Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I need a button!

One that says I’ve just had open-heart surgery. This first occurred to me a couple of weeks ago when we were at the timeshare in the desert. I stood in the parking lot and watched others watch me as I watched my sister in law lift large, heavy suitcases in and out of the car! I felt like a useless tit. I felt like I should lift up my shirt!
As part of our trip back to LA we took a “short” excursion into Joshua Tree National Park. During a climb to the top of Keys View, a popular and accessible lookout, I was easily passed by, how shall I say, “elderly” folks. It would have been nice to whisper the details of my situation into their hearing aids as they passed me. Perhaps then I would have gotten a little sympathy instead of just looking like I’m really out of shape.

During the trip to my cardiologist last week I had to endure two, half hour bus rides on the airport shuttle to UCLA. With the trip to the Salton Sea a few days earlier I had learned starting and stopping while a passenger was quite painful to the chest area. Even as Sue adjusted her driving style to accommodate me the back of the car was not the most comfortable of spots. Unfortunately, those rides with her seemed like a walk in the park compared to being on the bus with a driver determined to weave in and out of freeway traffic in the hopes of cutting 5 minutes off our trip. The whole time I was bracing myself for the swerves, sudden braking and acceleration I couldn’t help but think what the other two people on the bus were thinking as I winced in pain many times over. I sure could have used a button on my shoulder to put their minds at ease and let them know I wasn’t loosing it. I don’t think it would have really made any difference to the driver, he seemed pretty intent on being aggressive, but, at the end of the trip, I came very close to approaching him with my shirt off and saying something like “Thanks, thanks a lot, that was really comfortable – NOT!”
In all fairness without mentioning anything or wearing a sign no one would suspect there is an issue based on how I look. So no hard feelings! I’m actually still amazed I can withstand public transit in LA only 4 weeks after surgery! Life is good.
Then there’s the frig’n crossing signals. You know, the little white man and the red hand on the other side of the road. Unless you’re a jogger there’s never enough time for someone to cross the entire street under the watchful eye of the crossing guy. Now, the change from white to red seems especially quick and it becomes even that much more irritating when you get the type that actually counts down the seconds remaining. As if I’m not already aware of my slow pace. I don’t need a green poll to rub it in. I know I’m not going at lightning speeds here but hey, I’m doing pretty well.

See my button, I’ll get there, I have an excuse!

I really needed one the other day as I was returning from the grocery store. I had picked up a few things to cook dinner for my hosts Dave and Sandy. I’m not supposed to carry anything heavier than about 3 pounds in each hand. When I left the store I could feel I was pushing it so I tied the plastic bags to the belt loops on my shorts to take the weight off. I thought it was a pretty creative way of dealing with the situation but, I must admit, it did look pretty odd especially with them swinging from side to side.
No worries, it’s only a few blocks home, no one will see me and if they do I won’t care since I’d probably never see them again. Just then I turn the corner and watch as two very attractive ladies approach. Now I don’t care how old you are or whether you’re happily married or not when faced with this situation you really do want to do everything possible not to look like an idiot. With the bags tied to my waist I looked awkward trying to “carry” them. In general I just looked stupid. As I passed I could do nothing but offer a friendly hello and contemplate lifting my shirt to show the fresh battle scars and offer up my excuse. I’m sure in the end they probably didn’t notice or even care but that’s when I started to wonder what kind of reaction I would get if I just walked around topless. No question I think I would get a lot more attention and perhaps even some extra special treatment. Come to think of it I’m sure there are some women out there that have thought the same way.

For those of you coming into this little open heart surgery discussion a little late you can find all the posts easily by clicking on the Open Heart Surgery Labels at the bottom of this post or by clicking on the links under open heart surgery over on the right hand side of the blog. Those ones are listed in chronological order!

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