Thoughts on ghosting, heart attacks, and the art of a finely made mojito

Okay. So.

Here I am beginning a blog post with both Okay and So. The sure sign a blogger is in a slump and feeling desperate.

Not only have I not been posting for the last, oh, two weeks or so, I haven’t been writing or reading or facebook-ing or any other social media-ing. I might have looked at my email once or twice, but that’s about it.

I’d like say the reason was because I’ve been on a far-away island with endless ceviche and mojitos served by a cabana boy named Liam, an NYU grad who couldn’t make it in the cutthroat world of teaching high school ceramics, so used his latte money to purchase a plane ticket to a far-away island where he’s now a cabana boy serving me damn-fine mojitos and ceviche.

I’d like to say that, but I can’t.

Fact is, my absence was due to a hospital stay. Not by me, but by another member of this household and that, my friends, is why this blog post begins with an Okay and a So. I assure you, had I been the one in the hospital bed, there would have been no occasion for either Okay or So.

But Husband? No. He’s not supposed to be the one in the hospital bed. That was our agreement and I really don’t understand how he missed the memo on that subject, but somehow he did.

Okay. So.

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning to be precise, I awake early and begin doing my morning routine, i.e. making tea and talking to myself. Then Husband walks in and says he’s having some heartburn, only he’s also sweaty and clammy and for some reason his left elbow hurts.

“Do you want to go to the hospital?”

“Maybe… I don’t know… It’s probably nothing.”

“Well, I’m going to get dressed just in case.”

Two minutes later...

“Um… yeah, I think we should go.”

“On it!”

Thankfully we live within a very short distance to a hospital and, thankfully, that hospital moved him to another hospital which, thankfully, has a top-notch cardiac unit. An angioplasty and three stents later, he’s doing well and I’m now cooking without salt and minimal fat and beginning blog posts with Okay and So.

All this is to say, when it came to writing and reading blogs, my head just wasn’t in the game. But things are going better now and I’ve got tons of things I could tell you about.

Like, I could tell you about the little chickadees visiting the bird feeder in our backyard, who I’m beginning to suspect are chirping naughty things to each other.


Or I could tell you about the nun who visited my office the other day who I swear was in every respect the female version of Tim Conway’s old man.

old man

Or maybe I’ll tell you about the Easter vigil we attended at the convent where Husband, one week from a heart attack mind you, played trumpet and I stood at the ambo (seriously never heard that word before, have you?) and read aloud the “intercessions” and gave a reasonably half-assed impression I knew what I was doing.

Presbyterians call them lecterns, Catholics call them ambos. Oh, the things I’m learning.

Instead, what I’ll say is this: I’m sorry for ghosting on you. Now that I’m back, you’ll be hearing from me. I just checked my email and I see several of my blogger buddies have posted… well shit, they posted a lot. I better get reading.

Hey, before I go, if by chance you should meet a cabana boy named Liam, tell him I’m shooting for next April, okay? And tell him if he muddles the mint particularly well, there’ll be a nice tip in it for him. Thanks.

69 thoughts on “Thoughts on ghosting, heart attacks, and the art of a finely made mojito

  1. Omgosh! I’m so sorry! What a frightful time you’re having, but so grateful all has gone well. Quite striking that a former work chum ( hubs took early retirement) had only days ago took his girlfriend to dinner but complained his jaw hurt. It was bad enough that he wanted to go home but GF said, hey, let’s just go to the hospital to be safe. They too transported but as they were taking him out of the ambulance, he died! Thankfully they were able to shock him back.
    I’m so glad you shared this because so many dont survive simply because they think ” its probably nothing”. Also, it shows how different those symptoms can be, especially for women. Sharing experience and knowledge can save lives.

    1. Oh my gosh, that’s scary! My husband’s jaw started hurting when he was already at the hospital — neither of us ever heard of that as a symptom before. We’re thankful this didn’t happen a few months earlier when he actually was having a lot of heartburn, as he probably would have ignored it.

  2. So sorry about the whole Liam thing. I could see how you’d enjoy that.

    Okay, the husband thing was bad too. Makes the day way more interesting than I’d like it to become. I remember the last time I was taken to the hospital – I spent a lot of time telling bad jokes to the staff. Then my wife got more worried and told the doctor, “The worse his jokes are, the more pain he’s in.” I think that’s when the started the morphine, but events of that evening are a little muddled.

    Not, muddled like Liam does to mint, but there are a number of events of that evening that aren’t completely clear to me – except that time I ask for a red crayon so I could help them draw blood.

