Mortality Redux

For some time, I had been getting chest pains. Like any sensible person, I saw my doctor. He referred  me to a specialist who did a treadmill stress test. The results at that time shoved no immediate threat.   Over the next year and a bit, things went from bad to downright nasty.

By the time I saw my doctor again, the pain was so severe I couldn’t walk for five minutes without stopping to rest. Two or three times.

So my doctor referred me back to the same cardiologist who administered the same stress test. This time the results were a bit more spectacular. He immediately referred me to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute at the Civic Hospital here in Ottawa.  Priority is determined by severity. I’d heard stories of people who had waited six to eight months to get an appointment.  I had my first appointment a month later. This to me was a very bad sign.

The appointment was for an angiograph. For this procedure, they thread  a needle through a major artery in either the groin or wrist. (Please oh please let it be the wrist).   They run it up to the heart, pump in some dye and look at how the blood is moving through the heart. Or mostly not in my case.

They managed to tap the radial artery in my wrist (I LOVE working with professionals!).   Just so you know, they want you awake for the whole procedure. All the drugs you want, but still awake.   They get the dye in and start telling me just how bad it is. Some of the major arteries in the left side of my heart are  over ninety percent blocked. They need to put in stents to open them back up.   They do that. It hurts. I get more drugs.

In total, I’ve now got four stents in my heart.   I can walk to work without any pain in my chest. I can go up stairs without grabbing my chest like Redd Foxx in Sanford & Son. Long story short, I’ve got a new lease on life. Literally.

An interesting phrase that one. “A new lease on life”.   Like any lease, some terms and conditions apply. One of those conditions involves making some fairly significant changes in my life. Eat healthier. In my case, the main change involves gelting my diabetes under control. HUGE risk factor for heart attack there. Ten years ago I quit smoking (Soooo glad I don’t have to deal with quitting that too). Giving up sugar makes tobacco look like a walk in the park. So that’s a work in progress. Lot’s of work, not so much with the progress. But I’m  sticking with it. A lot of highly skilled people spent years of their lives learning how to prevent me from dying.   I’d feel a bit of a berk if I wasted all that (not to mention feeling a bit dead as well).

I’ve also got to walk more, eat less and learn to let go of my stress. Some goals are easier than others. I probably shouldn’t stress about it though. That’s one of the terms of the lease. Let’s face it, leasing isn’t the same as owning. If you lease a car, they’re not going to be happy if you paint it chartreuse before you hand it back at the end of the lease.   The same thing applies to my heart now. A lot of people now have a vested interest in my health, and that gives them a big say in the terms of that new lease. That’s probably a good thing given how I handled things as the sole owner. Maybe I’ve learned to treat myself a little better. Hopefully, I’ve learned something from all this. But what is the big picture lesson here?

Well, I’ve learned that my doctor is probably with the mafia. Every time I see him, he tells me that if I don’t do what he says I’m going to die.  But that’s really not too “big picture”. The big picture is actually a bit more cliched. You never really know just how long you’ve got. After it was all done, I was talking to one of my doctors and he told me I was one bad decision away from a major heart attack. A few months later, I turned fifty. I might not’ve made it that far. I might not have been there for my daughters  eventual wedding, or my hypothetical grandchildren, or to grow old with my wife.

There’s a lot  things that I still want to do. If take proper care of this new lease, there’s no reason I can’t do all of them. So now I’m off to stick my belly full of insulin and get to bed… it’s one of the terms of the lease.

More Soon!

Cheers, Winston.

I’m Back

For those of you who used to follow  this blog, my apologies.   For a variety of reasons, it is quite some  time since I have posted anything.   This is largely because to ran out  of things to say.

I still follow the  news and it still winds me up as much as it ever has.   But I’ve gotten out of the habit of ranting about it. I’ve realized that shouting at the wind only proves that the wind doesn’t care.   As for the poetry writing… that is on hold until the next National Poetry Writing Month in April.

Having said all that, writing is like any other  learned skill… it’s highly perishable.   So I felt it high time to get back on the horse and if not shout at the wind, at least chat amiably with the breeze.

More Soon!

Cheers, Winston

Christmas Poem


The reason for the season isn’t just another gift.
It’s the kindness done for others that will give your heart a lift.

