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Cultivating love, retiring the rototiller

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By Larry Simoneaux
I missed a column last week.
Which led to a number of calls, emails, and inquiries as to what was up.
To answer, I haven't retired.
By way of explanation, I'll start by noting that, in the dictionary, the words "stubborn" and "stupid" aren't all that far apart. Further, were there a connection between the two, my wife would say it would be a picture of me.
As I've previously written, she and I recently drove to Texas to visit our daughter and granddaughter. Things were great and we were all having a good time until I was asked to help put in a garden.
It was to be my daughter's first garden, so (here's the "stubborn" part) I immediately went into "male" mode, fetched a rototiller, and began breaking up thick grass and Texas hard pan. This, despite the fact (plus reminders and warnings) that, five years ago, while cutting up some trees for firewood, I had a heart attack.
After about two hours, this led to chest pain that registered about 8.5 on a scale of 10, put me on my back, and sent me to a nearby emergency room. There (here's the "stupid" part) I tried to convince a doctor that I was fine. He then said that I'd have to sign a medical form that basically said: "We told this fool that he was hurting, but he left any way. Don't blame us."
So, instead of leaving, I was carted to an ambulance, which led to a two-day stay in a puncture palace that included a heart catheterization. That procedure led to some head scratching while I was on the table because everything on the screens was looking good until the cardiologist said something (in medical terms) that translated to: "Whoa! Look at this."
Which is not what you want to hear while you've got some tube running from your groin to the inside of your heart.
Any way, the "whoa" was because one of my coronary arteries was neither dilating nor reacting as quickly as it should have -- ergo, the pain I felt.
The best diagnosis is that I may have something called Endothelial Dysfunction. Even though it felt exactly like my previous heart attack, I didn't have one and I came away with no damage and a complimentary CD of the procedure for my cardiologist to review.
Long term, as long as I eat well, keep the weight off, exercise, and not use rototillers (chain saws went away a long time ago), I should be fine. So, no column last week, and we postponed our return for a few days.
We're home now and my wife has stated (as only she can when I've really stepped into the universe of dumb) that I'm never again to touch anything that has a pull starter attached.
As an aside, I think she still loves me. Reluctantly, though, at the moment.
Which brings me to this point. About 42 years ago, I made the best decision of my life and asked this woman to marry me.
Lord knows why she said "yes," but there's a special place for her in heaven for all that she's gone through. Moved 13 times. Raised three kids -- often alone while I was away at sea. Had four hip replacements. Saw me through a heart attack. And she did (and does) it all with patience and a quiet dignity that forever elude me.
I may be strong, but she's tough. Strength fades. Tough endures. Still, when I went down this time, she was watching and I saw her face and what was on it. Pain. Worry. Fear. And she didn't need any of them.
And, right then, I made a decision that I'd never do anything like that to her again. I care for her far too much and she doesn't need me doing (stupid) things that hurt her far more than they hurt me.
So, I think that I'm going to buy a white linen suit, a string tie, a Panama hat, and an ebony cane. Then, I'm adding a porch to the house where I can sit while sipping mint juleps and pontificating to passersby.
Beyond that, if anything extremely strenuous needs doing, someone else can do it.
You see, there's this very remarkable woman that I love and to whom I need to make amends.
Simply because she deserves that and far more.
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to:

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