Before he passed away, Warren Zevon made his last appearance on the David Letterman show. He was sick with lung cancer and only had a short time to live. When asked how his life had changed since learning his time was short. Zevon responded:
“You put more value on every minute…You know I always kinda thought I did that. I really always enjoyed myself. But it’s more valuable now. You’re reminded to enjoy every sandwich and every minute.”
AWD is among the new enjoyers of sandwiches. Last Saturday night I returned from a business trip to Dallas at 6:30. I had a date lined up to see a good buddy of mine play a show at one of my favorite local haunts. We got to the show around 8:30, were fortunate to be offered to share a table (Texans are like that), sat down and ordered.
The show was fun and we had a great time. After eating, AWD felt a dull pain in his chest. It felt like bad indigestion. This was around 11 pm. The show ended soon after and my date and I left. I dropped her off and, after the proper amount of sups-sexy smooching, I headed back to the Casa de Amor with pressure and a dull pain in my chest. When I got home, I took two Allieve and one baby aspirin. In thirty minutes, the pain had passed and I was asleep, tired from the travel and a busy week.
Sunday morning I awoke with no pain so I assumed it had been indigestion from an incredible dish of shrimp and grits. I did my weekly chores of laundry, cleaning, etc, then headed for the gym. One of my goals this year has been to live healthier and drop some pounds. This plan started before Christmas so my workout was a bear. I mean, I actually worked out this time instead of the usual walking around the gym looking tired and splashing water on the front of my shirt. I lifted weights (heavy ones, too) and walked about 2.5 miles on the treadmill in about 32 minutes or so. I’m trying to take 10,000 steps every day since I got a Fitbit for Christmas. No problem, no pain, just feeling good after a hard workout.
After going home to shower, I decided to take my old Jeep to meet a buddy to watch the NFL playoffs since the weather was so nice and warm. Of course, I had a hose fall down and rest against the headers and burst from the heat. So my buddy and I changed the hose out in the parking lot and went in to watch the game. At 5, the pain in my chest returned. I told my friend, “the pain in my chest returned.” He said it was probably due to all the stress I’m under carrying the weight of the world and being so supa-sexy and all. Well, he really said it was probably due to stress. I told him I needed to go home and take some more Allieve.
This time, the pain did not go away. It was a dull pain, not a sharp pain in my chest. I didn’t have any shortness of breath, tingling or numbness in my left arm or chin like they say victims of heart attacks suffer so I thought I probably just worked out too hard. But the pain was severe enough to where I couldn’t sleep. Again, not sharp, just a dull constant chest pain. I didn’t sleep until I took a Percocet around 4. I woke at 8:30 with the pain gone but still a pressure in my chest.
I showered, dressed and went to the office. After speaking with a client/friend, I took his advice and went to the Doc in the Box for an EKG and blood pressure check. Both came back pretty normal. But the doctor told me the blood test revealed a cardiac event and I had likely had a heart attack. I told the doctor to “get out of town, I worked out yesterday and am not short of breath or have other signs of heart attack.” He said, “there’s an enzyme in the heart that is the only enzyme like it in the body. It should be at zero but your’s is 6.8, we’re sending you in an ambulance to the emergency room.”
Off I went for the first time in an ambulance to the emergency room at the hospital close to my house. They also started running tests and echoed what the Emergency Care 24 doc said. I told them to “shut the hell up, there’s no way I had a heart attack!” They said, “well, this ain’t our first rodeo with this and we’re saying you did and we’re admitting you.”
Long story short, I had an artery in my heart that was completely blocked. They did an angioplasty and put a stent in my blocked artery on Tuesday morning to keep it open on. I was released Thursday afternoon. My beautiful, wonderful Mother (Angry White Dudette) flew in from AZ to care for me and clean my house. I might consider another heart attack if that’s what it takes to get my house looking so good! My Mother is without a doubt the most kind, Christian, loving person I know. And she thinks the sun shines out of my big, sexy butt. She is a blessing in my life. She is simply the best Mother anyone could ask for.
Enjoy every sandwich. Zevon’s words played in my mind after I realized I wouldn’t be taking a dirt nap and would survive this. Until I knew for certain I would dodge the bullet, lots of things went through my mind. It’s a strange feeling not knowing if today might be your last. What are the things you should have said to whom? What should you have done that you didn’t? What wrongs could have been righted that would have eased the mind of someone else? Did you tell those you love that you love them enough? Did you tell your friends what they meant to you and that you love them? You worry how all that you care for will be when you’re gone? Have you instilled the right lessons in your children so they can be good, responsible, self-reliant adults? And last of all, I wondered have I been a good man? Am I proud of the things I have done and accomplished?
What caused the most pain to me and still makes me quite emotional is the fear of not seeing my children anymore. Although they are grown, we still see each other often and are in close, regular contact. I so want to watch them and their accomplishments as they grow. I want to know, love, and play a role with my yet unborn grandchildren. I want to be there for my children when they need me. The thought of not being there to see my children is so devastatingly sad and something I hope to not face for many, many years. I do love them so. More than everything in this world.
So my words to anyone reading this is to not dread your next day. Be grateful for it. Don’t dread anything. Life isn’t easy but each day is a gift to us. There is always someone who needs and loves us. And there will come a time when we have no more days. And we will wish for one more.
I also recommend you do what you feel you should do to make peace with yourself and your loved ones. Tell your friends and family you love them. They need to hear it. I really don’t remember my Dad ever telling me he loved me. It wasn’t his way. But I never doubted his undying love for a second because of his loving ways. He acted the words he couldn’t verbalize.
Also, take care of your health. See your doctor. I hadn’t been to the doctor in over 7 years as I’m never sick. I now recognize that as a mistake. It could have cost me my life as I almost didn’t go in for the EKG last Monday morning.
So now you know where AWD was the past week. I know some trolls will be happy with the news but I’m writing to those whom I care about. And I do count all the regular Dudes and Dudettes as friends even though I only personally have met a few.
Take care of your health, be happy, share your love with those close to you, be grateful for what you have, and enjoy every sandwich!