Sunday, July 9, 2017

Addendum No. Two: My Heart
My friend Kaitlin, who is all heart, asked me to write about my heart. It's a tiny, shriveled thing so this will be a short entry. But here's the good news: My heart tripled in size and got much healthier as soon as I saw my son emerge from his mother nearly a year ago. He is now my cardiologist and everyday earns the name we gave him, Mukisa, which means blessing in the Luganda language. My heart broke, literally -- and only literally (I'm with Susan Sontag: illness as metaphor is baloney) -- on Easter Sunday 2013 when it nearly ground to a halt thanks to three arteries that were almost completely blocked (99%, 99% and 84% -- almost enough for you?). The pain was stunning, magnificent and left little question what was going on. Lucky for me, I was near one of the best cardiac catheterization hospitals in the USA and a friend and emergency medical people got me there very quickly. The surgeon told me I was about 45 minutes from the Great Beyond when the ambulance delivered me to the hospital. But the best part happened just after they loaded me in the ambulance at a rural fire station in Marin County, California. As I say, it was Easter, the celebration of Christ's resurrection, if you believe in such things. They put me on a gurney and rolled me into the back of the van. My mind was going like crazy, crazily thinking of all kinds of things in no particular order, kind of a waking dream. Oddly, I was not scared at all, too much other stuff was happening. The doors closed. So of course I thought of The Doors, and of course I thought of "When The Music's Over," and of course I thought of one of its most famous lines, "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection." That was early Sunday morning. Tuesday about noon, I walked out of the hospital -- pain free, energized, thankful -- and went home with four stents in my heart. They are still there, making sure things keep pumping until Mukisa is at least 25. I believe.

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