It’s not the presents you receive, it’s not the ones you’ve bought.
It’s smiles, hugs and faces dear, that will not be forgot.

So instead of asking for more stuff and giving only things.
Let’s gift each other peace and love, and see what kindness brings.


Cheers, Winston

When I was a kid, my brother Jack spent countless hours winding me up with ghost stories.  He took a perverse delight in terrifying me.  We had no hydro or TV and the nearest neighbor was miles away.  I guess I was his entertainment. 

He had a knack for turning the most mundane thing into a source of pure terror.  For instance…. a flight of stairs.

The Cellar Stairs

A narrow stair, a slippery stair,
A stair into the black.
To take this path, to travel down,
Is never to come back.

A basement stair, a cellar stair,
Just how far can it go?
What’s waiting there? What’s lurking there?
If you go down you’ll know.

It’s just a stair, a simple stair,
There’s nothing there to fear,
Then why the shakes, and why the sweats,
Each time that you go near?

A wooden stair, a shaky stair,
It waits to take you down.
To every terror you can dream,
Your very soul to drown.

A dreaded stair, a hated stair,
You’re frozen at the top.
If you should slip, if you should fall,
You know you’ll never stop.

A proving stair, a testing stair,
Your brother eggs you on,
If you complete this trial then,
Your fear will soon be gone.

A haunted stair, a cursed stair,
This brother told you so.
And now he nudges you a step,
And says you have to go.

A treacherous stair, a fickle stair,
You want to flee this place.
You turn to go, you turn to run,
You foot slips into space.

Triumphant stair, victorious stair,
You plummet to your doom.
Your brother calls down from the top,
“Now I’ll have my own room.”

Cheers, Winston

For years I suffered from crippling social anxiety, stress and depression.  It took a long time and a lot of hard work to get to where I am now.  This poem is to help people understand three who are now where I was then.

It’s An Illness, Not A Choice

Another day has dawned and I,
Still lost within my mind,
I wander aimless through it’s halls,
By memory designed.

I know that I should face my day,
But Iangorous I remain,
For in my mind all things work out,
And I control my pain.

The voices in my head come out,
And talk to me all day.
They laugh and fight and carry on,
They race about and play.

With all that goes on in my head,
The real world fades.
I get lost in the wonder of,
My own internal parades.

My friends all say I should get out,
And join the world again.
I say I will and mean it too,
I’m kind of vague on when.

I think today may be the day,
Start planning in my head.
But now it’s dark and here I am,
Still planning in my bed.

So here I am and here I stay,
Can’t say when I’ll stop by.
For I am trapped here in my head,
Enough to make you cry.

Cheers, Winston

Reading some Poe earlier lent tonights verse a more macabre air.  Infidelity, vengeance and remorse…. Enjoy!

Ghost of a Romance

You come to me, you cling to me,
You beg what I can’t give.
You shade, you fade, oh spectre rude,
I can’t help you to live.

You shriek, beseech, and weep at me,
You swear you were so wrong.
You never loved, could never love,
To someone else belong.

But I walked in, I saw the truth,
The two of you entwined.
Then something broke, my heart was broke,
And broken too my mind.

I don’t recall, I can’t recall,
What happened to this day.
But I suspect the worst because,
You’re hounding me this way.

Forgive me love, for love we shared,
When love was bright and new.
And I’ll forgive, forgive you love,
That peace may come to you.

Cheers, Winston

My Dad and I didn’t always see eye to eye.  But despite that, we never gave up on each other.  Keeping those lines of communication open gave us the chance to grow and change and grow together.

This poem is for my Father,

Thank You

So Father’s Day Rolls ’round again,
I want to thank my Dad.
I learned so much from him it’s true,
So much more good than bad.

When I was young I could not see,
Sometimes he did know best.
But now I know ’cause I’ve had time,
The things he taught to test.

He wasn’t right all of the time,
But no one is it’s true.
He did his best to raise us right,
Good people in his view.

My Father passed some time ago,
I miss him to this day.
I am so glad that through the years,
I found the words to say.

So thank you Dad for all you gave,
And all you taught to me.
You taught me how to how to find myself,
And who I want to be.

Cheers, Winston


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