Taking the Pulse of Grumpy’s Gumption: CATARACT SURGERY #2

Taking the Pulse of Grumpy’s Gumption

surgeryGrumpy had his second cataract surgery the other day but there were complications. No, he’s not referring to some deliberate attempt at indecent exposure from his hospital gown.

The admitting nurse after inspecting Grumpy up one side and then down the next remarked, “Hmmmmmm, you have a bit of an irregular heartbeat, Mr. Grumpy. Are you being treated for that?”

Now when it comes to irregularity, Grumpy has never had a problem. He is as regular as rain. But, when the word “heartbeat” entered the discussion he nearly made a mess right there on the hospital bed.

“Well, yes,” Grumpy whimpered. “I had that all checked out a few months ago. My Doctor said my EKG and rhythm strip showed all was good with the old ticker.”

“Hmmmmmm,” replied my nurse as she scribbled nefarious notes on the chart. The look on her face and the hand holding her chin had Grumpy doing quick Life Insurance calculations in his head.

A nurse tickling Grumpy always gets this reaction.

A nurse tickling Grumpy always gets this reaction.

Years ago, Grumpy had an elevated resting heart rate of over 100 beats per minutes – but he takes meds for that. And, as you well know, Grumpy is into a fitness regimen that involves at least four walks a day.

His resting heart rate usually pitter-patters at 70 beats/minute. Just three weeks ago, at his sixth month check-up, his cholesterol was normal and his BP was 117/77.

He felt as if he was one with the universe.

On the other hand, today’s news was like a kick in the onions, making the old guy feel, well – OLDER. Heck, he’s 63 years young and here with 70 and 80 year olds for cataract surgery and suddenly, and unexpectedly, he’s joined their club – The Geriatric Cardiac Kids.

And so, he went through the entire cataract procedure with the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head. It was as if this irregular heartbeat “thang” had become the primary focus of the day.

But listen, wouldn’t this out-in-the open concern have you on adrenaline overdrive. The old flight-fight response surely gets my heart a rockin’.

When he was wheeled to the OR Grumpy’s admitting nurse warned, “You need to know he’s got a bit of an irregular heartbeat.”

“Oh,” said the receiving OR nurse, “We’ll have to keep a close eye on that!”

When Grumpy was wired up to all the monitoring equipment he could hear beeps which, to his ears, did not form either a rhythmic or musical pattern. Hey, he’s watched a lot of movies see. Like the big guy at Christmas, he knows what’s good and what’s bad.

This was confirmed when the OR nurse remarked, “Oh, yes, those beats are irregular, aren’t they, Hmmmmmmm!”

Well, later that day Grumpy learned from a nurse friend, who was on OR duty that day, that several cataract patients turned up with undiagnosed cardiac issues. That was a problem because anesthesia is a whole different ball game under these conditions.

Putting someone too far under might result in the shovelling of six feet of dirt.

AAAanethesiaHence, old Grumpy received the low dose “putting you under” treatment – meaning he was neither here nor there, nor was he in or was he out. He was somewhere between “La-La Land” and fully “baked”. Yes, it was back to the 1960’s for Grumps.

Grumpy remembers thinking he was driving in a snowstorm with deep snow covering the road. The roads were slippery and white. So he loudly remarked, “Wow, there sure is a lot of snow!”

The answer he received, in a voice he recognized as his ophthalmologist, was “It’s alright, Mr. Grumpy, we’re almost done.”

Everything was surreal from that point on as Grumpy could see the tool working within his eye, hear the hum of the motors providing suction, feel the spray of cool water irrigating his socket and hear the voices of the OR crew as they discussed their golf games. The annoying beeps from that heart monitor kept him on Red Alert.

Fortunately, everything went very well.

Afterwards, the anesthesiologist dropped in on Grumpy for a consultation.

“I’ve booked you in for an Echo-Cardiogram and a visit to a cardiologist in Simcoe,” he deadpanned.” And, I’m upping your Apo-Atenol by 25 mg. just as a precaution.”

All in a day’s work at Tillsonburg General Hospital, I guess.

Grumpy actual felt perfectly normal when he entered the hospital that day. He’s thinking the “white-coat” syndrome he suffers from might have just put his ticker into an irregular beat.

In this particular situation, Grumpy experienced a lot of hands on by a bevy of young attractive nurses. Hey, there may be snow on Grumpy’s roof but there’s surely fire in his furnace, even though the thermostat might be turned down.

