn board and the nurses are telling me to lay back and relax.  Sure.

We arrive at the side of the helo – (a Jet Bell Ranger); they put me back on the gurney; strap me on so I won’t fall off, and begin sliding me in the side. It becomes apparent that I am longer than the cabin, and they tell me to move my feet and legs around so they can get me in. Remember, I am strapped down so I can’t fall off, nor move… I wiggle my feet, and they get me locked inside the cabin. My nose is a couple of inches from an air vent in the helo’s ceiling. One flight nurse gets in beside me, and tells me to enjoy the view. What view, the ceiling?… As the pilot takes off the flight nurse strokes my forehead and tells me to relax; there’s nothing to be scared of; the pilot is just taking off. I rolled my head toward her and said “This ain’t my first rodeo.” She puts on her flight helmet, visor down, and starts talking to the pilot. I asked if I got a helmet and she asked if I had a need to talk to the pilot. I said only if I couldn’t convince her to reroute the copter to Central City as I had some coin. She did not go for it. Spoil sport!

Arrival on the roof of St. Joe Hospital in Denver was uneventful – Thank God! – as was my unloading. Turns out the gurney the hospital sent up for me had a bad wheel and the gurney kept bouncing into the walls, head first, as we rolled merrily along. The flight nurse was almost walking on the walls trying to keep me from having collisions along the way. (Somewhere in this process they slipped me some drugs because I felt a bit loopy.) Just before we got to the elevators I looked up and saw two big guys in uniform – not sure if they were Denver cops or hospital security – I looked over to the flight nurse and told her “See, I said we forgot to go thorough TSA.” (I am so funny!) She ignored me but the cops laughed. They rolled me in to what I later found out was the Heart Catheter Lab.

This room was awesome! Large color flat panel plasma screens and robots! Looked like something out of Star Wars or Star Trek. Way cool! I scooted myself off the gurney and onto some cold table and lay flat. Masked people started coming toward me out of the darkness and the noise level increased. A voice from near my feet announced “My name is Steve, and I am one of your nurses today.” I did not ask him for a menu – severe brain fog at that moment. He proceeded to remove my sandals and socks and then asked me to raise my hips as they need me completely naked. “Well”, I said, “Of course you need me naked. Everyone wants to see the old fat man butt naked!” ( I noticed the flight nurse was still in the room along with several hundred others.) Nobody laughed or even paid attention to my discomfort. Almost immediately with the removal of my shorts and underwear another nurse was hovering over my groin shaving me. Geez Louise! What other indignation’s are coming my way? A masked face appeared out of the dark and gave me her name. (Couldn’t even tell you what she said.) Said she is my Doctor and she was going to insert a catheter into my femoral artery to my heart. She further stated this procedure could cause a stroke, or even death. I responded “Let’s just do what you need to do.” Next thing I know I’m trying not to jump to the ceiling! Dang, what the heck was that? That hurt! I fade in and out while on this table and soon the Doctor is leaning over me saying she is done and all appears okay.

They wheel me out of the lab and tell me I need to lay still and not lift my head or move my right leg at all. We stop by a room; the Doc goes in and comes out with ‘V’ and my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and middle niece. The Doctor ignores me and tells my wife, et al, that a stent was placed in one of my arteries, and that I had two smaller arteries partially blocked; although, she could not do anything to correct the blockage because they were too small. She stated the damage was “very, very, minimal” and I should be okay. Off we go to my room, entourage in tow. The nurses slid me off the gurney and on to one of those wonderful hospital beds. You know, the ones with the plastic mattress with plastic cover, and 40-thread count sheet. I lay there while they do their medical speak and they all take turns raising my gown over my head so they can look at my gauze-covered wound – along with my shaved groin, of course… One of the nurses informs me I will not be allowed to eat or do anything for a minimum of six hours. Seems if the clot on the femoral artery breaks loose blood can hit a 10 foot ceiling – didn’t happen; though. Nurses come and go checking my gauze covered wound – and my shaved groin – several times an hour. They frown and mutter to themselves and wander out of my semi-private room dragging the separation curtain open so my room-mate and his wife can see my gauze covered wound and shaven groin. After three hours or so a couple of nurses come in to look at me and announce I am “seeping through the gauze!” Seeping what? No response, one of them places her palm on the gauze and leans compressing the gauze and wound; fingers close to my shaven groin. Another nurse leans over to watch, and “adjusts” my package so she can see the gauze better. (I guess…) This goes on for more than five hours when one of the nurses decides to try something else to stem the seepage. (Please note: I have not been to the bathroom since before I took a shower. I have had coffee, juice, water, and no less than two bags of IV fluids and who knows how much dye injected into my veins so the Doctor can see the heart blockage.) Her idea? They have this medieval device they use to stop seepage. It is a leverage device that places a small knob on the wound. A strap is pulled under your backside (of course) and around your hip through an opening near the knob. This strap is then pulled as tight as it can go to force said knob deep into the femoral artery. Gosh, can we do this again? Especially with a bladder as distended as mine! Woo Hoo!!!

They come check on me two hours later. They ask how I’m doing. I can’t answer ’cause I am drowning… They release me from this device – apparently for good behavior – and tell me I can urinate, if I want to. Sure, I guess I can do that, but not lying down. Just can’t pee lying down – ain’t happening! The nurses confer and decide I can sit on the side of the bed and urinate as long as I keep my right leg straight. Well, Hell, I sure can’t bend it with all the fluid in me… I say, “Bring two portable urinals…” Relief! I lay back down and the nurses come back in. Gown over my head and faces in my shaven groin inspecting my gauze covered wound. No visible seepage, so you can move a bit now, but keep it to a minimum.

My Doctor comes in the next morning pulls my gown over my head so she can inspect the gauze covered wound and shaven groin. (I am getting used to anyone and everyone coming in to look at my gauze covered wound and shaven groin, and am seriously thinking about chucking the gown-that-covers-nothing and walk around with nothing on but hospital socks; portable ekg; and a smile.) “So”, I say, “do I get to leave this afternoon?” She looks at me like I’m an idiot, and replies, “No, maybe tomorrow.” “Oh, come on Doc, what could be the big deal here?” She looks at me sternly and says “Mr. H, you had a serious heart attack.” Wow, first time anyone said those words to me! Rather overwhelming, when you think about it. The rest of the stay is uneventful except everyone still wants to pull the gown over my head and look at the gauze covered wound and shaven groin, except now there is something else to look at.

Seems the seepage has led to the creation of the most incredible bruise I have ever seen! This “thing” went from right side belt-line,down the right side of my “package”, down the inside of my right thigh nearly to my knee. (More on this later.) Holy Cow, I could have sold tickets for folks to see that – along with my gauze covered wound and shaven groin. I get to go home Wednesday afternoon. It was great to walk out of the hospital!

Fast forward seven days. Late morning, To be continued…

NOTE to Readers: I have attempted to inject some humor into what was, actually, very frightening for me, my wife and family. I have absolutely zero complaints regarding my care from anyone at the Kaiser clinic through the folks who cleaned my hospital bathroom! The care, concern, and professionalism shown was and is second-to-none. I would recommend St. Joseph Hospital to anyone needing coronary care! This is why I added a link to The American Heart Association to this blog.