    Here’s hoping for full recovery and that this never happens again – the heart attach, not Liam …

    1. You should have heard Husband’s jokes, you could have compared notes! On the plus side — or maybe this should concern me, not sure — he was very popular with the nurses. I think they were quite sorry to see him leave.
      I suppose we were lucky to have this happen when it did — I mean, if it HAD to happen, it was a good time for it. We were home, awake and alert, and close to the hospital. So all things considered, we were very, very lucky.
      As for Liam, he’ll just have to muddle through without me. 😉

  3. Sad, funny, smart and oh so (not to be confused with Okay, So)
    deftly written.

    Truly sorry about hubby. I’m glad he is headed for wellness now,
    and that you, too, have survived the trauma with sense of humor
    intact. As for those chickadees, you know what they (not the chickadees) say …
    they (the chickadees) are only young once.

    1. Aw, thanks. Without humor, not sure I could survive.
      As for the chickadees, I learned they have 16 different “chirps” and the one I’m currently hearing is… well, it’s basically their pick-up line. Kind of like, “how you doin’?”
      Seems like they’d be classier than that, but maybe I shouldn’t be judgmental. 🙂

  4. CJ, I had been wondering where on earth you were. Sorry about your husband, but how grateful you must be that he got the good medical care he did. Best of luck on cooking healthier! Ambo is not a term I have heard before either. I think we UCC’ers call it a pulpit. Glad you are back at it!

    1. Aw, you missed me! Thanks!
      Did you know St. Cloud is considered best in cardiac care for the Midwest? Ain’t that something? Guess we picked the right place to be!
      As for the ambo, been giving it some thought. In both Lutheran & Presbyterians churches, there is a pulpit and a lectern, but the pulpit is only for preaching. Everything else is done at the lectern. So I wonder if ambo does double duty? It’s the only stand there, so maybe. 🤔

      1. No, I didn’t know that about the St. Cloud Hospital! That is, by the way, where our oldest was born. So many coincidences with us, right? Next Sunday I’ll have to take a look…there might be both a pulpit and a lectern, now that I think about it!

  5. Okay. So. No need to apologize for your absence! (I’ve been gone too, but without any good excuse like you). Glad to hear your husband came out of that okay. I hope if I have a heart attack I’ll do the sensible thing, but that’s up for grabs.

    I’ll look forward to chickadees and Caribbean dreams in the near future!

    1. I know I wouldn’t do the sensible thing, that’s for sure. “Oh no, I’m fine. It’s just a little chest pain. I’ll walk it off… ” *slumps to floor*

      I’m getting the biggest kick out of these chickadees! The bird feeder is pretty close to our dining table and they look like dapper little fellas, but they’re a hoot to watch. Especially when the woodpecker comes along and they’re all like, “hey buddy, this ain’t yours!”

      1. I’ll do anything to avoid seeing a doctor. Even die? Well, I hope not. 🤔

        Our magpies are quite busy right now and the first hummingbirds have arrived. Time to be a nectar slave!

        1. Gasp – you have magpies?! Seriously, they’re my favorites. I know some people think they’re pests, but I love ’em. They’re so mischievous and smarter than the average human. Plus they have that flashy plumage going for them. We used to see them when we lived in Nebraska, but I don’t know if they make it to Minnesota.

          1. I love them! They’ve been nesting near the house for several years. They’re a truly northern bird, but in checking the range map, it seems you will be out of luck. Maybe one will wander a little further east to keep you company.

    1. Thanks Diane — we actually didn’t realize it was a heart attack until the next day when the doctor told him. It took awhile for it to sink in even then. Hope all is going well with you. ❤

  6. Oh no! Sorry to hear about your husband. So glad he’s okay! And that you took him to the hospital right away. Take care! And yes, I’ve heard of an ambo… guess because I’m Catholic too 🙂

    1. Yes, we’re doing okay now. Thanks!
      It’s funny our different terms for things, isn’t it? The question isn’t “why do Catholics call it an ambo,” but, “why do Protestants call it anything else?!” 😀

    1. Yes, I’m very glad he acted on it. Some men can be real twerps about things like that.
      As for me, I was doing real fine until a few days after we got home and then, phlump, I crashed. Slept for many, many hours. Funny how that works. 😉

      1. I kind of like the challenge, too. I was on vacation with my husband, who was allergic to onions, my son, daughter-in-law, who was gluten-free, my father-in-law, who was diabetic, my daughter, and her friend who was vegetarian. Figuring out a dinner everyone could eat was a challenge, to say the least!

  7. CJ
    I did miss you but thought it was the usual work at the convent that was keeping you out of blogging and being naughty. Who knew it was a health crisis at home. I agree he should have read the memo. Husbands are not allowed to be sick. But on the serious side, glad you are making changes in lifestyle and eating healthier- I guess it is good to focus on lots of green leafy vegetables, healthy fats, medium amount of proteins, and no junk- probably that includes sweet baked goods too.( I am sorry). And thankful you are both ok. Here’s sending you lots of mojitos and a vacation in the Caribbean too.
    We call them pulpits being Church of England. But ambo could be a place where the preacher keeps his stuff and can move around and make eye contact with the congregration( like short for ambulatory, do you think).
    In my native language ambo would mean, Oh my God, which is quite apt too.

