My meticulously-kept chronicle of Eric Byrnes’ season is going to have to fall by the wayside for at least two months. On July 4, I suffered a heart attack at work, and instead of helping to put on the Evening News, I had an angioplasty, to open a blocked artery, followed by a second procedure on two more arteries the next day.
I have been home for several days now. I was able to watch the most of All-Star game — reception would have been better at the hospital — and put up with that last comment about the karma of the end of the game, but I am for all practical purposes, on life’s 60 day DL list. At least that’s as long as I’m supposed to stay off work. I can run my mouth as well as I ever could, so with the help of my dictation program I get things like this post done. But I don’t have much strength for things that require a lot of thinking, such as a long article in evaluating Eric’s first half. Let’s just say B+ again because, although he’s getting a lot of hits, he is also striking out at a faster clip than last year, and his performance against left-handed pitching leaves much to be desired this season; I don’t know why.
Also, keeping up the lists of his stats and top plays is going to have to fall by the wayside. I’m trying to avoid having to do anything every day. But that might be the first thing I can get back to doing regularly once I get a little stronger.
One thing I will do every day as usual is watch the Diamondbacks, and I will post a short comment once in a while when Eric does something remarkable, good or bad.
Here’s hoping Eric Byrnes has a great second half, a greater second half than he’s ever had. His doing well brings a smile to my face and that is some of the best medicine I can have. Doctors can talk about how the cardiovascular disease that has brought me down is a product of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and family history. But at the root of all of those things, including family history, is high levels of stress, due primarily to years of inadequate income, and my feelings of lack of respect for my work, which is another way of saying, at least in part, inadequate income, but also other factors such as the stress that can crop up near deadlines when you’re putting together a newscast and stress over what is in the news each day.
To all of the women who read this blog, know the symptoms of a heart attack for women are different from those of men quite often. Sometimes we don’t know what’s happening, because, like me, we don’t get the crushing chest pain and pain radiating down the arm that men often get. It feels more like indigestion to many of us — I thought I was having a hypoglycemic incident related to diabetes because I had not eaten in 5 1/2 hours. But when I was given something to eat, nothing happened that made me feel better, and my blood sugar tested out normal in the ambulance. So, sisters, if you’re feeling indigestion and you haven’t eaten recently, that could be a sign of heart attack. Don’t just take antacid and go to sleep.
I feel lucky that I was at work where my coworkers were there to see that I got help. It felt ironic, however, that on this July 4, I needed a procedure to open a completely blocked artery, when last July 4, I rode my bicycle to and from this very same job, a round trip of over 10 miles.
It sure helps to know that Doug Brocail came back from heart surgery and that David Wells is pitching after a diabetes diagnosis. It helps to have baseball to watch every day and to know that various players fight back from injuries that first appeared devastating. Now I have a little inkling of what it must be like to come back from something like Tommy John surgery, because I know that beyond the initial 60 day DL, I’ve got a lot of work to do to come back to being the journalist, baseball analyst, and Eric Byrnes chronicler I want to be. But right now, the focus is on the next two months. I look forward to being up to seeing the Diamondbacks at "Ballpark by the Bay" on September 10, 11 and 12. I’ll say this much for my heart: at least it did not give me any trouble June 29, June 30, and July 1, when I saw the last Diamondbacks-Giants series. In fact, on Sunday, July 1, we had a day game and I was thinking how clear my head was from three days largely away from computers and totally away from the news. It seems obvious to me that even when your team is losing, as the Diamondbacks lost two of three that weekend, that going to the ballpark is good for the body and the soul. And I had an extra benefit: Eric Byrnes waved me that day.