A week or so ago, I had to shelve going to a Halloween party hosted by two of my favorite people because of, you guessed it, my diminished health situation.

By Christopher Green

I really wanted to go because Joe, although we don’t see each other so much these days, is truly my best friend. He is the guy that if I was in trouble, I would call first. Not only that, his significant other, Diane, has always been in my corner when I needed her.

These two have been  friends of mine since back in the 80’s. Joe knew me when I was drinking; Diane met me after I stopped.

Now Joe has an artistic flair and Diane is a task master to the nth degree so I knew the combination of the two would produce a well decorated and nicely organized party. No keg in the corner augmented by excruciatingly loud music complete with a cavalier “you’re on your own” kind of party at their home.

Laurie went to the party without me but with my urging. I wanted her to have fun, she deserves it. She came home loaded down with food for me courtesy of Chef Joe.  Of course she came complete with all the details. I was happy that it turned out well for Joe and Diane and their guests. I really wish I could have been there.

I didn’t go because I did not want to be that guy sitting in the corner of a raucous party where one by one the people would feel obligated to come over and spend some time with me. That’s not my idea of fun. It would have been nice, but if I can’t go and fully participate, I would rather stay home.

And I have been doing that a lot lately, ever since my last trip to the Cleveland Clinic in August. I missed the surprise birthday party my sister and brother in law planned for me because I was just not up to it.

I couldn’t take a trip we had been planning for a couple of months. We were going to go to Nashville in September, but I never could have made it down in decent shape, so Laurie went on without me. I insisted that she go because she needed some time to unwind.

In the years since I was correctly diagnosed with Bronchiectasis, I have had to beg out of a whole lot of invitations to stuff that I would really have liked to have done. But I was still able to do a lot, so it kind of balanced out.

The Saturday before the Halloween party, I turned 54.

On my birthday, I was all caught up in coming to grips with my deteriorating health while being worried about a pretty serious bleeding event, one as potentially dangerous as the event back in 2009 that left me in the hospital for 18 days and started me to think about doing this blog.

That hospital stay happened on my 52nd birthday. I was worried that I had suffered relapse, the birthday relapse. Back in ‘09, I missed seeing Leonard Cohen when he played here in Cleveland for what will be more than likely his last time.

This time around I didn’t have a fever, but I was tired and the amount of stuff coming out of my lungs was prodigious. Let me tell you, coughing for over ten minutes straight is like doing about 300 sit-ups. Your stomach muscles, because of the diaphragm, are working overtime. Maybe I should write an exercise book, Cough Those Inches Away.

I don’t recommend it as an exercise regime.

The blood finally stopped flowing on the Tuesday after my  birthday weekend. Turns out it was caused by taking too many aspirins. One of the new heart pills I take results in excruciating headaches that always settle in behind my left ear. Every time I move, it hurts. And if you can imagine me coughing hard for just a minute or two, you can imagine how that felt.

So I swallowed about 6 tablets in the course of an hour and voila! The bleeding began.

The blood stopped as soon as I realized that I shouldn’t be taking a handful of aspirin, a lot more than the prescribed dose. I think people intuitively believe that since a medication is sold over the counter, dosage is fungible.  It’s just aspirin, no?

Let my duress be a lesson.

So this downturn in my health has been lingering on and on and on. I feel better overall than I did before I went to the Indians Game I wrote about a few posts back.  In fact if it wasn’t for the massive amounts of mucous I am producing, I would be in pretty good shape.

So Friday I am going to the doctor, Dr. Sharma, the man who helps me get through all of this.

I did not want to go to the hospital because I have already racked up a huge amount of medical bills this year and I didn’t want to add more to that pile just yet. I don’t have a fever, so the infection that is lingering in my lungs is probably not dangerous.

Still, I have the energy of a slug and I become breathless walking to the john.

Something is definitely wrong, but I am going to wait until Friday.

You see they are releasing a digitally remastered 50th anniversary of West Side Story on Wednesday. In celebration, they are showing the movie for one night, this Wednesday, in theaters all across the country.  It is my favorite movie for many reasons.

One of my fondest memories is a blip of a visual of my mom dancing around the living room holding me close to her while Tonight was playing on the HiFi. I couldn’t have been much older than three. It’s the only time I can remember being in my mom’s arms. That is one magical memory for me, one that defines, I am convinced, my love for the arts.

You can see why I want to go and see it on the wide screen.


I have bought the tickets, I made arrangements to go and I am not going to miss this. I have missed so many things over the years that I just can’t let this one go.

I promise I will call the doc early Thursday morning even though I have a Friday appointment. And I will wear a mask out in public for the first time. Probably take the Wheel Chair as well just in case.

In the long run, it may be foolish, but staying alive and not really living is just getting too hard to accept.


I have to add this….

And yet again, another disappointment enters stage right. Just as I was getting ready to post this new addition to my blog, I received a message on Facebook from the person who was going to take me to Strongsville to see the movie. She had to back out due to a sudden illness.

It’s too late to find anyone else to drive me out and I don’t trust the van, especially on a day that is going to get worse, weather wise, as the evening sets in.

I really don’t know how many more disappointments I can take, how much more of my world can be put beyond my grasp. How much smaller is the box I live in going to get…


9 Responses to A week or so ago, I had to shelve going to a Halloween party hosted by two of my favorite people because of, you guessed it, my diminished health situation.

  1. Anne says:

    I hope you find someone else to take you to the movie – if I were closer, would be happy to do it.

  2. Lisa Pilot says:

    Dear Chris, I’m really feeling for you. It’s the series of small disappointments that eats away at one’s peace, and you need your peace.

  3. Hi Chris,

    Sorry to hear you are feeling badly, hope you feel better soon. I wanted to see WSS as well, but had to pass. I’m recovering from gall bladder surgery.

    Did you know that Marnie Nixon, who sang for Natalie Wood in the movie, is also the mother of singer/composer Andrew Gold (Thank you for being a friend, Lonely Boy)?

  4. Maxene Diamond Spindell says:

    Chris,,,Perhaps it’s time for your next step in this journey. Driving home with Mike from our month long “vacation”. You have brought tears to my eyes, or perhaps it’s the Willie songs we re listening to. Went from FL to NY via auto train. Taking a place on the beach in long island off season. Seeing family, friends. Museums etc Just a little over a year ago Mike felt the same as you. I did not feel
    much better because of his situation. A year post transplant and we are both living again.
    Maybe the time has come for you to discuss this w your doctor tomorrow. Life….It’s all about the quality.

  5. Brenda says:

    l am so sorry.l hope things get better.

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