I was supposed to be writing my editorial column this week from Denver, Colorado.
My loving and caretaking best friends, John Fugate, Brian Swinford and I were going to be attending the Major League Baseball All Star game in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, July 15, in the team’s magnificent sun-swept stadium in the Rockies Mountains.
It is a moment I knew I would cherish. They were to be the first days of a month-long, scenic summer journey to tour America in a brand-new GMC conversion I had just bought for that purpose. Thank you, to Sheehan Vanland and your sales representative, Guy Fusco, for making that such a pleasurable business transaction.
Back to the trip. I would even be getting to visit my younger brother, Alan, who I love so much — the doctor, who lives in the Denver area. Of course, he is not a sports fanatic. He and his vegan husband, Phil Bryson, would have taken me to eat sushi somewhere. There is no chance he would have ever gone to a baseball game with us.
After the All-Star Game, I had a special surprise for Brian and John. I was going to take them to Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, Colorado, and we were all going to go Fresh White Water Trout Fishing. The waters are so pristine; so clear.
There is an old Jewish saying my mom used to share with me. It goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans.”
God had other plans for me this summer.
Playing with my dogs last month near my home of 40 years in Victoria Park in Fort Lauderdale, I got knocked down and suffered a concussion, which left me very dazed and dizzy.
Blessed with the medical VIP care team quarterbacked by Dr. Sheldon Warman, I was immediately directed to go for a cautionary CAT scan of my skull, to ensure that there was no bleeding on my brain.
The initial results instead revealed that somewhere in the recent past I had in fact endured and survived a cerebral stroke to the occipital regions of my brain.
As a further prophylactic measure, Dr. Warman then directed me to get a thorough medical resonance image of my entire brain. I did that in early July at a beautiful, modern facility in Miramar, managed and run by Hollywood Regional Medical Health Center.
The results were alarming. The reports unveiled that I had a small tumor on my brain in the cerebellum, which required instant and immediate medical intervention. Dr. Warman then connected me with the spectacular Dr. Ricardo J Komotar, and his team of outstanding neurosurgical specialists at the University of Miami Medical Center, who met with me within 24 hours.
He determined that he would have to perform brain surgery on that tumor immediately, which luckily was small enough to either biopsy, excise, radiate, or extract. They were puzzled, however, why the tumor had apparently been autographed by the late Hall of Fame Dodger center fielder, Duke Snider. This was all beyond my powers and above my pay grade. I just took my body along for the ride. The cross-country summer vacation would have to wait.
I watched the All-Star Game on July 15 from the view of a patient on the tenth floor of the University of Miami Medical Center Brain Care Neuroscience Institute instead, next to a hospital teeming and overflowing with patients enduring a variant of Covid, because they are unvaccinated. Dopes.
In fact, my operation almost got held up because of it, because when I checked in to be admitted for the surgery, there were “no beds available.”
Because of the COVID constraints, no friends or relatives of patients were allowed into the admitting rooms. I therefore literally spent five and one-half hours sitting alone with my I pad, playing computer scrabble waiting for a bed to open up. Hey, it could have been my last game. Mr. Administrators, I am thinking this is no way to run a hospital.
This is where my life and sense of humor kicked in. If you can laugh at yourself, you will never cease to be amused. Folks, I mean it is not like I was ordering a pizza, and the Domino’s guy was late.
This is my freaking brain they are operating on the next morning, and I can’t get a bed at the Inn on the night before? This is health care in America in the year 2021? What the hell is going on here?
Now, I have some good news. After the administrative glitches were overcome, the procedure was conducted, and the patient came out alive. He is writing this column you are reading.
First, I am entirely grateful, and second, utterly amazed that I spent less time in a hospital for brain surgery last week than I did for knee replacement surgery five years ago.
Second, the first set of pathological readings from the biopsy reports have been a blessing. The tumor they tackled is benign, and while the situation will have to be monitored, no further radiation or surgical intervention is required at this time.
That is a blessing. The body was never meant to receive daily blasts of radioactive isotopes, though if you are a child of the 1960s, as I am, there were a few evenings last week where I felt like I had just dropped blotter acid in the Hofstra University dorms, and I woke up eating Chinese food off the floor.
But here I am, writing a simple weekly column in SFGN. I don’t have space on these pages to tell you what the feeling was like a week ago when a neurosurgeon was telling me he was going to drill into the nether reaches of my skull, and trespass onto the cogitative and cognitive capacities of my brain which control everything to your ambulatory and motor skills, and who knows what else? It’s a scary thing.
Finally, let me become Norm Kent, the community activist for a second. In life, you never know on which day you are going to become the pigeon or the statue. Please do yourself a favor. Plan for the unthinkable.
If you can make a reservation on the first cruise ship leaving Fort Lauderdale since COVID, first call a trusted lawyer as I use, a Greg Kabel, or any one of the so many credible LGBTQA counselors that promote their law practices on SFGN’s pages. Protect yourself.
You have a life here. Guard it. Prepare your wills, your living wills, and review your business contracts. Do it now, while you and your partner can. Don’t wait for some relative up north that you have not seen for 20 years trying to do it for you later. The life you rescue may be your own.
I am blessed. Here at SFGN, and in my law office, I have colleagues, partners, friends, and support staff to keep our ship sailing, from my law partner Russell Cormican to SFGN’s Associate Publisher, Jason Parsley. Not to mention our free paper sells ads. We need you to call Justin Wyse, our sales manager.
But please no matter, where you are, what you are doing. Make sure to put in place those modalities to protect your life as well. You will never know the day you need them. See you soon.