Posts Tagged ‘health’

Bernie Madoff Was My Health Consultant

Posted 28 Jan 2013 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

In an earlier blog, I wrote about how I worked and played through life with a false belief that my overall health was good. That attitude of overconfidence came crashing down when my cardiologist diagnosed me with heart blockages, and said that I needed to have heart-bypass surgery. The followup to that statement came swiftly, when a vascular surgeon contacted me and said, “I’ll be operating on you Tuesday, 8 a.m.” I didn’t have a chance to reply, as the doctor’s statement was emphatic and left no room to dispute. As it turned out, Dr. T. and his surgical team operated, and successfully completed, the quadruple-bypass surgery. The hurt from the operation didn’t slow my thinking. As I recovered in an ICU unit, I was surrounded by my family who showed great concern, along with encouraging words, that I had to get better to watch the grandchildren grow up.

I knew what my marching orders were. I knew my family was counting on me to make a strong effort to recover. I knew the surgery and the subsequent road to recovery would allow me a return to a happy life, a family life, a life of normalcy, with no chest pains, no shortness of breath, and no heaving as I walked up a flight of stairs. I would have low cholesterol and no other symptoms, no nothing, the same symptoms I had before surgery. I had a serious illness, and I felt lucky to be awake. What I needed was a new definition of what good health meant, a societal norm, and how to measure it. In the heart recovery section of the hospital, I felt better each passing day. My awareness was greater. The TV screen looked clearer. But that definition was too abstract.

Betterment was changed and measured by reading the strength of my blowing into a breathing apparatus. I could record my numbers each day and compare them to readings from earlier days. It was scientific. It was the best I could do to measure my progress. But I wondered how doctors measured betterment. I concluded they measured information with sophisticated instruments, which was more than I could comprehend. At least under my method, I could wrap my arms around my breathing apparatus. It was something.

I wasn’t finished searching for betterment. Blowing higher numbers was good, but not the finish line. My mind compelled me to step up to the plate and seek out how to keep my good news going. In the hospital, I had plenty of time to reflect.

One day, I heard someone enter my room and I turned my head. My visitor was Bernie Madoff. His picture appeared so many times on Internet and TV news, I recognized him immediately, right down to the hair on his nape curling up over the back of the baseball cap he wore. I was startled. Read More

I’m Feeling Fine – Really I Am

Posted 14 Jan 2013 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

It’s simple. When you’ve had severe indigestion or you’ve had an accident more serious than a paper cut, you call a doctor or visit a hospital emergency room. The world has earned a medical degree watching TV to know whether to apply home remedies or call 911. For minor afflictions, there are plenty of products to cure that sore tummy and enough medical supplies to kill all the bacteria and cover the wound with a Band-Aid. The voiceover in medical ads tells the patient to keep using the suggested over-the-counter medication, until a state of unbearable pain is reached. Then, take aggressive action, and seek medical help. You know the drill. There is only one time I know of when a state of pleasure sends us to the emergency room: after using Viagra.

My advice is different. Be on the alert for devious silent killers in the woodwork. Don’t wait for symptoms to surface. Preventative medicine is a must. Get a yearly physical exam. Even if you get a clear bill of health every year, your doctor knows you and your potential health risks. That knowledge is a big plus in preventative health maintenance. I’ve walked out of my internist’s office sixty times in sixty years with the same diagnosis: Leonard you’re in terrific health. See you next year. Nothing seemed out of kilter, and my internist sent me home with the same firm belief, his examination was sanctioned by God and I would live for another year. I was a lucky sort, until this year.

Which brought me closer to my current medical problem. For years, I’d had pain in my calves. My internist referred me to a vascular surgeon, and he diagnosed my pain as a congenital birth defect. He suggested he could surgically rearrange some veins in my legs to increase blood flow to those muscles. More physical strength was the intended outcome.

A revisit to my internist brought a neutral opinion. “Let’s do some more tests. Here’s the name of a cardiologist.” A funny thing happened at the cardiologist’s office. I flunked the stress test, which changed the course of treatment. My cardiologist told me he needed to do a catheterization to determine the arterial heart blockage. “A stent or an angioplasty treatment may be needed.”

