A weekend I’ll never forget

Last Friday was a pretty normal day for me. I conducted a couple of phone interviews with O’s minor leaguers, worked on some opening-day Orioles stats and a Billy Rowell article. I enjoyed watching the O’s and Yankees on TV.

But as afternoon turned into night the chest pains that first started for me the day before returned. Before long, I was dealing with some major tightness in my upper chest as I drove myself toward Bel Air’s Upper Chesapeake Hospital.

Early Saturday morning, the tests results were revealed to me.

I had suffered a heart attack. It was a “small” one but small or otherwise those two words get your attention.

Saturday, I was transferred to St. Joseph’s hospital in Towson where a very professional team of talented people met me in the operating room. Two stents were inserted into an artery to clear a blockage. One that, apparently had been there for a while.

I was very lucky. I got to the hospital just in time.

Amazingly, by Sunday morning, I was discharged and heading home. Less than 40 hours after the pain. Modern medicine is something, I feel really good as new and almost like nothing ever happened.

I want to thank the amazing medical pros that helped me at two different hospitals. I found people that were compassionate and dedicated and treated me like I was a member of their own family. I was blown away by their dedication and am very, very thankful.

It was an emotional weekend, starting with some fear, then happiness that the procedure was over and went very well, followed by thoughts of what could have happened. I can be a little bit of an emotional sap at times and one or two tears were shed.

I am not much for talking about my life away from baseball in these blogs, as you may have noticed. But I felt a need to write this if for no other reason than a public thank you to those at Upper Chesapeake and St. Joseph’s.

My family and close friends rushed to help however they could and lend support. I knew they were special already and they proved it again.

Here’s the best news - save for being a little tired, I feel very good and the inside of my chest feels brand new.

Two majors factor led me to this point. A long-line of family history of heart disease, especially on my mother’s side and a life-long battle with weight.

That score has usually been extra weight 1, Steve 0.

I need to get that under control and this time must have some success. Hopefully, no more stops and starts, making some progress than falling back to old habits. Too much is at stake. I would like to be able to say, I promise I will lose the pounds. But I know how hard it is to do.

It is very uncomfortable for me to make my personal battle of the bulge public. People that are heavy are sometimes looked at with scorn and there is no doubt being heavy has cost me opportunities in my chosen profession.

The recovery time after this procedure is minimal and you can get back to work in a matter of days. I will be on the radio Wednesday night hosting the pre and post-game shows. I fully plan to be at the home opener on Friday.

But I have promised my family that I will not overdo it and if the time comes for a short work-day or a day off is needed, I’ll take it. I will follow doctors’ orders.

Sorry to get so deep with you today, but it’s been a weekend I’ll never forget. The emotions have run pretty high.

There is another hero in this, but I don’t even know her name yet. Friday night I called Patient First in Bel Air and a wonderful lady on the other end of the line set me straight. I was thinking ‘sure I’ve had some pain, but I’ll be fine until I see my doctor next week. But, let’s make a call or two on this just in case.’

This woman listened to my symptoms and told me to get to the hospital right then and there. There was a sense of urgency in her voice that convinced me she was right. Was she ever right.

I plan to find out her name and thank her soon in person.

During the weekend I encountered some people whose future health is in real question. They have a long road ahead of them. I am the lucky one here.

Baseball is a real love in my life. This won’t change that but it puts a few things in perspective. I look forward to getting back into the schedule of going to the park every day.

As I think back to these last few days, I am just amazed that so much happened so fast. I am amazed that a doctor can make an incision in my upper leg, then look at my arteries and fix the one that needed it.

Now I want to get back to my normal somewhat boring day-to-day life with a greater appreciation for health, family, friends, doctors and even baseball.

So with the excitement of a new Orioles’ season upon us, for me it begins with a wakeup call and hopefully ends with me in better health.

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