Mr. Grumpy you look a little flushed.

Mr. Grumpy you look a little flushed.

Nevertheless, the Good Wife was there to observe these molestations and Grumpy felt as if she might be on the verge of taking executive action. (She is the CEO of Grumpy Villa)

Is it any wonder that his heartbeat would be irregular?

And, after he heard that first, “Hmmmmmm,” his flight response was readying him to engage in a mad dash run for it. In that case there would be no doubt about indecent exposure from his hospital gown. The last thing Tillsonburg Hospital would see is Grumpy’s “hinny” as he made his way to the Clown Car.

The bottom line is this. Grumpy is eternally grateful for the fine care he received from his surgeon and the OR team at Tillsonburg Hospital. Their due diligence turned up a cardiac anomaly that now can be dealt with by a specialist.

Hopefully, medical intervention will assist Grumpy in his ultimate goal of continuing “to grow older, but never to grow up.”

BTW- the upping of the meds has turned Grump into a zombie. He doesn’t eat people but he moves around in a shuffle and nearly drags his hands on the carpet.

The pharmacist said it will take your body awhile to get accustomed to the new dose. “You might feel really tired,” he added.

Ya, you got that right, because I feel like frigging 90 year old now. My get-up-and-go got up and went. All I want to do is sleep. Pumba the Farting dog and I are more alike than ever now.

But, the good thing is, when and if my eyes are open, I’ve got my 20/20 vision back – thanks to my two new inocular implants.

The  only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.
Helen  Keller


NEW ED BLOG AT THE LEARNING CURVE: Are We At the Crossroads Dr. Suess?

It’s EASTER WEEKEND and the GOOD WIFE who is a GREAT TEACHER is home. Time for Grumpy to rant. Is this the end of the road for ETFO or is it the beginning of more rhetoric and rationalization. Find out what Grumpy thinks here. SIMPLY CLICK THE LINKS



8000 VISITS SINCE NOVEMBER: Thank You from Grumpy

Today marked the 8000 th visit to GRUMPY’S JOURNAL. He is humbled by your support and hopes you keep coming back for more. Forwarding his stuff using Facebook and Twitter will help his little site grow.

You can be sure that he will continue to grow older but he will never grow up!100_0484_square_large

Again, thank you for your support.





Snowbird: (From the Urban Dictionary)

According to S’uthern legend, there exists a land north of the Mason-Dixon Line called “Can-o-duh” (spelling is unconfirmed). From this mythical land where roads are made of ice, and dwellings made of compacted snow blocks formed in a dome, come a people who flock to Florida. Upon arrival, these “Snowbirds” dye their hair blue and wreak terror on the interstate.

Snowbird: recorded by Anne Murray and written by Gene McLellan

Beneath it’s snowy mantle cold and clean

The unborn grass lays waiting for its coat to turn to greenAAAAsnowbird

The snowbird sings the song he always sings

And speaks to me of flowers that will bloom again in spring

If March Break was a fishing-lure it would surely look like green grass, flowers and spring to Grumpy. And, as a public service to you, I’m about to tell you how a flock of snowbirds from “Can-o-duh” can wreak terror on the interstate.

The March Break is notorious for its annual migration of frigid sun-deprived snowbirds. It is an exodus as big and as broad as the Charge of the Light Brigade and as thick and as sticky as Molasses in January.  And, if you are a poor working soul and not retired, the school break in March is your window of opportunity to both escape the snow and to load up on your vitamin D.

This great caravan of vehicles, bloated and loaded to the max, snakes its way down Interstate 75 or 95 the minute that final bell jangles and little Sammy and Suzy run screaming from their school. Their teachers are revving up their cars in the parking lot ready to AAAAAkdcarjump in line right behind them. No one cares about locking up the barn because the Principal left at noon. He’s somewhere near Cincinnati by now!

Crossing the border is like lining up to get tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert, but once you clear customs and have paid your toll (the one used to maintain Michigan’s pot holes), it becomes a NASCAR stock-car run that pushes hard toward everyone’s personal Margaretville.

The Grumpy’s have been making this Trek, without interruption, for 25 freaking years. Someday Grumpy will write a book detailing all of his adventures. He certainly is producing enough material in this space. He’s thinking of writing it in a journal style and calling it, “Jonathon Livingston Snowbird”. (My apologies to Richard Bach.)

