Monday, April 28, 2008

It's never good when you have a stress test and biopsy scheduled for the same day. I have to admit, I was a little upset when after they shaved an area of my chest to put the leads on, they then decided to put the leads somewhere other than where they shaved.

But that wasn't the worse part.

During the stress test (because of my back and knees, I don't do the treadmill - instead, they pump me up with dopamine to make my heart race), they had to twice take off the leads so they could do an echo of my heart. Why they couldn't do the echo before they put those damn stickers on is beyond me.

Luckily, I remembered to take Vicodin as soon as I arrived at the hospital. Considering how rough my nurse was (let's refer her to as Eva Braun), I needed it. Since my transplant, half my chest is numb and the other half is hyper-sensitive. Guess which side she focused on?

From there, I went to have my blood drawn. Thankfully, the nurse at the stress test left my IV port in. But it also meant that the phlebotomist could only suck the blood out one one arm. And yes, it took more than one poke to get the vein.

Next came the biopsy. By now, all 15mgs of the Vicodin was in my system. I was in such high spirits that I was singing to the music in the room ("Jailhouse Rock"). But before I even went into the biopsy room, I was placed in a holding area. But it was okay since I was able to lay down and enjoy my high.

Now understand, ever since my transplant in 2002, I've had a lot of biopsies. At first, I had them every week. Then, every other week, then once a month for 3 months and then once every three months and finally, once a year. Because of all of these procedures, I have built up a tremendous amount of scar tissue around my neck (only for the first year did the doctors access my heart through my groin).

Well, as soon as he began injecting the lidocaine, I was no longer in the mood to sing. The pressure and the pain I was experiencing was on the verge of excruciating. Finally, I gave in and begged the doctor for some Versed (a pain killer). With the Vicodin and now the Versed, I finally was able to tolerate the biopsy.

When it was over, I had to spend two hours laying down so I could drive home.

And that's when the really weird stuff happened.

I pulled out of the parking garage at the University of Chicago Hospital and lo and behold, it was snowing. Now I will admit it wasn't a lot of snow, but still it's April 28th for goodness sake!

That lead me to wonder about my future (yeah, I know, what else is new - but this is serious).

Chicago is a cold, make that, frigid city. Winter here starts in October in full force and yet it snows in April. Now keep in mind I have rheumatoid arthritis and each year it seems to be getting more and more painful.

On the other hand, my children live in Chicago and they're - well maybe "happy" isn't the right word - settled here.

There are a myriad of reasons why I should leave Chicago. Anything from my physical health, relationships and the fact that Chicago is so friggin' expensive (yeah I know New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles are more). The sales tax is 10%, a gallon of gas costs $3.75 and only New Orleans has a more corrupt city government. Yeah, there are some nice parks and the lake is pretty. But on the other hand, we have Oprah. I like the Cubs, but then on the other hand, they ARE the Cubs.

It would be so easy to move somewhere where it was warm, sunny and open. It isn't like I haven't moved before. In a lot of ways, my quality of life and, perhaps more importantly, my longevity would improve.

But on the other hand, I love my children very much and my leaving would destroy them (I think). Although since the separation, I spend only one night a week with each child, the quality of those visits is wonderful. Right now, I can not leave them.

On the other hand (I sound just like Tevye), how many more winters can I stand before I become crippled?

I hate when I think about my future.


Speaking of the future, kudos to my Dallas Cowboys on their recent draft. I know some in Dallas are upset that by taking Felix Jones, they bypassed Rashard Mendenhall - who many considered the second best running back in the draft. But for this team, Jones makes more sense. Especially since they have committed to starting Marion "the Barbarian" Barber. Plus, Dallas drafted Tashard Choice, who is very similar to Barber, to give them insurance should Barber leave via free agency next year.

With their second pick in the 1st round (they had two picks after getting the pick in a trade with Cleveland last year), they took cornerback Mike Jenkins. Considered by many to be the most NFL-ready cornerback in the draft, he is a steep upgrade over Jacques Reeves and regardless of whether Pacman Jones stays clean, will be a key player for a number of years for the Cowboys.

Two of heir last three picks were were guys who were thought to be taken my higher in the draft, but for one reason or another, slipped a little. The most interesting pick was Martellus Bennett, a big tight end from the University of Texas. Just before the draft, Dallas traded back up tight end Anthony Fasano to Miami for a fourth round pick.

Should Pacman stay clean, this off season may well be one of the finest in team history.

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