Life & Taxes

Hot Nurse

“Procrastination is the thief of time,” my Mom would tell me over and over again. It didn’t stop me from procrastinating, though, because I saw it from another angle. Procrastination was just doing the things you wanted to do before doing the things you were supposed to do. As a kid, I was naturally more inclined to do the things I wanted to do. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.

After acting class at the Fulton Theatre on Monday evening, four of us went to the café across the street for coffee and chit chat. I was a little hungry, but since everyone just got beverages, I just got a great big cup of coffee. It’s late and the place was not filled – perfect for a pleasant, unrushed conversation. We talked for well over an hour. I started getting hunger pangs, but I figured I’d find something on the way home. By the time we broke up the meeting, all the little food shops on my walk home were closed. By the time I got home I wondered if this might be more than just hunger pangs. It was right in the center of my chest and I have a history of heart problems. But it also could be heartburn from the giant coffee.

So, I ate a turkey sandwich, to see if I could rule out hunger pangs. An hour later, I still had pressure right smack dab in the middle of my chest. I grabbed my cell phone, to have it handy while I waited for one of the other symptoms of a possible heart attack. I’m supposed to take one baby aspirin a day. I took two and sat at the computer while I waited to see if that changed anything. I watched Netflix until 5 a.m.

The pain remained the same. Even a professional procrastinator like myself knows that sometimes you just have to do the things you should do. I packed a bag for the emergency room and walked the two blocks to Lancaster General Hospital. I told the receptionist that I had chest pain. A wheelchair and someone to push it rapidly appeared. It was like when Cinderella’s fairy godmother turned the pumpkin into a carriage. I rode into the Emergency Room, where my wheelchair pusher advised me that Kim would take care of me.

Kim took all the information, took my vital signs, and placed a tiny nitroglycerin tab under my tongue. Within 5 minutes the pain was completely gone. Symptom relieved. Now it was time to diagnose the problem. Kim passed me to Maria, who passed me to Dr. Li. Then somebody wheeled my gurney to room 6912.

Jim, Arlene, Joelle, Ashley, Lauren, Jill, Dr. Ibarra, and a few other people all lined up for their role in this medical production. After they introduced themselves and verified that I was who they thought I was, they explained the purpose of their visit. They were there to take a blood sample, or check my blood pressure, or listen to my heart, squeeze my ankles, explain something, change my sheets, or get me food.

The first results from my blood work came back. I did not have a heart attack. They needed further testing to diagnose the problem. Nuclear pictures, and a stress test.

So, a few hours later I met the people who ran the stress test. Things went so quickly, I didn’t have a chance to catch everyone’s name, except the prettiest one, Chris. If this workout gave me a heart attack, I figured she could resuscitate me, without even using the paddles. All the women there looked good, like they actually worked out on the treadmill themselves and weren’t just monitoring patients on them. Walking on that floor I felt a little like I was at a place like Planet Fitness.

Back to my room to await the results. Positive. Normally, that’s a good thing, but this meant there was positively something wrong. It was time for my third lifetime trip to the Catheter Lab, where they might give me another stent.

Nope. Barry, Sean, Tim, and the doctor found nothing wrong. Plus, the four clogged stents that I learned were clogged in 2011, were now being bypassed by a group of capillaries. So my pit crew in room 6912, then went about detaching all the electrodes and needles attached to my body and sent me home with two new prescriptions, one for the heart and one for heartburn. That way they figured they had it covered no matter what was the cause of my problem.

I was very impressed with the treatment I got at Lancaster General, but I better end this story. Today is April 15th and it’s 10:30 p.m. Time to start working on my taxes.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,



The Biscuit Club

My Amtrak Bonus points jumped up to 3600 points with another trip to New York. That’s hardly enough points to pay for a dessert at Applebee’s, but, it shows me that I’ve taken a lot of trips since I left New York. Ironically, most of them have been to New York, but at least I’m moving around and more active now.

I arrived in New York on Friday and stayed at Brother X’s house. We watched a little TV and trash talked on the commercials. We’re both getting ready for the Rage in the Cage Match set up for May 16th in Lancaster, so we were ragging each other on how poorly we thought each other could hit a baseball. Finally, when the Yankee game was still tied in the umpteenth inning, we decided to call it a night, but get up early in the morning and head to the batting cage in Hicksville, so we could get a chance to “scout the other team.”

The next morning, we woke up bright an early and headed to the batting cage. Normally, I never wake up early, preferring to ease out of bed at the crack of noon. But this day was different. We had an adventure planned. It was like a day when we had a scout trip planned as kids. Mom could barely get us out of bed on a school day, but we would jump up before dawn on those days when we had an adventure planned.

There were only two kids using the cages. They were brothers 10 and 8-years old, two years apart, just like Brother X and myself. They were just as competitive, too. The owner of the place came over to watch us all complete, and he told the boys that in 50 years they would probably be just like us. They left right after he said that.

We started hitting against the slowest machine that was set to throw the ball at 35 mph. Before too long we each were hitting the ball most of the time, so we kept moving up to higher speeds. (After all, we now had the whole place to ourselves.) We moved quickly from 40 to 50 to 60, and then when we faced the machine that was throwing at 70 mph we were missing more than we were hitting. After that I took a few swings against the 80 mph machine, but had little success. Neither of us even tried to hit against the 90 mph machine. Like Clint Eastwood said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Some people don’t seem to have any limitations, though. On Saturday afternoon, we went to see an Off Broadway production of my friend Marianne Driscoll’s second play. The first show, McGoldrick’s Thread was an award-winning, smash musical that ran for an entire month at St. Mark’s Theatre. This, her second play, is currently at the Cell on West 23rd Street. It’s called The Biscuit Club, and the actors all play various dogs in a kennel. One night while Gus the owner is away from the kennel, Chester, the old resident dog, is talked into letting them all out of their cages for a little while. When the dogs are uncaged, the fun really begins. Congratulations to Marianne, cast, and crew. The show is a real treat.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,