So, to close out Grumpy’s 2013 FLORIDAY adventures he’d like to describe how the traffic on first day of the return trip created a lot of angst in the Clown Car. He will tell you how a flock of Snowbirds can create lane clogging Car-ma-geddon on the Interstate.

To begin with, we had a fairly uneventful drive through Central Florida, travelling in pristine weather conditions and moving quickly. However, Route 27 does provide a stoplight about every quarter mile, so the “quickly” I speak of is the drag strip like races we make between each red light. It seemed like forever before we reached the Florida Turnpike unscathed. Once our tires hit the Turnpike and then Interstate 75, it was clear sailing and pedal to the metal at 75 miles per hour. At that speed the Clown Car takes on the characteristics of a space capsule: a cramped projectile hurdling at light speed through space and time.

Indeed, we were eating up minutes and miles as we approached the bypass in Macon Georgia.

Grumpy was feeling giddy and relaxed because conditions such as these are all that a Snowbird would ever ask for. He should have known that the Devil was listening because as the bypass merged back onto I-75 the traffic ground to a near to crawling lane-clogging halt.

The Grumpy’s were 40 miles from Atlanta and moving at a pace that would allow a snail with a torn ACL to win the race. It was stop and go at maximum speeds of from 10 to 25 miles per hour. We were permanently travelling in a SCHOOL ZONE for crying out loud.

AAAAAjamOf course, there were those lane changing, shoulder running idiots who tried to make gains where there were none to be gained. Grumpy thought that the best course of action was to draft the Austin Mini ahead of him, because at least he could see over it and determine what   was ahead. It turns out that that was a never ending line of cars and trucks as far as the eye could see.

Grumpy has a thing-a-ma-jig on his GPS unit that gives traffic reports for big cities. Too bad we were too far away from Atlanta to get the signal. It kept flashing, “Possible traffic delays ahead!”

Well the “possible” was the “impossible” for us as we were totally bunged up and in great need of a traffic suppository. This is what happens when you try to funnel a huge flock of Snowbirds through a metropolitan area on the last weekend of the March Break.

The confusing part in all of this was that the construction was on the other side of the road and those lanes were moving unimpeded.

But let’s make a long story short here. We travelled those entire 40 miles into Atlanta at this snail’s pace. I’d say it took at least two to two and a half hours to travel that short distance. I’ll give you a minute to ponder what might have caused such a serious delay.

Here are some of our thoughts.

There was a big race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

A terrible accident had occurred blocking all lanes.

A bridge had come down in an earthquake and traffic was being rerouted.

A truck had spilled hazardous materials.

A wash out had destroyed our side of the highway. (Last year we were rerouted through Hillbilly country in Tennessee for that very reason.)

President Obama’s Motorcade was just up ahead.

The Pope was in town.

Well, my friends it was none of the above.

What caused this delay was plain and simple – stupidity.

At the end of the jam we came to a four lane bridge just on the outskirts of Atlanta. One lane was closed – the far right one. The lane that was closed was the one the on-ramp emptied onto. This was a very busy on ramp with from 10 to 15 cars merging every minute. All of those cars had to merge with the four lanes that were being funnelled into three. This is why overweight people aren’t the best spelunkers! This is why square pegs do not fit in round holes.

Observed behind the cones of the closed lane were Bubba and Jethro pushing brooms to clear dust from the road’s surface. Bobby-AAAAworkerJim sat on his mechanical sweeper having a smoke whilst Larry and his younger brother Larry looked on as if wondering if this one man job might require four or five more helping hands. After all, this was a Saturday and it was double time on the paycheck meaning you better work at half speed to make the job last.

The obvious solution to this Car-ma-geddon was to have rerouted Atlanta traffic to another onramp far from this one where the bridge lane was closed. Too bad the Construction Manager was spending a well-deserved break holidaying at Disneyland. How could he have known it was March Break in “Can-o-duh”.

The bottom line was that a 40 mile parking lot was created over a little bridge sweeping on a Saturday.

Grumpy’s nerves were rattled by then so he decided to make an executive decision. This marathon was turning into an ultra-marathon.

Speaking as if he was in-charge, Grumpy mumbled, “We’re taking the Atlanta bypass. I’ve had it with this traffic!”

The Devil, you say!

