You have no idea how terrific it is to be able to sit and type this brief blog to you. A beginning.

The world changed for me a little more than 3 weeks ago. My heart stopped twice in 48 hours. 

The first time, I passed out. In the middle of the street 9 at night. Ended up in an ambulance on the way to Lower Keys Medical Center. Puked my guts out during the drive and early on at the emergency room. Lost my upper plate at the time. Into a bag while upchucking in the ambulance. Attendant said don’t worry, they will be returned to you at the emergency room.

I am still without them. No one could find them.

The ER wanted to send me to Mount Sinai in Miami. I refused. I was stupid. Could not believe my heart was beating low. Thirty to 40 beats a minute. Supposed to be 60 – 100. 

I went home. 

I was wearing a monitor. Two nights later at 3 in the morning, I received a phone call at home advising me to get to the emergency room. My heart had stopped for 3.2 and 3.6 seconds. I was in trouble. Ambulance arrived and I was on my way to the ER again.

This time I listened and was ambulanced to Mount Sinai in Miami. A trip from Hell. I was pissed. Thought I should have been in a helicopter. I have been a resident for 30 years and qualify. ER person in charge said I did not qualify as I was not in danger of imminent death. My argument that my heart had stopped twice in 48 hours did not qualify me.

The ambulance was not part of the Monroe County Fire Department fleet. It was a third party contractor’s. Old and shaky. Dirty. I felt every bump in US 1. Like one a foot. On a semi-nauseous stomach.

My stay in Mount Sinai was to be 2 1/2 days. Turned into 14. Went in 2/1, left 2/14.

Pacemaker and an aortic valve replacement recommended. Pacemaker first to make sure my heart did not stop during the valve replacement. The valve replace the more serious procedure.

Two fuckups during the pacemaker surgery. The surgeon left a wire in my heart and pierced my lung. Second surgery required to take care of the wire. Two lung procedures to deal with the pierced lung. Air had spilled into the area between my ribs and heart.

Sleeping next to impossible. Best was a night I was able to sleep 4 hours. Actually went 4 nights with no sleep at all. Problem was comfort. My ass had become very painful from being down on it 24 hours a day. Mount Sinai does not believe in walking patients.

I developed two blood clots in my upper left arm. Still have them. Pacemaker and clots near each other. Pacemaker more important. Must be protected. No pills, etc. to reduce clots. Nature to take care of clots. Thirty days for them to go away. In the meantime my left arm and hand blew up. Fingers swollen till now. Of no use. Could not type. Arm sore.

I am required to protect left arm and shoulder. The area of the blood clots and pacemaker. Means I cannot sleep effectively in bed. Arm must be elevated. I sleep in parlor chairs with arms to rest left arm on. My ass is in the chair 24 hours a day.

Typing today so fingers and arm functional for first time.

Came home to Lisa’s. No way could I take care of myself. Receiving nursing and physiotherapy also.

Physio going poorly. Just short of a week ago, I developed gout in both feet. Last time I had gout was 50 years ago in one toe. Took the pill and felt good in 2 hours. Pills taking a long time this time. Three alone the first day. Left foot down, normal. Right still swollen. Ball and top. Limited motion. Pain till yesterday extremely painful when weight placed on ball.

Lisa and Corey have had to lift me from chair several times an evening for bathroom, replacement of body in chair, etc. Blowing both their backs out.

I have reached the point where I can shuffle along on cane to bathroom and table since yesterday. Right foot shuffling about 4 inches ahead each time.

Not eating. Cannot chew. Putting down everything soft. Means no defecation. Farts and water all that is expelled. Not healthy. Need to get a plate. Cannot get to dentist however.

I am scheduled to return to Mount Sinai this coming wednesday for the aortic heart valve replacement on thursday. The replacement a pig’s ass.

Don’t know if I will make it. My physio has been extremely limited. Spoke with Mount Sinai yesterday. Dr. Norris a winner locally.  I suspect my next surgery will be deferred a week till I am stronger.

