Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Cabbage" or "CABG"? Whatever...

He was trimming branches
While perched in crook of the mulberry tree
Centerpiece of their back yard
Where their children grew

He was working with a hand saw
When he noticed a heavy feeling
Gripping his chest
He paused; it passed

A few days later he teed off at the first hole
And as he walked down the fairway
He noticed the feeling again
He slowed; it passed

Over the next couple of weeks
It occasionally returned
Brought on by slight exertion
Leaving quickly upon rest

He saw the family doctor
Thinking it remained from a recent cold
The doctor said, "angina"
And sent him to a cardiologist

The cardiologist
An interesting man who peeked around corners
Before rounding them... ran his tests
A catheterization up through the leg to the heart

And declared blockages
85% of the left descending aorta
The "Widowmaker"
Among others; four to be exact

Coronary artery bypass surgery
"CABG" in the industry was strongly suggested
He wanted another opinion
"Could it be reversed through diet?"

He saw another cardiologist
Harvey M did not peek around corners
He came right in and shot straight,
"This is a no brainer."

"We'll do the surgery here
And I will follow you if you want"
They went for it two weeks later...the deal was set
It took away his breath to agree

Surgery was due on a Monday
His son, age 12, had a baseball game scheduled the following Saturday
He had two things in mind,
Reassure his wife and attend that game

Though still in his 40's
He told her
I have had a great life
If it is over now, so be it

"You will be on a respirator in ICU."
"We will keep you under so it won't bother you."
He woke up there in the ICU and was still intubated
He made motions to the nurse so he could make her a note

Reminding her he wasn't supposed to be awake
She just turned up the juice
On his IV
And conked him out again

It was Monday when they worked
Tuesday they had him walk
Wednesday more of the same
Thursday he told them he wanted to go home

His cardiologist said, "You're a little fresh,
But we'll see."
Friday they let him out
Feeling better then he had in a long time

Saturday the game was cancelled
On account of rain
He asked his son to take batting practice
So they could go to the field anyway

He sat in a lawn chair with his daughter nearby
Watching opposite field line drives
Being hit by his perennial All-Star
Using a day given to him...the right way

That was it
A new life began
Enriched by compassion
From family, friends, doctors, nurses and technicians

That was almost 20 years ago
That was remarkable


Annie said...

Hi Tom,
I happened to be online and just saw this, right after you posted it. Thank you for sharing. This is beautifully written, rhythmic and melodic, both as a poem, and as an affirmation.

Annie said...

I like the picture, too! We went through all of this, as a family. My father was in his forties, also, when he had his first bypass surgery.

Waiting for the Big Giant said...

Congratulations on the anniversary of this successful surgery and 20 years of life beyond.

In honor of this post, which I enjoyed so much and found very moving, I am going to prepare stuffed cabbage for dinner AND instead of referring to you as TomC, from now on I am going to call you by your full name, Tom Cabbage.

TomC said...

Thank you; thank you for your comments Annie and WftBG. But then I am not too fond of poetry as you know Annie. And WftBG I don't care much for cabbage either, unless it is boiled and comes with corned beef, in slaw or in ...kraut