    1. This was just one of many memos husbands seem to miss. Others involve socks and cleaning whiskers out of the bathroom sink. Clearly, we need to do a better job posting memos.
      I like the idea of an ambulatory ambo! Could be useful to keep parishioners paying attention, not falling asleep — I can see the priest zipping down the aisle on a modified Segway — wow, that would be a sight! 😀
      Thanks for the comment, Susie. Always appreciated! 🙂

  8. Well CJ, you have a more than valid excuse. I am sorry to hear about your husband
    and also glad that he could get help so swiftly.
    It is important for us to get the priorities right. You enjoy each other’s company and
    don’t fret.
    I have a realtor called Liam … would that do? Don’t know about his cocktail mixing though. 😊 .


  9. This is a good reminder to pay attention to those physical symptoms that sometimes just show up like unexpected letters from the IRS. I am happy to hear that your husband got the medical care that he needed and was back tooting his horn so soon afterwards. I am sure Liam will be waiting for you with a well-muddled mojito in hand. But first, you have a bunch of brilliant blog posts to read!

  10. I’m glad your back and so glad your husband is back… jaw is hurting, very interesting.

    A few weeks ago, I had pain under my left arm. I went to the hospital. they took test after test, 2 stress test, imaging from head to toe, they couldn’t figure it out, I have normal blood pressure, everything is normal. So they send me home. A few days later the doctor calls me and has me come to his office. He puts the images on the screen and there it is… 3 fractured ribs under my left arm. Everyone was looking in the wrong place, but thats ok, I’ll take the fractured ribs.. jc

  11. Wow, for a few minutes your husband sounded just like mine. “Maybe… I don’t know… It’s probably nothing.”
    We were living in a compound in Qatar, and there was a doctor just up the street. He suggested I drive my husband to the hospital just in case. Admission was simplified because the Doctor spoke the language. The heart attack happened the next day in the hospital and that resulted in a very quick angioplasty and one stent.
    Prior to the decision on the stent, I was asked whether we were willing to pay for the more expensive stent. I could just imagine my husband saying, “Well, just let me plug some numbers into an excel spreadsheet so I can do a cost-benefit analysis…”

    1. Haha! My husband is quite fond of spreadsheets too! Back when I had complications after a surgery, he kept a spreadsheet of my fluids, medications, etc. and brought it to every appointment. There might have been a pie chart too, now that I think of it. 😀

  12. So.

    I imagine this is the sort of thing you don’t just blurt out at an icebreaker. There might be even more heart attacks. Nicely handled, and good to hear your husband is doing ok.

    For what it’s worth, my next post will involve a far-away island, ceviche, strong drinks, and a guy with an unusual name (but not Liam.)


      1. Well, not a formal recipe. I have guesses as to what might be in it. I did ask, but that was 6 weeks ago – and I can’t remember what I had for breakfast last weekend. I’ll be posting the story Monday night.

  13. Well, at this point in the commentary, all of the important things have already been shared, so I feel a bit inadequate. That aside, please don’t feel the tiniest bit of guilt about your performance in the blogging world. Much more important things are just that, much more important. And personally, I heartily approve of “Okay. So.” as an opening line…

    1. Okay, so I feel a lot better about using okay, so. Thanks for that.
      Everything you wrote makes sense and I understand it intellectually, but it still surprised me how muddled my thinking was for a good while after it happened, and no mint leaves were involved. 😉

  14. Tel your husband he’s a very naughty boy for missing that memo. So sorry that you’ve had to deal with an medical emergency, but relieved to read your husband has been treated well and is on the mend. You certainly deserve a mojito or four after all that, so if hubby could see to a speedy recovery, I think you both could do with that holiday.

    1. As naughty as he was not reading the memo, so far he’s been a champ at sticking to a healthy menu and taking his meds. So a couple mojitos sounds like a great reward — for me! 😉

  15. I have tried for 5 days to find the exact words that offer comfort and support (not too serious/not too humourous) but … they always came up lame. So, Christi, you had a hell of a scare, now it’s time to eat your vegetables, get some sleep, wear warm socks, drink a glass of wine, look out the window and keep the ones you love close to you. That and all the other thoughts I have for you, buddy. (Words are such feeble things sometimes.) cheers

    1. Maybe words are feeble, but wielded by the right person they can be powerful indeed (looking at you, WD). So I thank you for these words, five days in the works. It was time well spent.

    1. Yes, we’re doing well, thanks! Though it was a bit of a shock to realize he is one of the people with “underlying health conditions,” meaning we have to be extra careful right now. On the bright side, we’re living in a state that’s not jumping the gun on lifting restrictions.

      1. Yes, it’s a crazy time. I’m happy California took this seriously as well. It’s a disruption, but enough people have died already. We don’t need to add more.

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