I have never been one to enjoy sitting and waiting on anything, especially something that has the very real potential to become unpleasant. But that's what I've done since Friday, June 30, when I completed a heart cath and discovered that three of my main arteries were blocked, one even 100%. My family had already scheduled our annual trip to Ponce Inlet, Florida for July 7th-July 15th and, while my doctors had mixed feelings about postponing surgery until July 18th, they gave me the green light to go ahead and make the trip.
Since I had not had a heart attack and my heart was very strong, and if I was very careful not to over-exert, I should be okay.
Things have gone very well so far. My wife and children have been so very attentive to my every need. I have not had to carry anything to the beach, not even my chair. The hardest part of the week has been not being able to lift or even play with my grandchildren. It's hard to explain that to kids who fully expect you to be able to do what you did just a few months ago. I fully intend to be able to return to normal grandparent activities within a few months.
Having a triple bypass is not nearly as serious as it was ten or fifteen years ago. In many cases it requires just a few nights in the hospital to recover, then you begin rehab almost right away. Again the worst part is just sitting and waiting. While I'm waiting however, there are a few things I am stressed about.
The late great Lewis Grizzard once said about his bout with open heart surgery, "Think about this ladies and gentlemen. There are seven places in the human body where you can stick a tube......without making no new hole. Yes ma'am that's one of them. It certainly is." "The problem with heart surgery is they got seven holes and nine tubes. They have to put two new holes in you. They put one on each side of your navel. They're your stomach tubes. It don't hurt goin' in. Comin' out is a whole other ballgame.'
I laugh about those comments from his book, "They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat," but I am so glad I paid attention to my body's warning signals. In most cases one's body will tell one when there is a problem. All we need to do is recognize it when something is wrong.
I have never had any pain, just tightness in my chest and I became short of breath at the drop of a hat. Climbing to the top of the stairs at my home.....just one flight of steps caused me to be totally winded. That was not normal. At first I felt I was just old, fat and out of shape. When it became a bit worse I went to my personal physician Dr. Mark Heinsohn who set up some tests right away. My stress test came back abnormal so Dr. Heinsohn sent me to cardiologist Dr. Bill Warren who scheduled an arteriogram. The results were one artery blocked 100%, one blocked 80% and another blocked 70%. Stints were not an option, so under the knife it would be.
I have total and complete faith in my doctors. I also have total and complete faith in my Lord. I don't feel that he is finished with me just yet. There is still too much to be done. So, I'm not one bit afraid of what lies ahead. I plan to be on the field umpiring again next spring. I plan to continue to promote my book, "Seasons of Change" and I plan to write at least one more book before I'm done. I also plan to join WFLI radio as soon as possible to host a sports talk show and do high school play-by-play in the fall. Coming out of retirement is just being delayed a few weeks due to a triple bypass. That's all there is to it.
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Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for 30 years. He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga television for more than a quarter-century. In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith. They have five grandchildren, Coleman, Boone, Mattingly, DellaMae, and CoraLee.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org