Just as the Clown Car merged on to the Bypass a great sign was seen flashing up ahead.

“Expect 30 minute delays ahead!”

And guess what, as we approached the exit for I-75 North, we discovered that the delay was RIGHT there and the exit was completely CLOSED and traffic was being rerouted on city streets!

So, exit we did at Exit 19, only to find ourselves on a completely jam-packed Route #4. Fancy meeting all these Ontario licenced cars here? You’d think you were driving Keele Street in Toronto.

Yes, Car-ma-geddon Two was worse than the first one. The traffic light turned green from four to five times before you got through the intersections. Heck there was time for the ladies to knit a sweater and the guys to chop a cord of wood between each green light.

People turning out from parking lots literally rammed their way through the lines to make left turns. No one objected because glove box magnums are as common handy-wipes in Atlanta Georgia, I hear.

Switching on his GPS Grumpy was annoyed to hear these words, “YOU ARE LOST, GRUMPY…… I CAN’T FIX STUPID….. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN”

GRUMPY:  “$#4@3 GPS. I hate that $%#@#$ woman! GEEEEEEZ!”

Thank goodness Grumpy has a second GPS in the car. He never ever questions this one.


GRUMPY: “Yes, dear!”

So, it took us over 12 hours to drive from Lake Wales to North of Atlanta. The normal drive time is at best 7.5 hours. Really this is a prime example of how A FLOCK OF MIGRATING SNOWBIRDS CAN CREATE CAR-MA-GEDDON. One slowdown is like the boy putting his finger in the dyke – nothing gets through!

Grumpy longs for the technology of the Jetsons. Remember how they could travel anywhere in the world –high speed – through a travel tube thing-a-ma-bob. How good would that be?


But, Grumpy thinks he would avoid the March Break just the same. He can’t imagine being stuck in that tube with a flock of deodorant deficient squawking snowbirds, can you? 

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien

Ain’t No Muck to be found on the Mean Streets of Vaughan?

Ain’t No Muck to be found on the Mean Streets of Vaughan?

jj2If you’ve read Grumpy’s blog concerning teenage-speak you might understand what I mean by “muck’. As a recent text response from the Phenom read, “We’re Mucking at Mc Dicks”.

MEANING:We’re eating at McDonalds.

You see muck is food and food is what keeps our engines running.

Apparently, in some areas of North America the managers of “fast-muck” establishments feel that hunger is only a daylight craving. Let me explain by describing what happened when we visited the Big Smoke (Toronto) for a basketball tournament this weekend.

Our Saturday night game ended just before ten o’clock and so we left the gym at 10:05 pm. The Phenom was hungry, given that we hadn’t eaten since lunch. (Tell you that story later.)

“No problem”, Grumpy said. “We’ll just hit up the Wendy’s on the way to the hotel.”

Upon entering the empty drive through lane, Grumpy felt as if this was quite eerie given that our hometown Wendy’s would be hopping on a Saturday night. When no one responded at the microphone he drove up to the window half expecting to see a paper there declaring, “Closed due to a Public Health department edict”. Instead he read a notice regarding hours of operation and found timmiesthat the freaking joint closed at 10 pm.

So, like all good Canadians, Grumpy swings to the other side of the building, a Tim Horton’s, only to be told, “Sorry, we can’t make food or Panini’s now but we do have donuts!”

Say what?

How hard is it to make a grilled cheese sandwich? Just plug in the Panini maker for crying out loud!



Oh, well, there are other fish to fry, right. No sense blowing a gasket.So, we drove on.The good wife, noticing that Grumpy’s rage meter (flushed face) was hitting max remarked, “I saw a subway at the corner of Keele St. and Highway 7, Grumpy.”


Now you need to know that subway is the “muck” of choice when we are at basketball or baseball tournaments – a nutritious, filling, Jarrod thinning, gastronomical treat. Just ask our good buddy, Joel Devos.

But, nay nay, my friends, because Grumpy hit up three subways along the route and all were closed at 10 pm.

What gives?

This is the fourth largest city in North America and it closes down at 10 pm? Hell, in Simcoe and Delhi, way down in Podunkville, we have places that are open 24 hours a day. And, if you hit one up at 2 am you might just find yourself in a drive-through lineup.

Holy mothHARVEYBROOKERer of Jenny Craig, does Harvey Brooker run this town?

Is fast food banned two hours before you sleep? How does Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford survive?

