Peter Cavanaugh

My Summer Vacation

When a lab technician stares at the screen and loudly proclaims, “Wow,” adding, “Don’t you feel that,” one realizes he is at the scene of breaking news.

Every year in early summer, Eileen and I travel back east to Syracuse, NY, where we were both born at Memorial Hospital on “the hill” adjacent to Syracuse University. I remember Jim Brown jogging on the sidewalk in front of our house on Ackerman Avenue when I was a kid.

We enjoyed a great week with family and friends, including several days at Alexandria Bay near the Thousand Island Bridge on the St. Lawrence River, now at its highest level in memory and threatening to flood the city of Montreal upstream.

Many of the little islands are completely underwater. Tourism has been greatly curtailed and it has recently kept on raining days at a time. But there’s no such thing as global warming.

Then I suddenly started feeling weird and super tired. By Sunday morning I was huffing and puffing like that little train that could, except I couldn’t. I could barely stand up.

Moderate COPD, enthusiastically earned smoking 2 1/2 packs a day for 40 years, colliding with the mysterious onslaught of severe heart arrhythmia in the form of Atrial Flutter (with a consequential pulse rate relentlessly racing at 150 beats and above for over 50 hours) brought about radical shortness of breath and marked pneumonia.

Ejection fraction is a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving your heart each time it contracts. The left ventricle is the heart’s main driving chamber pumping oxygenated blood through the ascending aorta to the rest of the body, so ejection fraction is usually measured only in the left ventricle. An LV ejection fraction of 55% or higher is considered normal. I was clocked at 30, a little over half of that. Stroke City, here we come.

Such conditions warranted four days of hospital stay, but all has been successfully addressed. Happily there was no permanent heart muscle damage as originally anticipated when treatment was initiated. But Eileen and I did miss our Tuesday flight home.

Arranging our delayed return home, an exercise complicated by heavy Fourth of July bookings, brought an unpleasant encounter with corporate compassion. Although armed with a handwritten note on hospital stationary penned by a prominent Syracuse cardiologist explaining my plight, it cost more for us to fly back to Fresno than the price of our original round trip tickets. “Sorry. Company policy.” It was pay or stay. Climate change deniers must be in charge.

While I was recuperating, Clown Boy struck again with a brutal attack on Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC with five major lies viciously compressed into two mindless tweets.

Legendary New York ad agency icon and TV host Donny Deutch, guest appearing on “Morning Joe,” proclaimed Trump “a pig” adding, “Let’s face it. When it comes to appearance, a quality he constantly brings up criticizing others, Donald himself looks absolutely disgusting.” Cautioned that he was taking “the low road,” Deutch emphatically stated, “It’s time we all did. This guy is a menace.”

This weekend Cheese Child finally meets Putin in Hamburg.

“Step into my parlor said the spider to the fly.”

It’s great being home again.

Don’t smoke.

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