I want to thank the over three dozen people who sent me “get well” e-mails. It was very touching. I was able to answer them all as I seem to have some free time on my hands.
Just about everyone who wrote either had a heart attack or at least watches Dr. Oz on TV. One of my readers insisted that I watch Dr. Oz this week because he talked about heart stents, something that I have now. (Yikes.)
For those who don’t know of him, Mehmet Cengic Öz is a Turkish-American cardiothoracic surgeon who performs approximately 250 heart surgeries a year, and is also a syndicated talk show host! (Apparently being a cardiothoracic surgeon isn’t enough?)
Dr. Oz is on Fox (channel 11) in Los Angeles daily at 5 p.m. and, wouldn’t you know, the show is owned by Oprah. (At least he’s a real doctor, as opposed to Dr. Phil.) His webpage calls him “America’s Doctor.” He’s 50 and handsome, so if he’s not “America’s Doctor,” he’s at a minimum, the doctor to American woman who watch daytime TV. Did I mention that I seem to have some free time on my hands?
Many readers responded to my column (and condition) with humor. Helga inquired as to whether I was having such a difficult time coming up with a subject for last Friday’s column that I wound up at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. It’s no secret that the newspaper business is not exactly flourishing these days, and judging from the volume of e-mails, this one at least got “ratings.”
Dave Winter, my brother-in-law of a mere 46 years, had a 70th birthday party while I was in the hospital. He jokingly wonders about the suspicious timing of my hospital stay. I’m wondering if he and Helga know each other.
Many of those e-mailing me seemed to fumble over exactly what to say to someone who’s had a heart attack. I can relate to that. I don’t know what to say, and I had one. “Take care” seems too casual, “glad you’re still alive” is ominous and “feel better” sounds more like you’re getting over a cold.
The subject of heart attacks is so serious that some readers couldn’t say the words. One woman sent a very sweet e-mail commenting how much she enjoys my columns each week and ended with, “Sorry, you’re feeling under the weather.” Yes, if the weather was a tornado or a hurricane.
Others, however, wanted the graphic details, as if to put some distance between what happened to me and themselves. I can understand that, too. I worked out so much, and seemed to eat right (avoiding saturated fats, etc.) that it’s a bit shocking.
Marc Germain (formerly the “Mr. K” of Mr. KABC and Mr. KFI fame) e-mailed with questions about my family heart heredity issues, etc. I’m flattered to exchange e-mails with Mr. K, I just didn’t think I’d be doing it about my father’s coronary history.
Another factor that intrigued some and upset others was that I didn’t have any symptoms. It reminded me of a joke I saw a comedian tell on TV last year that unfortunately has stuck with me.
Apparently, one-third of all heart attacks are silent (as was mine) the comedian began. That means you can be in full cardiac arrest and have absolutely no symptoms. The comedian suddenly got very upset. “Oh my God,” he said as he fearfully felt every part of his body, “I don’t have any symptoms!”
Two readers sent get-well e-mails and mentioned George Bush which seems counterproductive at best. Marilyn, with whom I’ve had a running debate over the Iraq war for years, finally concedes that Iraq was a mistake. While it was cathartic to hear, it’s too little too late. Iraq wasn’t exactly a boo-boo. It was, in the context of this column, a major heart attack. It’s likely the worst foreign policy decision in our history.
Eric wrote that he was surprised I didn’t blame George Bush for my heart attack. The truth is, if I didn’t have one before, I might have this week, what with W on TV promoting “Decision Points.” In typical Bush fashion, he blames everyone but himself. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley described Bush’s “Decision Points” as “an attempt to write history before the historians get their hands on it.”
Whenever I think of Bush’s last TV appearance where he said of his eight years, “Laura and I had the time of our lives,” I still cringe. And only two years later, so many of those same dimwits will be back in power. Quoting Charlie Brown, “Good grief.”
So you can see why, in addition to saturated fats, I’m giving up politics. I hope to find comfort from readers like Jeanne who e-mailed, “I love humor. You do it well.” I should be so lucky.
Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.