Larry G. Overton – Thursday, August 27, 2015


Thursday, August 28, 2014. While all this late night/wee hours of the morning stuff was going on with me, Beth was still on call for clients, with a newly arrived apprentice that had yet to meet a single one of her clients. Beth gave Kendra her phone, and took mine, so that they could communicate as needed. That way, if a client called, Kendra would deal with it. I could go into detail about how Kendra handled things, but Beth has written about that, so I’ll leave it to you to read Beth’s blog on this.

What I will say is that Kendra was—and is—a godsend. And I mean that literally. I absolutely believe that she was sent to us from God to work with Beth. She comes from a good home (Jaime & Jasmine, ya done good), she’s a fine Christian young lady, and she has a work ethic that just won’t quit. And she’s a natural at midwifery.

Okay, back in the hospital, the personal indignities I had suffered thus far were about to pale in comparison to what lay ahead for me. By the way, if you think that a hospital is where you go to feel better, get rested and keep your dignity intact, I happen to own a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you, and I’ll give you a great deal on it.

Anyway, the poking and prodding was about to continue. The doctors wanted to do some test to determine the extent of the blockage and/or damage to my heart and arteries. After quite a bit of deliberation, I acquiesced to their will. So on Thursday they performed what they call a “left heart artery/ventricle angiography.” (If you’re impressed at my command of the medical terminology, don’t be. I’m not that savvy about medical terminology; I looked that up in my discharge papers so that I could include it here.)

To tell you the truth, my memory of what happened when gets kind of jumbled in my mind. If I recall correctly, this procedure involved a tube (catheter) inserted into my body, and dye injected into my heart. They chose to insert the catheter through the groin (what genius came up with that idea?), so they had to shave me. And since they were considering surgery and might have to harvest a vein from my leg, they shaved me from my ankles to regions of my anatomy best left undescribed.

Remember what I said earlier about personal indignities? Yeah, well, this definitely qualifies. Some guy came in and proceeded to shave me, and he was far too nonchalant about the matter for my liking. For crying out loud, the guy was humming while he did the foul deed! And he was none too gentle; he even nicked me at one point, in a place best left un-nicked.

After that humiliating experience was behind me, they still had more embarrassing situations to put me through. Here I am on a gurney, naked under the sheet, except for that useless hospital gown. Then they wheel me in and reposition the sheet like a loin cloth so that they can make the incision and insert the catheter.

I’m telling you, just check your dignity at the door if you have to go into the hospital.

Three nurses and the doctor surround the table. They gave me some medication, but I don’t remember much after the doctor said as he was about to give me the shot, “Okay, a little stick here.” If I was awake through the procedure, I don’t remember it.

The results of that test let them know that all four of my arteries had significant blockages. (I don’t remember the exact percentages; I have trouble counting that high.) They determined that quadruple bypass surgery was necessary, which they scheduled for the following morning.

The night before, as they were talking us through the following day’s procedure, a nurse was worried about my beard. (Here’s a before surgery shot.)

Beth & me in Big Bend - August 4, 2014

Beth & me in Big Bend – August 4, 2014

The hospital had previously had a heart patient that was in too bad a shape when he came in to discuss things, so they made the decision to cut off his beard so as to have unimpeded access to his chest cavity. He apparently raised a ruckus about their cutting off his beard to save his life. So now they were worried about repercussions with me.

They need not have worried. Beth took matters into her own hands…literally. The night before, she cut my beard off with a pair of scissors. I wasn’t actually clean shaven for the first time in decades, but I now had a translucent, Yasser Arafat look going on. I hate that look! But I suppose it was necessary.

Tomorrow I will talk about the surgery.