Despite recent events, life happily goes on

Despite recent events, life happily goes on by Bob Karolevitz I almost didn�t write column no. 1,105.

I swore I�d never do another hospital piece, but the events of the moment caused me to renege.

You see, I had a pacemaker installed in my ticker over the weekend, and it looked like my string of weekly gushings would come to an end. It would have, too, because my fourth trip to an emergency room seemed to be the final straw.

A review is probably in order.

The first trek to the E.R. came in the middle of the night and resulted in an ambulance ride to Sioux Falls. A doctor at the Heart Hospital there found a couple of weak spots in my arteries and fixed them up so I wouldn�t suddenly go flitting off to never-never land.

He did so well, in fact, that we scheduled a jaunt to St. Joseph, MO, to watch our State University girls compete in another national Final Eight basketball tourney. (We saw them win it all last year).

Needless to say, I survived their defeat okay, but before the night was over, I was again hauled off by ambulance to another emergency room, with tears and well wishes from the SDSU clan.

This time I went in pajamas, without wallet or socks. Phyllis, who accompanied me, was then sent back to the hotel by taxi when it was decided that I would spend the night there �under observation.�

But, instead, the tachycardia (rapid heart beat) was corrected by drugs, and I was set free. About 5 a.m.!

Of course I had no money, no I.D. and no clothes, but the nurse said the hospital in its beneficence would pay for the cab ride back to the hotel. Then she called a hack � and, believe me, it was a hack. Only one of its back doors was working.

It was cold out, too, and there I was in my flimsy PJs, no socks and the blue paper �shoes� which the hospital so generously provided.

The trouble was the cabbie had two other fares which he chose to pick up and deliver before me. One was a huge Afro-American bundled up for winter, so he opened the cab window to cool down � while I shivered in my diaphanous night clothes half way across town.

We finally made it to the hotel where Phyllis was waiting for me in the lobby. Ichabod Crane was never so laughable as I was when I came staggering in.

Flash forward to another visit to the Heart Hospital for some surgery called ablation to correct the tachycardia which I�d had for more than 50 years. The procedure went well, and the next day our son-in-law drove me the 75 miles home.

Only thing was, I developed a urological blockage, which meant we had to go directly � you guessed it! � to still another emergency room. I was anxious to see Phyllis whose one-day surgery became almost a two-week ordeal in the adjoining hospital. Obviously, my visit was delayed.

I finally got to see her, though, and it began to look like my troubles were over. Except I hadn�t figured on the stress caused by my trips to the hospital, the calls and mail which had stacked up in the interim, the deadline for another column and coordinating the very helpful gestures of our daughters and son-in-law.

The upshot: another trip to the E.R.!

Again it was after midnight. Jan didn�t answer her phone. I forgot Jill�s number, and I didn�t think of 911. So I drove the seven miles into town, once again in my pajamas. My ticker was acting up, and there wasn�t time to shave or dress.

Boy, did I ever get scolded by the E.R. nurse for not calling the EMTs!

Well, again I was put in a hospital bed to await surgery by the on-call physician on Sunday. However, let it be said that my sense of humor was not impaired by my impending date on the operating table.

As we discussed the effects of a pacemaker, I said:

�Will I be able to play piano when it is put in?�

�Why, yes,� said the nurse, who had joined our happy group.

�That�s great,� I exclaimed. �I�ve never been able to play it before.�

(The surgery went fine. Phyllis is adjusting to the big brace on her leg. She even made blueberry muffins in Occupational Therapy, and life goes on.)

� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz

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