I was flabbergasted. How I could be so sick with no symptoms? Let me give you, the reader, a test. What do you call a person who has had Hall of Fame EKGs his entire life, no shortness of breath, no chest pains, a pulse rate of 75, a slightly elevated blood pressure reading of 130/75, and a yearly cholesterol reading below 150? For me, my test concluded I was a candidate for a heart attack. I heard a respected doctor say that if you can stay outside in extreme heat or cold, doing active functions, your heart is in good shape. Imagine that.

The catheterization revealed blockage in four arteries that could not be corrected by stents or angioplasty. Twenty minutes after returning back to my room, a heart surgeon stuck his head in and said, “Hello, I’m Dr. T. and I’ll be performing open heart surgery on you early next week.” I protested. “Dr., I have no symptoms.” He smiled. “That’s what a lot of patients say.”

The second part of the adventure fit the window of the four days between the catheterization procedure and when I arrived at Beaumont Hospital for the open heart operation. My mantra during the timeframe was, “I feel fine.” I repeated it every waking hour for four days. There was no accurate tally the number of times I said it.

I called family and friends and told them what awaited me. Everyone heard the mantra. Out shopping, I ran into friends. When I explained my situation, my story ended with, “I feel fine.” With each repetition, I asked myself, “Why don’t you call the doctor’s office and cancel the operation. Tell them you feel great.”

The day before the operation, I met with the surgeon. He outlined the plan for the following morning. I listened with respect to the doctor. He owned the knowledge to my well being. How could I challenge him? Just because I felt good didn’t mean he would buy my argument. I left the appointment with a new mantra to tell myself: Leonard, you’re not feeling great.

I walked into Beaumont Hospital eager to get started. Get the operation over, so I’d wake up, and know I lived through the ordeal. Intensive care and the cardiac hospital section consisted of eating, taking medication, and watching TV. Visitors included my wife and my children. The surgeon’s order of walking the halls proved a most important directive. Everyone helped me to get out of bed and walk arm-in-arm. I felt better. Not being confined to a bed made my spirits rise and made me feel that I would return to good health. I measured the recovery from when the pain medication, administered during the operation, wore off and the last pain pill I swallowed. Without any pain pills in my future, I was as good as new.

Nostalgia played a part. Every day, I looked at my daily ten plus pills and said, “So you guys know what part of me you’re trying to reach to make me better. Good luck.” The last time I saw such a colorful pharmaceutical arrangement was during my father’s and my father-in-law’s declining years. When they took the bouquet, I mused, “What are the pills supposed to accomplish? I don’t see any improvement. Are they supposed to keep a status quo existence or kill you slowly?” In my case, I did feel improvement each day, stronger, more alert, and grateful to God to regain independence.

I still have more treatment awaiting: cardiovascular rehab. My internist visited me every day while in the hospital. “Leonard, you’re getting better.” When I checked out to return home, he said, “See you at your yearly physical.”

Memorial tribute to a high school chum

Posted 23 Mar 2011 — by admin
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Paul Mischakoff 1939-2011

Paul was a great friend and great human being, kind and caring. His outlook on life illuminated everyone who came to know him. I felt it important to compile stories and experiences from his family and myself. If you have any memories to share, please add to the comments.

By Anne Heiles, Paul’s sister:

Paul was born July 2, 1939, in New York City. Both his parents were violinists and violin teachers, and his father, Mischa Mischakoff, was considered perhaps the world’s greatest concertmaster at the time of Paul’s birth. People might be surprised to know Paul was a hyperactive youngster, the type who took apart everything mechanical to figure out its innards. He was ahead of his age group at school, until being hit by an automobile when riding his bike home from school. After being in a coma for three weeks, he pulled through but was slowed down.

He attended Highland Park High School in Michigan after the family moved to Detroit in 1952 for his father to be concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony. He recalled how much he enjoyed being the engineer for the Radio Club, which broadcast from HPHS. Paul later became class treasurer for class reunions of his high school graduating class. After a year at the University of Michigan in electrical engineering, Paul transferred to Hillsdale College, from which he graduated in 1963 with a major in education and minors in physics and psychology. He attended Syracuse University to study math education the following year. Paul then taught math at Hampton Middle School for a year. In 1966 he received his MBA from Wayne State University, his thesis being among the first on computers. He passed the CPA exam the first time he took it.

