Oh, bother.

Ever since I got back from Blogorado, I’ve not been feeling Up To Snuff.

It got steadily worse, until finally I head into Bugscuffle Clinic & Bait, where it’s fairly obvious that they remember me from last time.

When I say “fairly obvious” I mean that there’s a giant fluorescent pink sticky note on the outside of my file which reads (in silver sharpie ink) “DO NOT GIVE THIS PT NTG IF HIS BLOOD PRESSURE IS NORMAL OR LOWER!” with the “DO NOT” circled. Multiple times.


I am shown to a room, the nurse gets my vitals and promises me “someone” will be in shortly.

Sure enough, I look up and there’s someone who looks vaguely familiar holding out a paw for a shake. I squint, imagine I’m looking up at him from a steeper angle, mentally put defib paddles in his paw …

… Oh, joy. It’s the Nurse Practitioner from last time. Out-[deleted]-standing.

We shake hands, and things seem to have changed. He listens, by which I mean that this time I’m doing more talking than he is, and we seem to be getting along just fine.

There is much listening to my chest, and finally he opines that it sounds like I have pneumonia, and would I mind having a couple of x-rays taken and some blood drawn?

“Nah,” sayeth I, “That’s what I expected.”

He takes a deep breath, and asks — and I’m quoting here: “Does this pain feel anything like,” here he pauses, leafs through my file until he finds the page he’s looking for, and then carefully articulates, finger tracing a sentence, “An ice-cream headache with a grudge and a club?”


Nope, I state, rather firmly I will admit.

He takes another breath. “Your file show that you don’t present normal symptoms for, well, anything. Do you mind if we get an ECG, just to be on the safe side?”

I feel my eye twitch.

He holds up both hands, “If there’s a problem, and I don’t think there will be, but if there is — no one will call anything unless you specifically ask for it, okay?”


So. Five minutes later, I’m laying on the same damned bed in the same damned ECG room from last time, with some disgustingly cheerful tech sticking leads on my chest.

“Okay, sir,” she burbles, “Have you ever had one of these done before?”

I twist my head to look at her.

“You obviously weren’t here in May.”

She smiles at me, then hits the button. The ECG purrs, and spits out paper.

A tearing sound followed by a long pause, and then then sound of sneakers rapidly exiting the room.

I start mentally reviewing curse words, then lean up on one elbow, find the ‘PRINT’ button and print meself a copy.

Oh, look. Elevated S-T interval. In, let me see here — yup, every damned lead.

I execute a Migraine Salute for a very long time, then start mentally reviewing the locations of the exits until my front pocket starts ringing. I weasel my cell-phone out, look at it, but the screen only shows a number. Huh.

“LawDog,” sayeth I.

To which the happily perky voice of my cardiologist — whom I’ve not spoken to in months, and never by phone — responds, “How’s my favourite grouchy patient?”

I blink. Several times. “Doc?”

“I’m looking at your ECG on my iPad. You want me to come over to Bugscuffle and push on your chest?”


“Looks like you’ve got yourself another case of pericarditis, but if you’d like I can push on your chest again.”

“I’ll pass, doc.”

“Okay. Rest! Same drugs as last time. Rest! Five days off of work, and then call me before you go back. Rest! Come see me in a week. And rest! Ciao!”

The phone goes dead.

Umm. Wow. The future, it is grand.

I’m still looking at my cell-phone when the Nurse Practitioner comes into the room, both hands held up in a placating gesture, “Mr. LawDog, I’m afraid that you don’t have pneumonia. You’ve got …”

“Pericarditis,” I interrupt, “Again.”

He blinks. I hold up my phone, “Cardiologist just called.”

“Wow. We just e-mailed the ECG, like, two minutes ago.”

“Yeah. I think I’m going home now. Anything to add?”

“Nope. We called the ‘scrips in to your pharmacy. Call us if anything changes.”

Wow, indeed.


Are you sure about that?

60 thoughts on “Oh, bother.”

  1. Ah the wonders of the modern age. And your cardiologist rocks. Maybe a bit of a sadist, but awesome anyway.

  2. LD – rest brother. I don't want to see the next post be about how you've been cracked open to resolve issues that could be mitigated by a little relaxing.

    If money is the name of the game maybe you could get that book going?

  3. Sounds like maybe your NP has read your blog. Or did you read him the Riot Act?

  4. Ouch! Lawdog, please getcha some rest, and get healthy! HERSELF will be mightly displeased with you otherwise I surmise…

  5. Wonders of the modern age indeed. Hope everything turns out all right. I second the book idea, by the way. You could do a kickstarter, or something.

