John Ostrander 2.0

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. Better than he was before. Better… stronger… faster. – The Six Million Dollar Man

So – where were we?

I’d had a 7 mm. golden nugget lodged in my right kidney. That got removed but then I went into the hospital with sepsis and acute urinary infection. That led to the discovery that I’d had a heart attack, much to my amazement. I’d felt nothing; it was revealed in chemical markers. Further investigation showed that while the heart itself was okay, I needed a triple bypass.

Well, that was a stunner.

The procedure is called a coronary artery bypass graft, known as a CABG, sometimes called a “cabbage.” Which is a little disconcerting. Working on my heart is a cabbage.

It’s a relatively recent procedure, starting up in the ‘60s. It’s not uncommon now and they’ve gotten pretty good at it but nonetheless it is major surgery. In the literature they give you before the operation, they tell you that heart attack, stroke, and death are possibilities. It’s open-heart surgery and, among other things, they can stop your heart while you’re hooked up to a heart/lung machine. Think about that. Usually, when your heart stops, you’re dead. Here they stop it and then fix you and then bring you back from the dead. That’s pure science fiction a century ago. Or maybe Frankenstein.

My day started with a requirement to be at the hospital at 6 AM. I’m sort of a morning person but not that early a morning person. Still, I figured I’d make it up later when they knocked me out. So I’m in operating prep, lying on a gurney in my very attractive open-backed hospital gown, and this female attendant comes in and announces that she is going to shave the front of my body from the neck line to my ankles.


Didn’t see that coming.

I assumed they would remove my chest hair because, after all, that’s where they’d be working, but shave my entire front? I wound up naked as a babe or a male porn star.

Not that I would know what a naked male porn star would look like. I’ve … heard reports is all.

Then I was wheeled into surgery and the deed was done. Actually, I sort of had the easy part at that stage. I was out of it. My Mary and members of her family as well as members of mine had to sit in the waiting room for about five hours to find out if I survived it all.

Spoiler Warning: I survived.

I woke up in the CCU (Cardiac Care Unit) with tubes down my throat and wasn’t that uncomfortable. Necessary but uncomfortable; the goal was to keep my lungs open. My Mary says it looked like I had a face-hugger from Aliens on me.

Actually, I had lots of tubes sticking out of me, draining this, siphoning away that. I felt like I was in Young Frankenstein. I almost (but not quite) broke into a chorus of “Putting on the Ritz.” With the tubes down my throat, I probably could only have managed “Rargle gurk guk rozzick.”

I’m making good progress in my recovery; all the nurses and doctors are pleased and I’m appreciative to them and to the friends, fans, and acquaintances who have sent prayers and good wishes. They do mean a lot.

So, from here, I work at getting better and figuring out something else to talk about next week other than myself.

Wish me luck.

Editor’s Note: Loathe as I am to add material to somebody’s column, but John left out the very best part – he returned home mid-week, safe and sound.

And, of course, that’s when the furnace exploded. Afternoon temperature yesterday was 42 degrees. Ahhh… good times!