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Mark and Dave

Mark and Dave 12-3pm
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Portland, Oregon www.markanddaveshow.com

Operating as usual

Some random thoughts before I drop the subject....Weeks ago my doctor told me, “Maybe you should get back to work, it wo...
12/22/2020

Some random thoughts before I drop the subject....

Weeks ago my doctor told me, “Maybe you should get back to work, it would be good for you.” The Blazers first pre-season game was a Friday two days later (eight weeks from surgery but only four from the ablation) and I took his advice. Then I woke up Saturday with my chest aching all over. It was difficult for me to move. I hadn’t used those lung/diaphragm muscles in months, and they were squawking. By Sunday they were done complaining and my next game that night was infinitely easier. I believe I was cutting it close, but it was the best thing I could have done.

My progress has been guardedly good. I can hammer out mostly flat 2.5 mile walks now without breaking a sweat. My apps say my heart rate goes between 65 and 85bpm. I’ll get a heart-echo after Christmas. That will let me know if I can start pushing harder.

I am hoping that echo test will tell me how far (or close) I am to the “pre-op Mark.”

Anyone have *this* happen? I had headaches so I checked my blood pressure. It blew up to 197/99. I didn’t believe my Costco home cuff so I raced to a fire station and luckily caught an EMT between shifts. He took my BP with a stethoscope and cuff: 205/102. That is crisis level. “You better call your doctor.” I did. More meds. Now down to 136/70.

I have terrible insomnia now. It’s probably PTSD.

I’ve had a personal goal since the leg clots to start taking FEWER meds. Every day it’s like I swallow a small pharmacy. I exercised almost every day hoping that over time I could liberate myself from one or two of these medications. Alas, they keep adding more. I practically choke on them when I try to swallow them all.

What a kind thing one of my KEX show sponsors (TERRA FIRMA FOUNDATION SYSTEMS) did….A $500 donation to the American Heart Association in my name. I am deeply touched. Grown men are not supposed to cry.

Another casualty of COVID-19: Office visits with the doctor. Virtual visits with the doctor are technically cool, but they are not a substitute for office one-on-one’s. I’ve had a bunch now and I like them less and less. Too impersonal. I wonder how the doctors and nurses feel about them.

I still don’t look at my scar in the mirror.

I got a note from my surgeon’s office reminding me NOT to lift anything over 15-pounds until mid-January. Now they tell me. I think they did a while back, but I wanted to be Superman.

My sternum still hurts. Probably because of the above. SO this weekend I laid low and barely did anything and let the ache dissipate, which it did! Monday I woke up with no pain – until I went into a sneezing fit. Couldn’t stop it, you know how it goes. About the 15th sneeze I felt my sternum ache again. Darn cats.

Speaking of cats, Raffi (our youngest) has decided that it’s too cold in the house to sleep anywhere but…on my chest. That’s a no-go. So now I sleep with a fat pillow covering my chest so he doesn’t even think about it. No wonder I have insomnia. Darn cats.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT LAST NIGHTThis is something I will never get used to. Look at that picture. No fans in the stands. ...
12/12/2020

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT LAST NIGHT

This is something I will never get used to. Look at that picture. No fans in the stands. Wow. Going into my 25th year behind the microphone at Moda Center, in my wildest dreams, I NEVER thought I would be eyewitness to this kind of disruption in our lives. I do not mean to sound coarse; I know it comes off as “first world problem” testy. My life outside of the Blazers is as upside-down as yours right now. Masks, washing hands, hand sanitizers, don't touch your face, don't shake hands, 6-feet apart everywhere you go, missing family over the holidays, missing the holidays themselves, and I am deathly afraid of catching the virus. I miss seeing my kids and my friends. Too many families have lost friends or loved ones (or both) because of COVID-19. Coping gets tougher with every day’s new release of virus deaths. We are nine months into this twilight zone. And that brings me back to why I posted this picture. It was nine months ago I did my last game before the shutdown. Nine months have passed that included some very rough patches. But when I watched that tip off at Moda Center last night, the nine months seemed to strangely evaporate. It seemed like I had done my last game at Moda just a few weeks ago. Time plays funny tricks on people. And I began to think of how far we have come these nine months; from not knowing much about the virus, to preemptive measures for those who want to survive it, to a spring and summer that altered our lives but didn’t stop us from finding a sliver of peace and equilibrium (heck, to just to know it still exists), the family burden of school reopening’s and closures, to what might now be these worst days of the pandemic. Nine months. So how did I find an epiphany in a jump-ball? I thought of where we would be nine months from now. There’s a vaccine not just on the horizon, but likely in our hands and into our arms in a matter of days, weeks and months. And with it we may very well be liberated from this virus. We may not have to wait for the sun to come out next summer to cheer up. In nine months’ time, every American who wans a vaccine should have the vaccine. Will it vanquish COVID? I hope so. I believe in the science. I have to. Because not only do I miss my friends and family and the things we could do together without worry, I miss the people at Moda, too. I miss the fans that sit so close behind me…right now your seats have been removed to keep statisticians 6-feet apart. I miss the loud and noisy 300-level crowd; when I hear you I know we got game. I miss the guest services people who would always shout HI as I ambled by. I miss sitting with my co-workers and members of the press in the media room where we all flock pre-game to talk about not just basketball but anything under the sun. I miss our game-ops post-game decompression sessions. But because of the vaccine, I believe this chapter of our lives will eventually be seen as short-lived. Tragic, for sure, but short-lived. Because time plays funny tricks on people. We don’t have that much farther to go. Nine months from now people will have long started trickling into restaurants again, movie theaters, festivals, places where people like to congregate. Including Moda Center. I can’t wait. Get your vaccine when it’s your turn. Until then, I’ll picture you there in my mind’s eye. Honestly, to me, those seats behind the players in that picture are already full….of optimism. That’s what I thought about last night.

