Saturday, February 06, 2010


I have not mentioned what I’m about to tell you before because I wanted to have the results of all the tests before I shared my recent medical problems. Well, the hypothesis has been made and my decision is in the works. But first a little background. You who read my blog regularly have read my remarks about my “anxiety attacks” and my love affair with an OTC product called Calms Forte. It worked very well and I had hoped that story was over and done with. However, that was not to be and eventually, along with the anxiety attacks came some chest pain. The first time it happened I was really scared but after taking two Calms Forte, the pain diminished rapidly and from then on, if I felt a (what I am now calling) panic attack coming on, I’d promptly pop a couple pills and be fine in less than a minute. Since my father died from a heart attack at 54 years old and my half brother and sister both died from heart attacks at 60 years old, I decided that maybe I should start taking these symptoms seriously. Are you following me so far?

After a few months it became obvious that I was unable to walk very far without triggering the chest pain. Now it really has our attention and Phil and I discussed that fact that when we settled down for the winter here in Florida I would go to the doctor and see what was going on. So, after two electrocardiograms, a stress test, an echocardiogram of my heart and a carotid artery sonogram (this result was very good—less than 40 % blockage) it has been determined there is some blockage on the left side of my heart. There is also some valve leakage but according to my cardiologist that is not a big problem … yet. The name for this is coronary hypertension. I am scheduled for a cardiac catheterization on Wednesday, the 10th of February. At that time they will check for the blockage, examine the valves and main pumping chamber, then assess whether I need: no treatment, a change of medication, another type of catheterization called an intervention procedure or cardiac surgery. If all goes well, they tell me I will be fit as a fiddle by the next day. Stay tuned … next weeks blog with let you know how it all turns out. If there is no blog next week … well, hopefully I will just be taking a week off.

Last week’s word: Detritus, noun. Definition: Debris or discarded material. Geology = fragments of rocks that have been worn away. Ecology = organic debris formed by the decomposition of plants or animals

WORD OF THE WEEK: divination. Hint: Gypsies come to mind.


Don’t Wake me at Doyle’s by Maura Murphy

The title confused me until I remembered a “wake” is a celebration of someone’s life before the burial, often with the deceased in attendance and later discovered Doyle’s was the name of a prominent drinking establishment mentioned constantly in this book. I really like to read memoirs but this was very different from my usual choices. It has been compared to Angela’s Ashes (which I haven’t read) and is written by an Irish woman in the twilight of her years then published just a year before her death. She considered herself uneducated so the skill demonstrated in her writing is puzzling. One of the reviewers of this book suggested she may have had a ghostwriter but none are specified or credited in the acknowledgements. I was fascinated by the abject poverty this woman endures while she gives birth to nine children and has several miscarriages. I knew about the influx of Irish immigrants during the potato famine in the early 1800s but according to this tale of wretchedness, it wasn’t much better for the poor in Ireland in the early part of the 20th century. The ongoing drama between her and her alcoholic husband is a roller coaster of emotions played out over almost 50 years of not so wedded bliss. She blames the Catholic Church and family pressure for her health problems and the years of deprivation suffered by herself and her children while her husband spends nearly every bit of money he makes in Doyle’s Pub. I understood her devotion to her church but found it frustrating that she didn’t look for a better way to protect her kids from the ravages of a drunken father which of course, much to her annoyance, they adored when he was sober. If all the incidents in this mesmerizing book are factual, it was a real eye-opener and I will never complain again about my early (poverty stricken) years. Compared to how this family lived for decades, my life was blessed. Rating: Seven


Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away—never to return. So, while we have it, it’s best we love it, and care for it, and fix it when it’s broken, and heal it when it’s sick. This is true for marriage and old cars, and children with bad report cards, and dogs and cats, with bad hips, and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special—and so, we keep them close!
Author unknown.

Thanks for stopping by,
Until next time …


  1. Joy I am so thankful that you finally went to the doctor... My husband had that work done and stents put in... 5 in all... and he was great after. You will feel so much better. I am praying for you my friend! Have a wonderful day & travel safe.

  2. Joy, we sure hope you'll get through all this in fine shape. We'll put you on our prayer list. By the way, I (Jerry) had a cardiac catheterization a few years back -- nothing to it at all, except when the nurse had to do a little shaving in a very tender and private area! Also - I had to lie perfectly still for a couple of hours.

    Enjoyed your thought of the week! And as for the word odf the week, if I had the power of divination, I'd tell you the results of your tests in advance!

  3. Take care Joy. Your always in my thoughts.

  4. Wishing only good things for you this week.

  5. Anonymous9:53 AM

    Hey Aunt Joy - I hope all your tests come out well. I will be thinking about you so please make sure someone lets me know what's going on if for some reason you aren't able to blog next weekend. Did you get my email a couple of weeks ago? I lost my cell phone and all phone numbers are gone so please at least get me your numbers when you get a chance. I love you, Tammy

  6. Joy, I pray that all went well for you. It has been a long time since I have "stopped in" at your blog but I promise I will be here on Sunday to make sure all is well. Will be posting more pictures! :)+