He also worked for the Water Department for the City of Detroit while studying for an MBA. He spent two years with the Small Business Administration, worked for Sherman, Nathan, Ettinger, and Shewach, and finally became an independent CPA.

He was a Lifetime Member of the Economic Club of Detroit and of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) and very much enjoyed conferences, workshops for CPUs, and the conviviality of fellow MACPA members. Just days before his death, the MACPA recognized Paul for his contributions to the organization.  He also was a longtime usher at Temple Israel as part of his membership in its Men’s Club. Chautauqua Institution, with its lake, lectures, Music Festival, and friendships was especially dear to his heart, and he spent summer vacations there at least 50 years!

One memory I will treasure is sitting with Paul at what proved to be his last dinner. He made a characteristic wry joke, a succinct observation that only Paul would have made, despite the obvious discomfort he was experiencing and his awareness that his life was quickly winding down. then we talked about the Chautauqua program, and he told me what weeks he would like most to attend. “Chautuaqua is the constant in my life,” he said.

By Leonard Borman: Read More

When Looking in the Mirror Becomes the Only View

Posted 23 Aug 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

As we get older, our youthful looks, our strengths, sag in a slow spiral. The truism of life states sagging chins and stomachs are set in stone, etched alongside the law of gravity. No puns intended. The law of gravity cannot be challenged; it is a bedrock of physics. Our aging law happens with variety—not all chins sag the same way. What is sure is that growing old won’t be pretty looking in a mirror.

Knowing tomorrow will not surprise us, we only wonder what remnants of today will remain. Hair will gray or recede, faces will wrinkle, chins will drop, gum lines will recede, breasts will droop. They may find a happy home resting on a sagging overfed stomach. Our remedy is to stay in shape with exercise or commit to plastic surgery. To do nothing, to vegetate, invites scorn from family or friends. I suggest a no-calorie effort: botox injections.

Prescribed pills or medications find a home inside our chemistry. Most notable in the march of physical decline is our sexual functions. Our vigorous days overfilled with hormonal adventure eventually reaches empty. There are no refueling stations. If we want, what better way to inducing sadness or depression is there than looking in the mirror. Tears flow until we need to replenish with artificial tear drops.

Enough of our personal physical evolutionary. Will the same be said of our abilities and our minds? Will they sag and forsake us? Read More

Maintaining That Girlish Figure

Posted 18 Aug 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

People often ask how I’ve maintained my girlish figure for so long. If you saw me, no bulging stomach droops over the belt. No fat arms hang from the biceps. Genes count, and I attribute a lot of success to my parents. They passed me genes which never allow a 10 pound overweight condition. (By the way, my parents never looked overweight.) That’s about as scientific as it gets.

Now that I’ve reached a senior citizen age, nothing has really changed. I look trim. I drink alcoholic beverages and eat rich food. I sometimes overindulge, eating fatty and other high caloric foods. Sometimes I notice the waist on my trousers get a bit tight, and have to notch out the belt. My arms develop a muscular fat of a wannabe body builder. My facial cheeks puff, as does my backside cheeks. No, I’m not using steroids.

A bell rings, alerting me that I have reached the extra 10 pound overweight limit. I march in front of a mirror and confess I look like Porky Pig, complete with ears atop my head. Eventually a gatekeeper appears, holding up a sign, saying I’m not allowed to enter into the overweight domain. He cautions me to slow down on eating. I listen, preferring my clothes to wear from use, not ripped stitches. An automatic switch flips, waking my metabolic genie who says, ‘I’m back. I’ll take it from here.’

Truthfully, the pounds didn’t dissolve by themselves. It started with my wife pointing out, ‘You’re overweight. The seams on your pants are ready to split.’ Her underlining warning means I’d have to buy a new wardrobe. Her silent warnings were, ‘How much mortgage money do you plan to spend on new clothes?’ or ‘I can’t stand your fat ass. I’m looking for a younger man.’ Simultaneously, my inner voice speaks about practical measures. ‘Have you priced clothes lately?’ Or my armchair medical voice warns. ‘You’re vulnerable to Onset Diabetes.’ With my full attention gained, weight control becomes my main priority.

I dusted off my weight reduction remedy. Read More