A personal message

This is a personal report to readers and friends.

I visit my dear bride Betsy in her room at a local assisted-living home, daily in the afternoon. Last Thursday, when our visit ended, I stopped in her private restroom before heading home. As I was drying my hands, I suddenly lost consciousnesses and crashed to the floor, striking my head and other parts of my body, I awoke seated in a large chair as an employee of the home applied a Band-aid to my injured elbow.

Two days later I was discharged from the hospital, a portable heart monitor taped to my chest, forbidden to drive for two weeks at least.

I have a history of heart disease. In 1997 I had 7-vessel bypass surgery, a record number for University of North Carolina Hospital. A heart attack came in 2004. For years I have had an arrhythmia. My ticker skips a beat fairly frequently. Until last Thursday, this hasn’t caused me any problems.

Doctors have concluded that the occasional pause in my heartbeat was longer than usual at that moment — too long — last Thursday, causing me to black out and crash to the floor.

Examinations also show that the wall of my heart’s left ventricle is thin, which increases the risk of trouble.

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 87th birthday. Yes, I’m old, and I appreciate every one of those years. I feel at peace with the realization that the end of my life journey grows closer. This incident last week brought this reality into sharper focus.

But I intend to keep on keeping on, living my life to its fullest, grateful for the love and support of family and you, my friends.

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