It was a Saturday night in December of 1980. We had just retired for the night. A strong tightening of my chest happened as I was laying down. I sat upright and remained that way until the feeling relaxed. Sunday I did not have the energy to climb the stairs. I reported to the nurse Monday morning and was told to go to the emergency room at Kingston Hospital. They gave me a cardiogram and asked for Wilma's phone number.
"I'll call her when I get up. Thanks anyway."
"You aren't getting up," They told me, "You've had a heart attack. We are sending you up to the intensive care unit."
I spent three weeks in a ward being monitored. They were about to send me home. When another chest pain occurred that morning. By noon I was in Valhalla Hospital being interviewed by a surgeon.
"Do you smoke", He asked?
"I did until now", I admitted.
"Are you going to smoke after the by-pass surgery?"
"I doubt it", says I.
"I want to know if I am wasting my time", says he.
His words were equivalent to hypnosis. I never smoked again nor would I attend a meeting if smoking was allowed. Cigarette smoke became so distasteful I would insist the stewardess change my seat on a plane. There is no one more annoying to others than a converted smoker. But enough peripherals.
Six by-passes put my heart back on track for sixteen years till a repeat performance was necessary. The second time it was done at the Albany Medical Center. I am a very lucky fellow, not only to have survived these major problems, but I had many concerned friends and family to encouraged my progress.
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