I’ll Miss You My Friend

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Well it was supposed to be like any other Sunday in September, with pro football and such, but then I got the sad news that Aunt Bebe passed away at the age of 86. She was my aunt, but as I grew older she became a very good friend, a buddy.

When our family moved to Columbus in the early seventies Dad’s brother Uncle Tony and Aunt Bebe regularly visited us driving down from Akron during the summer weekends, for most holidays and of course for Ohio State home football games when she became Bebe Buckeye decked out in grey pants, scarlet vest, scarlet and grey top hat and sash covered with Buckeye buttons.

When I retired a few years ago I had the opportunity to visit her more often. We always went to Edgars for dinner and sat at the bar sharing appetizers and drinking wine. Our last time there a rather inebriated older gentleman came up behind her and said “I’d recognize that hairdo anywhere, you’re Bebe Webner”. She turned to me with that twinkle in her eye and said “I have no idea who this person is”. Come to find out she met the gentleman years ago when Uncle Tony worked at Goodyear, proof that she never really changed much over the years always staying fit and trim.

Whenever I visited she always had ESPN on her television set. You see Aunt Bebe was a nephews dream because not only did she love sports, but she was a very knowledgeable fan. Her favorite show was Mike and Mike in the morning which she watched daily. She felt that sports was one of the reasons that Uncle Tony was drawn to her.

My favorite football story she used to tell was her recollection of the 1950 “Snow Bowl” game that she and Uncle Tony attended during a blizzard in Columbus. The teams punted an incredible 45 times sometimes on first down in hopes that the other team might fumble the ball, with Michigan winning the game 9 to 3 despite never getting a single first down. I’ll miss calling to her on Sundays after Ohio State football and basketball games when she would give me her thoughts on what the offense or the defense needed to do better to win the next game.

She was an easy person to talk to and fun to be around. I always enjoyed our chats whether they were about current events or family issues when she would often say “Oh that’s ridiculous” or “Are you kidding me”. I enjoyed her candor and appreciated her helpful advice which she often gave whether you asked for it or not. You always knew where you stood with her.

While her life’s road was often rocky I always admired her resiliency from the setbacks and curve balls that life would throw her way. She never asked for help and prided herself on being a truly independent woman which she was.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see her these past few months as her health deteriorated rapidly, but I know in my heart that she is now with Uncle Tony who stole her heart years ago when he bought her a grilled cheese sandwich after a football game at Ohio Wesleyan, at least that’s what she said.

During one of my visits up to Akron I read her a poem that I often post when I lose someone close to me and she loved it. It’s called “Remembered Joy” which I offer in her memory.

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free. I’m following the path God laid for me. I took his hand when I heard him call. I turned my back and left it all. I could not stay another day, to laugh, to love, to work or play. Tasks left undone must stay that way, I found much peace at close of day.

If my parting has left a void, then fill it with Remembered Joy. A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss. Ah yes, these things I too shall miss. Be not burdened with times of sorrow; I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow. My life’s been full, I’ve savored much; good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all to brief; Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief. Lift up your hearts and share with me; God wanted me now; he has set me free.

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One Down and One to Go

Yesterday Sarah underwent a six hour double lung transplant surgery after receiving lungs from an adult donor. Last week a Pennsylvania judge ruled that both Sarah Murnaghan and Javier Acosta who both at the time had advanced cystic fibrosis and maybe weeks to live should be eligible for adult lungs.

The judge’s ruling overturned an existing transplant policy that made children under twelve wait for pediatric lungs or be offered adult lungs only after adults on the waiting list had been considered because pediatric lungs are rarely donated.

I clearly don’t have the medical knowledge to know whether or not the judge’s ruling was ethical, but I can’t understand why there aren’t more organs being donated. While the loss of a loved one would be tragic especially if it was a child, why wouldn’t their loved ones want to give the extraordinary gift of life or extended life to someone else ?

I have been an organ donor for as long as I can remember. According to one website the donation of one organ can save as many as eight people and one tissue donor can enhance the lives of as many as fifty people. So if you are not an organ donor already why not become one and make sure that your family is aware of your wishes. Javier is still waiting on his lungs.

Key West – Something for Everyone

Key West isn’t just a bunch of bars, of course there are bars like Sloppy Joes if drinking is your thing.

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And there is a bar called the Garden of Eden at the top of the Whistle Bar where you can enjoy your alcoholic beverage and clothing is optional.

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There are all kinds of water sports you can try.

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And boats you can charter.

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Short cruises you can take – maybe not Carnival.

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Every kind of shop imaginable.

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There’s art to look at.

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Churchs to check out.

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Music to listen to like Moose and the Bulletproof Blues Band at the Ninety Mile High Club where you can enjoy your favorite cigar.

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Odd trees to look at like the Banyan tree seen below or the Kapok tree on Whitehead St.