  6. MMMMmmm, one quick thought, since repeated getting pedicarditis isn't good or typical.

    Have you mentioned to your Doc's, in your little rural corner of American, you have spend many a year in far away lands with bugs and germs they've likely only heard about once in med school and was told you'll likely never see this in the good ole USA?

    hope you heal up quick


  7. Okay, firstly and sincerely, get yourself well. The world at large needs the 'Dog back on his paws.

    Secondly, damn. That is exactly how the future is suppose to work. Now where is my flying car?


  8. What's cool is that he can do a videoconference from his iPad, too, so he can do remote diagnostics. Still has to drive over to push on your chest, though.

  9. rest and get better,

    offering $25 American for that book, hardcover and signed that is. All you have to do is some cut and paste. and fire anyone who tries to edit it.


  10. Damn Dog, you gotta stop that crap! You need to get some down time and get well!

  11. LD – Rest, take your meds, rest, don't stress. Did I remember to say rest? (Anonymous had a good point. House always asks about foreign travel in cases like this.) Recover completely. Write more blog.

    Of course, if you don't make it, we're going to divide up your gear. (With your background, you had to know that was coming.)

  12. Add my name to your preorder list. Signed hardcover. And I'll second the rest and follow orders.

  13. Damn, 'Dog, I feel better by comparison just reading your tales! 😮

    Get to feelin' better soon, 'kay?

  14. What's cool is that there are folks actually wanting to help you…I say rest:)

  15. I'll have Calmer Half to put a word in with the man upstairs about you healing up fast and not getting this again, if you rest up. Have fun with herself and the furballs, and remember, house remodeling isn't rest, eh?

  16. Hope you feel better, but yeah, go home, put your feet up, and play with the dogs for a few days. Your heart is nothing to mess with.

  17. Lawdog, I'd like to second Anonymous-at-3.43- PM's suggestion. You and I have been in too many parts of the world where lingering bugs, virii and beasties can affect us for years to come. Might be well worth a diagnostic screen for tropical nasties.

    Tell me, did you, perchance, eat that ratel . . . ?


  18. 'Dog, I don't you from Adam (or Eve), but you, like Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton,are one of the best friends I have never met. Take care of yourself, Brother. We can't spare another inspired scribe. You still have a book or three to write. Speaking of which, get on it! 🙂

  19. See the youngen did learn something. I'm sure a healthy dose of 'I hope that guy doesn't sue me" probably helped.

    And sticky note on the file hell, I'm surprised your picture wasn't in the break room with the words "approach with extreme caution"

  20. Ok, time to get herself a cattle prod with your name on it, just to make SURE you actually get some rest as the cardiologist ordered…

  21. All you have to do now is terain the dogs in the art of can opening and your problems will be solved.
    Take care of yourself, and take care of your lady…the two of you manage to make my day each and every day.

  22. Rest up, pay no attention to all of the silly political fooferaw and we'll see you back here when you feel up to it.


  23. $35.00 for a signed first edition!!!

    rest. write. repeat.

    second getting yourself checked out for other microcritters out there. maybe a genetic scan for what they can find in that dept too. your far too valuable a national treasure to lose yet.

    rest. write. repeat.

    listen to Herself!

    rest. write. repeat.

    come to Idaho for the fishing. this IS Elmer Keith country after all.

  24. Great Freya, I agree with Dan C on getting Herself a cattleprod, also agree with ALL of the book notes and will you PLEASE take care of yourself! You are the major light in a lot of folks days! AD could certainly help with a few (appropriate) hints. What would Chuy do without you to back him up –
    hum – come to think upon it, maybe someone else will letyour cardiologist know about your (other) lifestyle…

    REST – Le Conteur

  25. Back when I was a young snot, I had a boss who had pericarditis. He was old, old! Over 50!

    That was 30 years ago. I just sent him a birthday card.

    Hang in there Dog.

  26. Lawdog,

    Sedately make your way to Amazon, and download : The H. Rider Haggard Omnibus: 50 Novels and Short Stories

    That will give you good reading for a week of rest.

  27. I'll kick it up to 50 for the book, but only it has a chapter on the pink grilla suit.
    Get well son.

  28. I also vote for the book!
    Dan at 1:05am… how do you know they don't??
    Rest, take care, get the bugs checked out 🙂

  29. Fer cryin' out loud, Dawg. Getcherself a ghost writer, editor, whatever and start on the first book. Then when you're rich you can cut your hours at Bugscuffle Po-lice, Appliance Repair, and Fishing Tackle and go fishing. Your faithful readers will appreciate your efforts. for many happy years. Give Pat McManus a run for his money.

    Gerry Nygaard

  30. As I'm sure you tell your agency's minions, and the miscreants they service:
    "It behooves you to pay attention when trained professionals doing their job tell you something."