Mayor Rob Ford

Mayor Rob Ford

Now get this, the very next morning, when I venture out for a morning coffee at Tim’s, there are no cars in the drive though at 8:00 am and the inside of the establishment is empty. You could fire a canon through there without hitting anything that breathes. And, yes, the joint is open for business. The Good Wife went into this exact same Tim’s on our way home (midday) and overheard one of the staff say, “Oh my god, get ready, we are getting really busy!”THERE WERE THREE FREAKING CARS IN THE DRIVE THROUGH!I’ve been in a 25 car lineup at the Tim Horton’s at the Whitehorse Plaza in Simcoe at 8 am. Now that’s busy, my friends!

And, forget about getting a morning paper until the afternoon. I drove to three variety stores and none of them were open at 8:30 am.

Sunday must be a slow news day in the Big Smoke!

But, let’s retrace our steps a little. I mentioned that we had lunch on Saturday – the entire team and parents attended!

Now get this, we were at a Sports Bar called Hoops. It’s the weekend of March Madness (Basketball’s Nirvana). The place is full of TVs on every wall and placed strategically in each and every booth. Michigan is playing and the game is a decent one.

You’d think this would be a great place to “muck” if you were a basketball team, right?

Well no, because I think you are beginning to sense, as did we, that we had entered the Twilight Zone.

AAAAhoopsbarYou see, Hoops had ONE waitress on duty that was both serving meals and manning the bar. During the time we were there she had to serve two large groups (basketball teams) all by her lonesome. (Maybe 40 people) All the while customers were dropping in and out to sit at the bar.

This tiny (4’10”) cutesy patootie Asian girl was a waitress phenom and should be nominated for the Server Hall of Fame. She moved faster than some of our basketball players, was extremely confident, organized and efficient, and most importantly, she was pleasant and engaging.

When you have 18 and 19 year old boys, all over six feet tall and several over 200 pounds, getting the food out is of paramount importance. There’s nothing like a hungry, miserable group of giants in a Sports Bar. They can almost be as obnoxious as hockey AAAAAkobeplayers. They can wreak havoc.

Nevertheless, we did have a bit of a wait, but Whirlwind Waitress got our food out at just about the same time – hot and ready to “muck”. Needless to say, the tips she parlayed were in direct proportion to her “cutesiness”, flirtations and her efficiency.

Really, I was dumfounded to find such a culinary fast-food wasteland in such a huge city like Toronto. You should be able to find good “muck” in a place that is known as Hogtown, right?

Reflecting upon this situation I came up with a short list of possible reasons for our dietary dilemma.

People in Toronto cocoon within their primary residence when it’s dark because they are afraid to venture out at night. No one wants to catch a stray bullet whilst idling in a drive-through line.

As we were very close to the Jane-Finch area, businesses close early to avoid gun point robberies. Maybe, they can’t get employees to work late shifts due to the danger.

“I’ll have a Baconator and my friend, Mr. Handgun, will just take the cash you have in the till. See, he ain’t that hungry!”

This is part of Mayor Rob Ford diet plan to cut down on his midnight snacking. We all know that eating after 10 pm promotes acid reflux and weight gain.

TORONTO DEPRTMENT OF HEALTH: Warning this is a No Fry Zone

Toronto isn’t the wild and crazy place we think it is. Perhaps the residents turn in early much like the characters on Little House in the Prairie or the Walton’s.

“Good-night, John Boy, don’t worry Mamma will have good muck for you in the morning!”

The Twilight Zone is a real place where, when the sun sets, Torontonians turn into vampires and zombies. Consequently, there is no need for fast food after 10 pm, my friends. But, you might want to watch your back and your neck if you venture out at night.

“Hey, that dude looks kind of fresh and tasty, Johnny. Why not ask him over for a bite.”

Anyway, these foodie frustrations were the only thing that made our visit to Toronto distasteful. And, compared to the referee’s blow calls at the basketball tournament, they were really only minor irritations.

AAArefGRUMPY: “Foul! What foul! You need glasses, ya moron! GEEEEEEEZ! ”

GOOD WIFE: “Sit down, Grumpy! You’re making a scene. Once we get lunch in you you’re blood sugar will normalize and you’ll feel much calmer.”

GRUMPY: Ya, right, this is Toronto, the home of #$%# @%$# 24 hour donut!