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Maybe enjoy the pool at your rental unit – I did.

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You’ll meet people you haven’t seen in awhile like Kelly (I’m standing next to her on the right) who used to be part of a large group of us that went camping every year up here in Ohio. New people like Denny – the conservative and his wife Janet who we met at the Conch Republic Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant has it’s own shrimp boat bringing in fresh pink shrimp daily – some of the best I have ever had and I know shrimp ! Not to mention the killer two for one Happy Hour everyday.

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And last but not least there are some of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever see at  Sunset Pier.

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So check out Key West – this was my second visit there and we had an action packed four days. I guarantee you won’t leave there disappointed.

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Harlem Shake It Up

I’m probably late to the party on this one, but the latest viral dance craze called the Harlem Shake is fun and spontaneous for groups of people who work or hang out together. It’s reported that there have been over 40,000 versions so far on YouTube (I haven’t verified this).

The shake version as defined by Wiki begins with a lone figure in plain casual clothes with eccentric headgear. For fifteen seconds the individual grooves freestyle to a track of repetitive synthetic percussion by electronic musician Baauer. The colleagues of the dancer work on oblivious to the lone figures grooving then cut in and everyone is flailing, gyrating and getting in touch with their inner selves. Below are the Top Ten funniest.

My favorite is the guy in the bottom right corner on number 6 who looks as though he is getting shock therapy – hope you enjoy it as much as I did !

I Don’t Got Rhythm

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Probably most of us have heard the song with the lyrics – I got rhythm who could ask for anything more ! Boy if that isn’t the truth. The song is of course about musical rhythm, unfortunately something most of us take for granted the rhythm of our heartbeat or in medical terminology sinus node rhythm I don’t have right now.

Sometime in the next week or so I will be going into one of our fine hospitals in the Columbus area for my third visit to the electro-physiology Lab, the EP lab for short. I am hoping the third time is the charm as the saying goes.

These people do a great job making me feel at ease before and after the procedure. During the procedure the doctor administers medication which totally knocks me out and cardio-version is done sending electrical current to my heart through electrodes placed on my chest.

During my last visit I developed quite a rapport with the technician who gave me my tape to share on the family blog which shows the syncing of my irregular heartbeat on the left (the black arrows), the shock and then a return to regular heartbeat intervals on the right. He said they do around twenty of these procedures each day with very little risk to the patient.

Isn’t medical technology wonderful – so take heart (no pun intended) – if you develop atrial fibrillation this procedure is nothing to worry about !

Christmas Buffet at the Boathouse in Columbus

Okay its Christmas Day and you don’t feel like doing anything in the kitchen, who does – so why not go somewhere fancy with a view and an all you can eat buffet. What better place to do that then the Boathouse (for those of you that live in Columbus it’s the old Confluence Park Restaurant) and that’s what we did !

From our table the view of the city of Columbus where the Olentangy meets the Scioto River.

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Mussels, shrimps, snow crab legs – you name it they had it

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Salmon Poached

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Desserts galore ! Coconut Cream Pie, Courtney

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It doesn’t get any better than this and what a wonderful time we all had – thanks so much to my friends especially Janine !

The Rest of the Story ……

It was pretty much like every other Sunday night, except for the fact that I was recovering from some type of virus (I’d had my flu shot, but flu shots don’t cover all strains) that hit me pretty hard earlier in the week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The virus was so bad that I probably vomited thirty or so times during the three days leaving me weak and most likely a bit dehydrated.

The rest of my family was waiting at the emergency room to get word from the doctor on another family member who was having some health issues so I decided to drive myself to the ER with the intent of being there just a short time to listen to what the doctor had to say then driving myself back home.

While standing in the ER I started to feel a bit light headed so I sat down on one of the trash bins in the room and things became a bit out of focus. According to my family I snorted a couple of times then my eyes became glazed over. Next thing I know I am being loaded into a wheelchair and taken to another room in the ER where they did an EKG. My heart was racing and twitching without any coordination what so ever so they put me on medication to slow my heart rate and help it maintain a much more reasonable rhythm.

Once an individuals heart goes out of regular rhythm the concern turns to how long has the heart been out of rhythm and while it has been out of rhythm have any blood clots formed in the chambers of the heart due to the hearts ineffective pumping action. To make this determination a scope was placed in my esophagus the next day that took pictures of the back of the heart chambers and when it was determined that I had no blood clots they whisked me away to do cardioversion.

Cardioversion is an electrical shock delivered to an individuals chest wall through patches that stop the abnormal heartbeat and allow ones heart to resume a normal rhythm. A doctor and two assistants administered this procedure and said that the jolt of electricity that is used is comparable to a mule kicking a man in the chest. They said the jolt caused my hands and legs to fly up in the air, but I didn’t feel a thing.

So I am back in regular rhythm now and out of the hospital after only a couple of days – truly amazing !