Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Two days post surgery I awake with excruciating back pain,intense nausea, and a distended stomach that made me feel and look 6 months pregnant.Despite the effects of the best narcotic pain medication known to mankind,it became readily apparent that a trip to the nearest hospital emergency department was necessary.
Triaged,registered,placed on a gurney,I was soon in an emergency's observation room.After being seen by a nurse,medical student, resident and staff Doctor,I was diagnosed with an inflated bladder.The remedy, the dreaded catheter. 
We all have family medical stories.Unfortunately. mine include a beloved uncle who was reported to have suffered a heart attack as a result of a botched catheter attempt. As the nurse is penetrating the Nozick sperm storage ,these memories do me absolutely no good.
Despite my apprehension and the relative minor pain, I soon feel a massive relief as I proceed to  be competitive with the world record for urine excretion.For those of you who needs details the current  record is 5 litres of your finest juices.
 Soon the catheter was removed and I was expected to go it alone.Despite absorbing massive amounts of water and giving it my best effort I could not do what any typical 5 year old does.Before I knew it the dreaded catheter is re-inserted. I am told to contact urology after 3 weeks has passed.
Thus, without consultation or asking my permission, I know have acquired a constant companion.For the most part Herman's needs are relativity minor.Clean him,empty him and attach him firmly to my thigh goes a long way in   living in a symbiotic relationship with him.Herman comes in 2 forms: 1- The long large nighttime form, which is cumbersome but provides maximum volume.Somehow I have learned to share my bed with Herman who on the plus side does not snore or turn over during the night.Once during the night I need to empty Herman to keep him happy but for the most part we are good housemates.
 Herman also comes in a sleek,light weight, day time version which has it's own particular needs.Although this version is attached to my leg and affords me some mobility I need to be very careful I do not cause strain with the Nozick sperm source. On one occasion the tension between Herman and the Nozick sperm source proved too much necessiating a brief but informative visit to the emergency department of my nearest hospital.
Won't you know it but my past life came back to help me out. Many years ago I dated a Jewish women from Montreal whose son's wedding I attended.Well to my surprise he was the emergency doctor who attended to me. In a most professional yet personable and compassionate manner he reassured me regarding my relationship with Herman I told him,"he did his mother proud."
Herman and I, with whom I need to be with  another 3 weeks,have now come to an understanding as to what constitutes a harmonious relationship. The essentials include no straining,frequent emptying, good hygiene, and a well anchored relationship.
I look forward to freeing myself from Herman in the near future,Life lesson learned:The human soul and body has an amazing capacity to adapt when required to do so.All of us are capable of extraordinary deeds when we are stretched to our maximum potential.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

70 I Am

Wow! How do you react, that with G-d's grace,you have managed to pass a significant milestone with most of your resources intact.70! It seems surreal, as if there are talking about somebody else.I feel so much younger.As someone who has always looked younger than my stated age I am now the benefactor of this phenomenon.

At 70,it's all about your health,values and giving back to society.My energy level,with the assistance of the odd power nap, has allowed me to be fully engaged in a number of activities. 

As a child, both my brother and I would have been considered candidates for Attentional Deficit Disorder.Today we are considered focused and energetic. No doubt, my adherence to a regimented exercise and diet routine has served to fuel my energy.

At 70, with the notable exception of my heart disease,which is well controlled, I enjoy excellent health that has allowed me to continue to practice my craft as a clinical psychologist, albeit  at a reduced schedule. In addition, I now enjoy the time to engage in numerous social activities, volunteer work and travel the world. 

On the occasion of my 70 birthday, one of my grandchildren described me as follows: "elderly,smart,kind, loving,strong,funny,great at my job, and best of all just plain awesome." I am totally humbled by that description and feel blessed to be held in such high esteem by my grandchildren. As I age it is more about them and how I can help them grow and learn to cope with the demands of today's modern technological world.

70 means having a mature and balanced look on life.It's more about counting one's ones blessings than wasting energy on toxic people or situations.

As one's body ages it begins to wear down accompanied by daily aches and pains. A good day is when I get up in the mourning and I count fewer than 3 minor aches.

Although I still run, OK let's be honest,jog at a leisurely pace, I rejoice in still being able to do it.Sure I pay the price the next day, but it is my personal victory over the insidious process of aging.

Emotionally there is a stability,an inner peace, now that there is no longer a need to compete or prove oneself.At this stage of life it is about enjoying the ride and not caring where you are going.

With aging comes a reality that we are in the final quarter of our life and for a lucky few they may get overtime.Every day brings sad news about one's peers including sickness,hospitalization, and death.Suddenly we  are thrust into the role of elder statesmen for our family as the younger generation seeks our advice and counsel. 

At 70 I am blessed with good health, a loving and supportive family and friends,as well as the love and ability to practice my craft.It remains a joy to go to the office, where despite my technological limitations,I feel  I can help my clients live more meaningful  lives. 