Such is the story. Would you believe!

I want the valve replacement. Know I need it.

There is more to come. however Mount Sinai doctors have put a hold on it for reconsideration in 6 months. I have had an aneurysm for 20 years. An aortic valve one. Same aortic valve. Where it comes out the top of my heart. It has now grown beyond the danger point. Surgery heavy. Several hours with a long recovery. Ribs have to be cracked to get at it. Whereas the aortic valve replacement will be done through the groin. Could die on the table or be screwed up the rest of my life. I am not even worrying about it at this point. Lets get through the valve replacement procedure.

Nothing more to say. The whole “mess” has been bad. My head is good. The pacemaker and valve replacement required. I am comfortable with the decision. The aneurysm we will deal with down the road. My present need it to get fixed up and back to my blog and friends. I miss people. I am a people person.

Thanks to all who have written or helped. I have more friends than I realized.

I will not be writing everyday. I am exhausted at the moment. You will hear again, however!


  1. Lou I have never meet you but read your blog daily and was worried about you!! My name is Mary and live in NJ. My husband and I just sold our golf club house and r in process of buying a great place at LaBrisa across from Smathers.

    Hang in there. Fight and get your people contact through us on the internet! We will be down in March. Hope u r home and getting your Monkey Smoothies and Date and Thyme (love that place too!). Praying a great recovery eye for you!!

    Mary Dodds

  2. Hang in there, Lou! Will be thinking of you and look forward to your progress back to good health. We haven’t seen you forever and check into your blog a few times a year. Walking the dog recently, I noticed your VW near our house. Will be looking for you and maybe pay you a visit when things settle down.

    Best regards,
    Mike and Tina

  3. wow.. just wow Lou.. first of all I am so happy to see you that you are feeling well enough to post again. You are sure a strong guy, very determined. It sounds like you have a wonderful supportive family and medical team. Looking forward to seeing your progress. S

  4. Lou, so happy you are finally back home, I’ve been so worried about you! I”m glad you and Don kept in contact while you were in the hospital. Keep your head up and stay strong. Love and miss you. Chris and Don

  5. Know there are a lot of readers of your blog who are praying and rooting for a speedy recovery. A Wisconsin retired lawyer and frequent visitor to Key West.

  6. Hello Louis, Brian and I have been thinking about you, knew something was up when you were not doing your blog. Knowing your heart issues, we have been very worried. I know you’re not out of the woods by a long shot. Keep a positive attitude, we will be praying for you and for a satisfactory outcome. Jane Mary and Brian Holan.

  7. Mr Lou, Our hearts are very heavy after just reading your blog. We wish our Best Man a recovery soon.
    You have been our friend for over 60 years and you will get through this set back with a smile on your face soon.
    Helen And Bobby

  8. Dear Lou,
    So sorry for all you are suffering
    Through! They say “Old age is not
    for sissie and you prove ir! Hang in there,
    my Friend!
    Dot Downs

  9. So relieved to hear that you’re recovering. Hope your strength and health returns soon. Have been reading you for years from Minnesota and was hoping to finally meet you this year at Date & Thyme, since we’re staying across the street. Hope you get to enjoy a Monkey Smoothie soon!

  10. My husband and I were in Key West Jan 21-28. Thought to give you a call, but never did. You and I have met up twice, the first time with my husband, the second time with a friend of mine.

    When I didn’t see anything on your blog I became worried. Without knowing what was wrong you have been in my prayers.

    You will continue to be in my prayers. May God guide the surgeon’s hands.

  11. Glad to finally “hear” from you again. Been very worried about what was going on with you. Sorry you have had to deal with these serious health issues. Sending prayers for your successful recovery from this past month and through your next surgery. Stay strong. You’ve got a lot more to do before you leave this planet, so don’t even think about it!! Waiting to hear updates from you as you’re able.

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