Some things never change

Published 10:42 am Thursday, September 2, 2010

I was sitting outside the Rahilly building at the 2010 Mower County Fair a couple of weeks ago, recovering from a heart attack. Doctors warned me not to do anything exciting, so I went to the fair.

I was also performing a valuable service for the Mower County Historical Society.People would come by and ask me, “Where are the public restrooms?” After awhile I got so annoyed that I told them, “It’s clear on the other side of the fairgrounds behind the poultry building. Judging by that Texas two-step you’re doing, you better hurry. Remember to have the right change.”

The Fair Board is gearing up to charge all latecomers $5 a vehicle to spend an hour watching the entertainment at the beer garden. It’s their way of saying, “Next time, park the car in Mapleview and walk to the fairgrounds. We need the parking revenue to pay for the new jail and justice center.”

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One night I was parking cars for the Fair Board and shaking down people who thought they would beat the heat and humidity be going to the Mower County Fair after 9 p.m Fat chance. You pay up until fair-closing tie,

Actually it was the perfect job for a man recovering from another heart attack. I remember it well, sitting on the grass watching the fireworks display on Independence Day surrounded by the grandchildren. shooting bottle rockets at the people sitting a few yards away, when a pain erupted from the heart. It subsided, but when I tried to get help, it was back. The grandchildren all hoisted the old man to his feet and walked me to the car. I wish I knew which one of them tried to pull my billfold from my back pocket.

The next day I checked myself into the Austin hospital, where they immediately transferred me to a Rochester hospital. The Gold Cross ambulance ride cost $5,0000 – paid for by Medicare and my Blue Cross/Blue Shield supplementary plan.

That’s right, a 40-mile run down I-90 with lights and sirens.

After two weeks in two hospitals, I was sent home to begin my recovery. There are so many bottles of prescription drugs on my kitchen table I could open a pharmacy at Pickett Place where I live.

Now, I’m back at Austin Medical Center’s outstanding cardiac therapy department, where I get to listen to interesting people like Bud Higgins complain.

There have been some other health complications, but generally I think I’m getting better all the time.

People all over Austin and Mower County have been so kind. And I appreciate the many gestures of goodwill. That’s the only way they know how to behave.

My first heart attack occurred in August 2001. One thing hasn’t changed in those nine years. When a doctor comes into my hospital room and puts on rubber gloves, I still run like hell.