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MY TICKING TIME BOMB - PART ONE
The story of my life since age 15, as told by the doctors I had to deal with back then, was that I would not live to the age of 45!
That was after staying 12 days in the hospital, in which the first three days I was in quarantine! It took them that long to determine I was suffering from acute rheumatic fever since they had never seen it so prevalent before.
I had caught strep throat and it wasn't taken care of. It then developed into rheumatic fever. It wasn't until I was paralyzed from head to toe and couldn't get out the bathtub that my parents finally took me to the hospital. I came close to death while they were diagnosing the situation and then trying to deal with it.
This single event would affect everything about the rest of my life. Knowing as a teenager that you have a limited life in front of you makes you figure out your life's plans differently than planning for a long lifetime.
First, though there is the recovery period of having gone through such a devastating disease. The first year or two after having rheumatic fever the patient is to avoid being active. No exercising or active playing, or at least that's how it was back in the early 70s.
I was not following the doctor's orders and it was the following Halloween night that I snook out of my bedroom and went out hell-raising with my friends. A few hours later we were all riding bikes by the Seminole Mall and I had a mild heart attack.
Somehow I got back home and my parents found out and the next morning I had to go back to the hospital and they confirmed it was a heart attack.
Classes for high school were changed for me since I could not take physical ed in the 9th and 10th grades. Since Seminole High was a vocational school, I was able to have 3 1/2 years of architectural drafting and shops classes each day!
From the day leaving the hospital and continuing for the next five or so years I was taking heavy doses of V-cillin, a version of penicillin. A decade or two later we learn that taking that much penicillin as a preventative is not a good idea.
It was a few years later when I realized what health insurance was and the term "pre-existing conditions". For insurance purposes here in the United States, having had acute rheumatic fever is an automatic denial from the so-called health care insurance companies.
I started to learn about this situation once I moved back to Denver for the second time in my life in the Spring of 1979. At that time I was a very regular sufferer of severe migraine headaches and I would need medical care to handle them at times. I was working at Peaches Records and Tapes at the time and had a vicious migraine attack at the store one night and I was taken to Denver General's ER.
It was then that I learned that Denver had a socialized medical system for all the residents of the City. In fact, for decades now Denver has been known as the best socialized medical system of any major city in the USA. I have personally come to learn this the hard way.
Now when you're told at the age of 15 and 16 that you will be dying of heart failure in your late thirties or early forties, your "life's plans" probably are at least a little different than most other teens.
Things, like getting married, having a family, buying a house, collecting Social Security and retiring, are all pretty much out the proverbial window.
Because of the migraine, I became a patient of Denver General and it was then that I learned of the advent of heart valve replacement via open-heart surgery. As long as I was a resident of the City of Denver, they would take care of my heart condition they told me! However, this was not true if I lived in Aurora, Lakewood or other surrounding cities.
The cardio team in 1981 was trying to convince me to have the heart valve replacement done as early as possible, but I was convinced that I would keep it to the last moment before splitting me open. There was never really anything about open-heart surgery that made me look forward to getting it done.
I was not looking forward to having anything like the above image happen to me!
By the beginning of 1987, I had enough of my life's situation in Denver and so I sold all my vinyl to Wax Trax
and used the money to move out "East". My original plan was to live in Manhattan, but that is a tough thing to do on your own and with a car. The long, crazy story said short, I ended up living in Baltimore for a year and a half.
The Damned was on tour and I was friends with Rat Scabies
from their previous tour, as I was the house electrician at the original NightClub 930 in DC once I started living in B'more.
So I decided that I would drive South following The Damned and would then also see The Who in Tampa Stadium.
The image above was taken at the Riot Fest in Denver 2016 and not by me.
While I was in St. Pete to see The Damned at Janus Landing, I was pulled over for a crack tail lens. I had a valid Colorado driver's license, but because I did not pay two speeding tickets that I got on my Norton twelve years previous, Florida considered that I was driving without a valid license!
That ended up keeping me in Florida for six months longer than planned and then life's craziness kept me there for another two years before I moved back to Baltimore!
(There is an old saying that holds very true in the State of Florida: "Come to Florida on vacation and leave on probation".)
That craziness was me being challenged by my family members and friends to "do something" with my life. By "doing something" I started the first company in the world to specialize in the installation and isolation of ceiling-mounted surgical microscopes! No one had ever offered a written guarantee against vibrational problems in ceiling-mounted microscopes before I did. Https://Mittmount.com
I moved myself and Mittmount to Baltimore, MD in 1992 and used that crazy city as my HQ until December 1994. By January 1995 I was living in Knoxville, TN. Both cities were good traveling hubs to live in, but B'more was just too dangerous and my home was getting broken into every time I left town, plus nowhere in the South are the Gators more hated than in Knoxville. What more reason would I need to live there?
Gators love being hated in the SEC, the most powerful and respected of all the College Conferences when it comes to football. During that period of 1994 to 1998 Gator football was the most feared in the nation.
However, Gator football is something to be written more about at another time.
Part Two: https://www.writespike.com/story/eDiVdfgYWMDE/my-ticking-time-bomb-part-two
Part Three: https://www.writespike.com/story/C88ENg8fWxLK/my-ticking-time-bomb-part-three
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