😲
12/04/2020

😲

A LITTLE TOO MUCH ABOUT ME• I can drive again! Yes, that’s me inside my beloved Saab. One of them...I own four. Between ...
11/30/2020

A LITTLE TOO MUCH ABOUT ME

• I can drive again! Yes, that’s me inside my beloved Saab. One of them...I own four. Between my kids and I, we have six Saabs. But that’s another story. I was really cleared to drive as of last week, but I gave it a little more time. I took off for the local (decaf) coffee drive through and the whole thing was uneventful. I monitored my heart rate along the way and noticed only a slight uptick – must have been the excitement to be back in a Saab.

• Amazing, I have received personal notes from more than one person who tell me they are “on the fence” about their own possible open-heart surgery because of, well, each one is a personal choice. If you are looking for an endorsement from open-heart patients, they may be difficult to find unless they are many months removed from the trauma. The fact is no one raves about it. There’s a reason for that: It is as much difficult mentally as well as physically – and I will touch on both from a personal perspective. Many comments say how brave I have been through these times, and I have been struggling to reconcile those remarks until I recently caught up with a favorite film by David O. Russell. He wrote and directed THREE KINGS, and in it, George Clooney’s character says “You do the thing you’re scared of — and get the courage after you do it. Not before.” All those years of searching for the right words. Amen to that.

• I’m curious by nature so I asked my surgeon how long my heart was stopped. “24 minutes,” he said. “I sew really fast.”

• If this ever happens to you, your average 5-days in the hospital will be busy. At first you won’t be left alone for more than two-hours 24/7. It is annoying, but necessary. I am diabetic so I was also getting my finger poked every couple of hours. Whatever sleep I was in was gone. You will be cranky and irritable due to lack of sleep, and when the nursing team shows up to take your weight and get you to walk, you might even be a little terse with them. Do what you can to make it happen. The two fastest ways to get discharged from the hospital: Number one is walking, and number two to is “number two.” Those are the holy grails of discharge. The toughest part of walking is standing up and laying back down. Thank god for hospital beds that tilt you up. Then you use a walker. Cake. The other thing? Well, nurses remind you no one leaves until they can perform the grand second act -- and the drugs you were on earlier tend to block the exit something fierce. I won’t give you the TMI details on my experience, but I do have advice that I did not take until the last minute: Prune Juice. They have plenty of it and, along with other aperients, you will get your ticket out on discharge day.

• During my hospital stay I preferred to keep my “curtains closed but the door OPEN.” I preferred the door open because I liked to hear “life” outside. People walking by, talking, patients on their walks. I didn’t want to be cooped up alone and isolated. I heard many conversations during my stay including one man who, after everything nurses were doing for him, proclaimed that “I am paying for this and you can’t tell me what to do. I have freedoms. I have rights!” It was an animated conversation and I had no business listening in – but he was yelling loudly (from just across the hall) at perfectly innocent nurses who were just trying to help him heal. It resulted in a number of nurses and a supervisor having to attend to this person, making we wonder who was not getting the attention they needed while this guy sucked the air out of his (and any other patient’s) room. As I said earlier, it’s easy to get cranky.

• Can’t say this enough: Cough. That was the hardest, most painful part of the process. Use your heart pillow. Use your incentive spirometer. Your lungs will ache, you will cough, you will hurt, but the more you do it the less you will need to do it going forward.

• If you don’t have a “Lift Chair” at home, RENT ONE. They are relatively inexpensive in relation to the cost of what you are going through. They are basically motorized LA-Z-Boy’s that help you stand up. My heart surgeon even told me that many patients prefer to sleep in a La-Z-Boy when they come home. I understand why. They are comfortable, keep you on your back, and angle your body such that you feel like you are floating. I do have a La-Z-Boy and I love it, but it’s not a lift chair *and* (if you own one you know) you must reach down with your arm to the control lever. That’s a no-no. Lift chairs do the work for you, so we rented one from McCann’s. The first day home that’s where I landed for hours and hours. And later it’s a good break from the bed which you will sometimes come to look at as a prison.

