MAY 2020 - DODGING THE BULLET


I dodged a bullet today. It started out easy enough. I‘d had a Heart Monitor stuck on my chest for two weeks because I got faint once or twice. That’s what the VA Doctor did to unravel the mystery. I didn’t mind that. Knowing I was feeling pretty good, the monitor could not tell anyone anything worth knowing, and I had lots of things to do, which the gismo glued on my chest didn’t stop doing at all. I let the two weeks go by with a light heart. After two weeks, I mailed the Heart Monitor to the VA (a small flat package, 2 inches by three inches and a half inch thick). I didn’t think two cents worth about whatever the Monitor might say about me. I had no secrets. Working on my new novel kept me busy… and two days later, the phone rang. The call was from my local General Practitioner, my Doctor for the past ten years at the Ukiah VA. Clinic. I asked Dr. Mulligan after her health during this unpleasant Covid-19 time and told her I appreciated all the caregivers, who were our better angels. She had read the results of the Heart Monitor and she told me what it said. “Mr. Paleno, you will receive a phone call this afternoon. It will be from the San Francisco VA Cardiologist. He will tell you where and when to go and have a Pace Maker stitched and wired to your heart.” (Or words to that effect) At first, I didn’t answer. A Pacemaker? She explained that the Pace Maker would slow down my heart, which the two weeks of monitoring my heart revealed. That important organ was beating up and down like a frenetic jumping jack with the palsy. The Pace Maker would take my heart in hand and make it behave. My good Doctor made no bones about the alterative… that is if I wished to give up my place in line and waited a spell for my turn at a Pace Maker. So, I accepted something for which I had no choice: that is, if I wanted to finish my novel. My new Novel is a big book of several hundred thousand words and, perhaps, it may be the best work I’ve done. Naturally, I could not let anything interfere with something I might leave behind of such import. I accepted what the Doctor told me I must do, and waited for the axe to fall, a call from the Head Cardiologist, who would tell me what I must do next. As I waited, I saw my reflection in the dark glass of the silent TV screen. wearing an item of medical apparel that might be the last thing I would wear. I thought of Jeannette, gone from me yesterday… or was it nearly seven years ago? Her last piece of medical apparel was a pair of oxygen tubes in her nose. She was still just as beautiful as the day we met and she died that day in my arms. My Heart Monitor would be my last item of wearing apparel but it might keep me writing for years. Then, when I saw her, again, I could show her that she wasn’t the only one who rated such unusual item of wear. I laughed out loud at the thought. After all, I’ve lived alone since she left me, and people like me are sometimes visited with all manner of odd imaginings… Dr Liem called that afternoon from the San Francisco VA hospital. I was ready with my questions; ‘How long was the procedure? How soon could I take care of myself, and so on.’ I had also spent some time researching about a Pace Maker on the Internet. I was told what it did, and how the wires were attached to my heart and I could go home that same day. Fine. I was ready. I was surprised a second time. Dr. Liam said, “Mr. Paleno, you don’t need a Pace Maker.” With that thunder bolt of good news, which instantly, removed fifty pounds from my shoulders, Dr. Liem prescribed another pill to regulate my busy heart rate. He was sending it by mail. I would have it in a day, or two. I felt light enough to fly around the room. While I had been waiting for that Second Call, I let no grass grow under my feet. Hours of work had been spent writing my book and instructing my four children what to do if I was escorted from the land of the living too soon. I called each one with the Good News and went back to my writing. Reminded once more of a dictum I’ve preached; Life is wonderful and every day is a gift. We must accept what we cannot change and we will also find most of our troubles, that trouble us, will never happen.

  • Facebook

Copyright ©2018-2020  Gene Paleno, PAL Publishing Inc.

  • Twitter