There will come a time, when I will no longer be able to do so. I will face those obstacles when they arise, but for the moment I rejoice and am thankful for all the pleasures that life continues to bring me daily.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Recently I was shocked, shaken to the core, when I learned that my eldest son was diagnosed with major coronary heart disease.He had 3 major blockages of his arteries leading to the heart.Cardiac testing, including the gold standard, ,an angiogram,( a picture of his coronary arteries)clearly revealed he was not a candidate for  angioplasty. a relativity simple procedure to unplug the artery, but instead must undergo the more invasive and life threatening open heart surgery. 
How do you process an event  you have always thought was targeted for you and not your child.I grew up in a family where my father had 7 heart attacks, before finally succumbing to a massive stroke at 56 years of age. I cannot remember a single historical event of the Twentieth Century when I was not visiting my father in hospital. 
My father's heart disease was without doubt, the most dominating force in my life and played a large influence on my career and my personal life. In an earlier blog I have written extensively of my personal battle with heart disease , how  I have dramatically modified  my lifestyle, including adhering to a rigid and regimented exercise and diet routine. I am totally convinced at the ripe old age of 70, I would not be alive today if I didn't adhere to this lifestyle.
 Professionally I have been involved with the Cardiac Rehabilitation Unit of the Heart Institute, University of Ottawa since it's inception.I consider one of my most important professional accomplishment's was to have successfully lobbied to have a psychologist become an active member of the Rehab. team.
 Despite my efforts , genetics seemed to have played a major factor in this insidious disease attacking a member of the next generation of my family. 
Fortunately, my son was scheduled to visit Ottawa, soon after his diagnoses. That visit, served to re-assure me he was not in immediate danger,as for the most part he was able to carry on with his daily activities. As a result of that visit my son left me a treasured gift, a copy of his recent angiogram.  
Feeling helpless and paralyzed by the news of my son's heart disease I struggled with what I could do to help.Following a workout, where I do my best thinking, I came up with a viable plan.
 I phoned my contacts at the University of Ottawa's Heart Institute and was able to speak with a very able administrator who helped me access a Dr. familiar with Jason's condition. 
Upon receipt of Jason's angiogram,duly scanned and sent to him, recognizing a father's angst,he was soon in telephone contact with me.He proceeded to review Jason' situation and clearly and concisely outlined the steps necessary to rectify Jason's condition.He also provided detailed Questions for Jason to ask his cardiac surgeon that would prove invaluable.
 Suddenly I had a little more control of the situation thanks to this very caring, compassionate and humanitarian physician who somehow  emphasized and understood my concerns as a father. I will forever be thankful to him and that very able administrator who co-ordinated these events. We, the Ottawa community are very fortunate to have these soulful people as leaders of our health institutes. 
Having provided Jason with the necessary questions to ask his cardiac surgeon, it was now painfully clear that he needed the surgery.He was immediately placed on a waiting list where he was deemed to be non-essential.A very long ,anxious time followed.
 Finally, aided by Jason's persistence and charming social skills he was moved to the head of the line.His day had arrived. 
Based on a previous discussion Jason did not want me to be in attendance at the time of the surgery.I found myself,alone in Ottawa, awaiting the results of his surgery in Vancouver.
 4 Pm-Eastern Standard Time- 1PmPacific Standard Time
 After contacting Greg, my second oldest son,who was in the waiting room of the Vancouver General Hospital, I learned that Jason was still in surgery,much longer than anticipated.Time seemed to stand still. I was alone with my own thoughts and emotions.
 I thought of his birth some 45 years ago which seemed like yesterday, I thought of how I got sick,only to recover in time to be present at his birth 2 days later.This was different. I was alone with my fears and anxieties.I felt helpless to protect my son,to somehow make it right. I prayed and thanked those who had been praying for Jason.Time passed one grain at a time.I never thought I would live this long to see a child go through this. 
Finally I received a call from Nicole, my daughter in law, who informed me Jason has successfully passed through the surgery-6 by passes which took 6 hours to repair. He made it! 
During the next few days Jason was moved to a special intensive care cardiac surgery room where he received one to one care around the clock.Despite the intense pain and extreme fatigue Jason was mobilized and began his recovery. 
The next day, at Jason's suggestion,the kids took a picture of him tethered to his IV and oxygen and E-mailed it to me. He looked just like Jason. RE-assured by the post operative picture I begin to relax a little and started to breathe normally. Latter Jason would tell me he looked a lot better than how he felt. 
After a few days Jason was moved to a regular room.Soon after, upon the advice of a friend, a male nurse,he decides to leave the hospital early so as to avoid an infection.He arrives home, 5 days after his surgery, to a hero's welcome.
 As previously scheduled, I arrive in Vancouver 6 days after his surgery. I immediately find my way to his home where I am reassured by his physical presence. He looks great! We go for a walk around the block,albeit at a 90 year old pace, yet he is moving.
 Over the next month Jason progresses nicely, gradually extending his physical efforts despite the  pain which is a constant reminder of the operation he survived.
 He is well on his way to a full recover. Jason knows what a lucky man he is , and that he needs to modify his lifestyle.He is smart,he will quickly learn how to cope with his heart disease, for which he now has become the leading man in the Nozick clan.