    Hope you do indeed get well soon.


  31. I'll happily pay $50 for the book as well.
    Get well sir, you've been giving me belly laughs for years and I hope to derive pleasure from your writing for years to come.

  32. Catch up on some rest, go fishing, and read; I highly recommend the writings of James H Schmitz.

  33. LD – a friend Ive not met yet…

    Dropped in looking for your usual wit and I find this sick-bay report.

    Delivered with your usual wit.

    A week of fishing on Possum Kingdom would do you good – even your doc will approve.

    Rest, get well – Nash Buckingham, Elmer, Jack O'Connor, Skeeter Skelton… all checked out way too soon.

    You have lots more writing to do.



  34. Lawdog – ask your cardiologist to explain to you how going up in elevation effects your ticker. I'm no longer allowed to go to Denver or Mexico City (as if I'd ever want to again) without first being medically prepped for the change in atmospheric pressure. Same for joyrides in unpressurized tubes thrown through the air.

    But if you ask me, this most recent incident was the result of Sumdood – I don't know how, but I'm sure he's to blame.

    stay safe.

  35. The future, she is better than the past, no?

    This stuff is good practice. At some point in our lives, we all will eventually get Really Sick, and stuff like this helps us prep for it. You did well. Soon, I hope, you will be feeling well. 🙂

  36. Hope you're feeling up to snuff soon. At least this time, you didn't have to have someone push on your chest!

  37. I'm in for the book too. Must have the tale of the old gent who went home that final time. That's the best thing on the Internet, and thinking of it still makes my nose stuffy. Hard to figure out how my allergies can kick up just thinking of being out in the brush like that, but they do.

  38. Rest.

    Write book (include Gorilla Suit and Honey Badger). (Ruark has nothing on you).



    Get well

  39. Glad your cardiologist has both common sense and a sense of humor.

    Rest, feel better.

  40. Not even O'Henry can make me laff like you can, LD- none better, IMO.
    Now, if a book is in the offing, I'll tenth or eleventh the chorous to git it writ.
    In the interim- please do as ordered and get some rest. I recommend fishing and recoil therapy interspersed with bouts of typing.

  41. What a world!

    So that was the 19th or before, so by now, you have actually taken five days or so off work, yes? I like you a lot, so follow orders.

  42. LD? In case no one has ever told you this before? Getting sick is suckage. Therefore I'd highly recommend not doing it. 😉
    PS…can they make the bloody captcha's anymore bloody difficult to read? *grumble*

  43. LD – I honestly have never wanted to throw $50 at a signed book about a pink gorilla so badly.

    Kickstarters are even easier than blogger. If you find you need help though I'm an easily persuaded computer monkey.

    Rest and Get well sir.

  44. Can someone please explain to me how Lawdog here has taken something that is roughly as serious as a heart attack and made it funny?

  45. Can someone please explain to me how Lawdog here has taken something that is roughly as serious as a heart attack and made it funny?
    Because he's still here to tell us about it.

    Well, that and the fact that he's Lawdog, and has a natural flair for the language.

    Now, Lawdog, an update might be appreciated, letting us know that you've knocked out a couple dozen chapters of the book and are otherwise unharmed as a result of your talking to the cardiologist. again.

  46. Pericarditis is Serious Business. It is what killed General Lee.

  47. P.s. Please try to stay alive, Sir. There are way too few reasonable sensible people who bear badges these days. We can't afford to lose any of y'all.

  48. P.p.s. I can imagine being pulled over by Lawdawg, having him fall over, and I having to do CPR on him, including blowing into his mouth with my mouth. Eeewww!

    I know Nelson had Hardy kiss him as he was dying, but American guys these days are kinda shy about kissing each other.

    So, as I wrote above, Lawdog, get as healthy as you can as soon as you can, so that such a situation may not arise!

  49. I've had pericardia, too. There's a very distinctive rasp that medical types can hear through their 'scope. I was the willing patient that every single med student, intern, resident, etc. listened to. Once you've heard it, it become instantly recognizable in the future. Most med types don't ever get a chance to hear it.

    The condition's resolvable .. and I guess by now has been.

    Stay well, LD.


  50. Would be lots more fun if you had HERSELF push on your chest!!

    "How the hell does one get pericarditis in the first place??

    I recommend taking Tart Cherry Extract to alleviate the inflammation.

    Get better, 'Dog.

  51. Lawdog,
    Having suffered, misdiagnosed, for years with pericarditis, I can vouch for the discomfort. I note the interval of your acute symptoms is similar to my own. Find a really good rheumatologist and test for FMF. Pericarditis is a possible but not common manifestation of FMF. There is now a known genetic marker for the condition. If it is FMF it can be managed.

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