Cranky Old Bastard
One of the pluses (and there aren't many) of returning to the States from Okinawa was that here I could receive quality medical care. My care on Okinawa was provided by the military which featured a different doctor every time I visited the clinic, and a fairly limited formulary of prescription drugs. I had some really good doctors there, but also several who were not. After arriving back in Hellizona, I carefully researched available physicians and selected one who turned out to be quite exceptional in his medical and communication skills. I am pleased with my primary care provider.
My new doctor quickly found that I had been left to flounder, medically speaking, for the previous two years, and he began referring me to a host of specialists, most of whom (with one exception) turned out to be of the same high caliber as my primary care doctor. Recently while visiting with an endocrinologist whom I also like quite well, I happened to mention that I often have trouble breathing adequately while on the treadmill at the gym. This doctor immediately gave me the name of a group of cardiologists and referred me onward.
I had a preliminary visit with one of the cardiologists where a cursory exam raised no concerns. The cardiologist did, however, recommend further testing based on the fact that I am diabetic and was a heavy smoker forty years ago. The first test, a nuclear scan (not fun), revealed some possible arterial blockage - and that resulted in me being quickly referred for an angiogram which was accomplished this morning.
The angiogram revealed that I have quite a bit of blockage in a couple of places, and I was told that I will need to undergo a triple bypass sooner rather than later. I meet with the surgeon in one week to work out a plan.
So that's my medical update. Over the past couple of weeks I have begun making drastic changes in my lifestyle and eating habits, though the effort is obviously more than a day late and a dollar short. (It is so easy to get religion when the grim reaper suddenly appears strolling your way!)
The hardest change to date has been giving up my McDonald's Sausage-Egg McMuffin in the mornings and substituting with a serving of oatmeal. That McMuffin represented more than just a meal. I would drive off-base to pick it up, and then drive back onto base and park outside of my office where I would pull bits of bread and cheese and egg off of the sandwich and throw them out onto the asphalt for my friends, the birds, who often wound up with a quarter or so of my sandwich. Regular morning visitors outside of my car included a pair of small woodpeckers, a cactus wren or two, a smattering of grackles, and the occasional dove and Gamble's Quail. Many of them recognize my car and drop by to scavenge regardless of where I park - or when. (With oatmeal there is nothing to share, and I feel like such a greed head.) I guess that I will have to invest in some wild bird seed to keep in the car for my friends.
Keep smiling, I am.