• If you have a bed that raises your head (and/or legs) you will likely be thankful for it. I never cared for that feature when shopping for a bed, but I sure wished I had it for my recovery. My personal hack was stacked pillows. It failed because I could never get them (and keep them to stay) just right. Sidebar: Some people buy wedge pillows (triangle shaped) as foundations to support their shoulders, head, and neck. I can’t tell you if they work. Maybe someone will chime in.

• The sternotomy. Yes, it is a big deal. I am six weeks out and it still aches, especially when I speak forcefully (Blazers games start soon!). In my mind I rationalized it as having had an accident – plenty of people need many weeks to recover from traumatic bone injury and so it’s part of the process. But it truly is short-lived. The first week in the hospital you get to cheat as nurses (and your bed) will lift you up. I was worried about how I would handle things when I got home, so I used the lift-chair at first. After two days I realized I could manage getting in and out of my real bed with minimal discomfort. I bought a raised toilet seat figuring I would need it, but never had to install it. I found ways to let my legs do the bulk of the work and used my arms for balance. I ditched the walker after two days. Thanks to the Physical Therapy team at the hospital, using stairs in my house was a breeze (okay, I took it slowly) by the second day home. By the start of week three I considered myself liberated enough that I could get up and down (albeit gingerly) from almost anything keeping in mind I did not want to over-extend my reach lest I “loosen” the repair. Your sternum is considered only 80% “healed” eight weeks post-surgery, so I’ve got a bit more to go. If you are a fast healer, better for you. Occasionally I will twist or turn in such a fashion that I hear a pop, very much like the plucking of a guitar string, across my chest. Maybe it’s muscle that got hung on the wires holding my bones together? Sounds gross, I know. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just…weird.

• Before all this, my friends (and some listeners) gave me lists and lists of TV shows to binge. A good friend even put together a thumb drive of shows to watch which I deeply appreciated. Full disclosure: I am not a TV binge watcher by nature but I figured I’d have plenty of time to catch up on shows I’ve missed. Didn’t pan out. My irregular heartbeat had me feeling so miserable that I didn’t care. I couldn’t pay attention to a plot line for more than a few minutes. So don’t use me as an example. I imagine patients on a good recovery arc could devote the time to those shows and it would be a good diversion. I *did* manage to make time for one series early during my down-time before all the irregularities set in. The plot and film-making was just good enough to keep me coming back to it again and again without regret. It was NETFLIX’S “The Queen’s Gambit.”

• Books on tape. Even more friends recommended books on tape. Again, being miserable lying in bed listening to a book didn’t move the needle for me. There are short books, long books, inspirational books; and maybe you are a books on tape person – I commend you. It’s not reading…but it is. For the average patient not going through post-operative challenges as I was, I bet it’s a good diversion – might even help put you to sleep (yes, there are books on tape designed to do just that!) When I get back to feeling like myself I may try them. In the meantime, I own but ONE book on tape: THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir. I got it five years ago when my leg challenged my very existence. So a book about a man, alone, forced to adapt to life-threatening situations and overcoming them - with a modicum of humor – well, that connected with me. It still does. The movie did the novel justice and, if it’s on TV, I never miss it.

• Do you have a caregiver? Luckily, I married Louise. Just as lucky, she’s a nurse. Okay, she's a pediatric nurse but I behave like a kid, so it works. Back in 1986 when we were married at the top of Heavenly Valley, Lake Tahoe, our Right Reverend Blaine Bender rolled out the old “in sickness and in health” line. They were words on a page until 30+ years later. She’s done the “for worse” for me far too long. I can’t thank her enough. My post-op complications really tested her. Every day to the hospital to see me and stay with me when my heart had a plan of its own, many trips to the pharmacy to get updated meds, doctors’ appointments, COVID testing site, the false start to my ablation. The hardest part of my recovery went on far longer than it needed to. I didn’t help her with my poor post-op planning, either. If I had to do it all over again, I’d lay in a larger supply of bedsheets because I soaked mine every night. And both of us are also horrible meal planners; we are very last minute and impulsive. Layer on the fact that I couldn’t decide what sounded good to me until early evenings and Louise would race around town trying to find something for me to eat (I lost 25 lbs during this time). Maybe this was her “Louise Time” as she got out of the house – I hope so. I realize that is a first-world problem and we are more fortunate than most. But meal planning, if you are in any way good at it, will help. I have also taken to more protein drinks and drinkable yogurt (I hate both) but that it is out of necessity. Oh, and it’s been easy to avoid In-N-Out Burger because it’s 30 miles away. But I thought about it.

• When it comes to the game of life, I am an overly optimistic person. So much that I think it sometimes drives Louise crazy. Consequently, when I read my pre-op literature that warned of post-op depression, I figured it would not affect me. There are a few things you are told about post-op health that don’t get enough emphasis. There’s the physical aspect: Your body temperature may fluctuate wildly as your post-op health looks for equilibrium; you may have night sweats like you’ve never had before; your vision may temporarily change and get blurry (mine did)(it popped back to normal the day after my ablation); or your heart rate may take a while to find its rhythm. And then there is the MENTAL aspect. Post-heart-op depression and anxiety are real, and do not beat yourself up if you experience it. It is completely normal. For me, an optimistic person, I never expressed any of that anxiety during my waking hours – I was too focused on overcoming the challenge at hand so I suppressed it. But at night when I surrendered myself to sleep, I had some of the most terrifying dreams I have had in years. Thankfully, I remember only two. The first dealt with me walking down a street when my legs slowly started to lock up. Each step got harder and harder. When I got to the point where my legs felt like 1,000 pounds each, I woke up out of breath in a pool of sweat. In the other, I dreamed that our family owned a beautiful second home in Montana. It was so large we barely used a few rooms in the front of the house – but the further into the house you went the darker and more sinister the house became; murky rooms whose ceilings were dripping with thick dark ooze, slanted floors with decrepit carpet, walls cracked and wallpaper peeling, beams splitting, unhinged closet doors, windows so dirty you could not see outside. The kids would not go near that part of the house, and, after seeing it once, neither would I. It was so vivid I could describe to you the street it was on, the fences in the yards, the cars that drove by, the shape of the house, the wall of windows in front, and the landscaping and trees that surrounded it. Just to be sure, the next morning, I asked Louise if we owned a house in Montana. We don’t. You can interpret these for me, I don’t want to dwell on them. As I tell you this my heart rate is going up, so I will simply say that no one is immune. Be aware things like this can happen and do not be afraid to speak with anyone about it.

###########

There are good days and bad days when recovering from major surgery – today was a better day than yesterday, so it has to be a good day. My son came over to help put up Christmas lights (he did all the work). And I walked .85-miles using my poor man’s self-guided cardio rehab (the real deal delayed thanks to Covid freeze) with help of Borg Perceived Exertion Scale I found online. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. And, for the first time since I came home, the 49ers won.

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Hi Mark, I woke up this morning before 6 (pretty rare for me) and you popped into my mind. I hope you are well!
So, you think he's stupid. Where do you get your news? Maybe you should do a little fact checking.
One of the funniest stories I have ever heard was on the Mark and Dave show, though it was told by Margie Boulé. If someone can point me to the audio recording, I would be so grateful! The story was about a friend or relative of Margie's who was on her deathbed. This person was a lifelong music lover or educator, and was very particular about music. So a well-meaning but sonically-challenged choir came by to sing to her and hilarity ensued. Does anyone remember this story? It absolutely made my day and I'd love to hear it again.
So Mark... working at home.. listening to the Thursday show and hear you lament about how the impeachment is taking so long, complaining how the Senate marshaled the troops for a confirmation of Justice Bennett... I hope you remember that took a month...
Thought of you and Dave today.
Hillo
I love you guys. I commute to Portland from Sweet Home 4 days a week and am on the Road when you are on. Love your sense of humor. The Scott takes are absolutely hillarious. You keep me laughing all the way up I5. Keep it up.
You failed to ask the US Attny, Dwain Holcumn?, you interviewed today "who" he voted for. He seemed to have an axe to grind so why not "ask" who he voted for and see if his view is a bit tainted?
Ahh Mark, the women on The View have every right, and even the brains, to talk about politics. Just cause they are on in the daytime doesn't mean they can't discuss politics. Your sexism is showing a bit.
There you are, been wondering, catch you on the radio.
Dave - nice email today. Will be listening in at noon. Your announcing is always a highlight of my Blazer games!!
Mark,the only word to describe you is DOLT!!! You might have to look that up & like you should do Shen you are trying to report on things that you seem to not have a clue on ! :) You can't even report on pot holes correctly. For 1 they aren't filled in with concrete & you don't need a sunny warm day.WOW seriously how did you get the job you have ?You haven't a clue. Assphalt ( cold patch )... you can pick that up at any Home Depot & can be used in the rain... Did you also know that it's not out of normal procedure for past presidents cabinet picks have started the ball rolling by talking to different government officials from other countries. You seem to not get it or understand what the difference between fake news & security leaks??? I guesse people need to explain to you in 1 syllable words in full detail!!!! I can keep going on & on but don't need to. I've tried very hard to use small words for you so you can understand. Maybe before you open it up you will try to take the time to google the subject. FAKE/Stubid NEWS!!!!