Sunday, February 21, 2010

It all began one year ago ...

It all began one year ago on a day trip from Fisher Island to Palm Beach. I decided to take a mid-way break at one of my favorite joints on the sand near Ft. Lauderdale. Arruba's cheeseburgers are delicious and their quesadillas are as good as any and better than most. It was a beautiful day and I was feeling terrific. My good health was obviously on my mind as I opted to have neither of the house specialties, but instead opted for the far leaner fish stew.

The next day I was hit by a nasty stomach virus (read food poisoning). I felt awful, but was confident of my diagnosis and clear about the course of action to be taken; I would stay at home and rest, and do so in immediate proximity to my bathroom's toilet. There was to be no course of anti-biotic for me nor any other drug or preparation that might "plug me up." The "secret," I believed was to get rid of what was ailing me and to do so as naturally and quickly as possible. This may be a good prescription for the 25 year old I used to be, but now (at 70 plus) it was a disaster. I got sicker. I became dehydrated which led me to the doctor's office and the discovery that my dehydration could have caused severe heart damage and did bring about Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heart beat). A pill and some rest in my Miami doctor's office and I was back in regular sinus rhythm within an hour. I believed it to be a onetime event. It wasn't.

As the year wore on I would fall out of rhythm and again into Atrial Fibrillation. Most of the time I couldn't tell, but consuming chocolate, too much coffee or... well, who knows? There was no real pattern to when it would occur or when it would not.  It is somewhat dangerous... more than doubles one's chances of a stroke. This last week I had what is called an ablation, performed by the terrific team at my my Alma mater, the teaching hospital at the University of Southern California. It is about a four hour procedure that electrically stimulates the heart via a conductor introduced to the heart by way of the femoral artery. In guys my age it works about 70% of the time and it appears I am in that group... "appears" in that there is no certainty of the permanency of the change from A-Fib to Sinus.

They are monitoring me now in Los Angeles which is why I am not on the beach at Fisher. And I have another couple of weeks of monitoring before that homeward trip. I feel good. I get a little tired mid-day, but I was always a napper so "no problema."

There is, as with most such tales, a moral and here it is:

I should have had the Cheeseburger!  


Kelly Doyle said...

Oh Barney....(sigh)
Bless your heart for telling this story. I wondered why I didn't see you around during my 4th of July Fisher trip. Though Paulo told me you were making the rounds here and there. And I had read of you having health issues.

I hope you both have a safe journey back to your island haven. If your health permits I hope to meet you in person during this years trip to what seems to have become my oasis from the somewhat uneventful west coast of FL.
Be well.

Julia said...

Hi Barney!! I hear you on that one!!! You should always go for the cheeseburger!! I went to SF last month to see your wife live on stage and my first weekend there -visiting my friends- I caught this terrible stomach virus.... Believe me - no matter how old you are (I'm just over 30) I was pretty sure I had to die!!!! Turned out I didn't.... ;-)

I'm glad you feel better and keep my fingers crossed it stays that way!!!!

Unknown said...

Hi Barney,
I too have wondered where you have been. Sorry to hear of your scare!
We all forget how much more fragile we all are after 40. I myself always make sure I have careful footing and my sports and exercise are reduced lighter and easy workouts minimizing injures, I will be sure to pay closer attention to foods as well.
Continued good health!
Suzanne Fisher Island Real Estate

Kristy said...

Sorry to hear about your health issues but glad the procedure is behind you and that you are on the mend. I'd never heard of cardiac ablation until my 57-year-old brother had the exact same procedure three weeks ago. He's doing very well and I'm sure you will, too.

Thanks for keeping us up-to-date, take care and say yes to the cheeseburgers. :)


Melissa said...

Barney, you are so right ... the cheeseburger probably would have been better for you!

So sorry about your health problems, but it sounds like your doctors are your wife are taking great care of you. I'm sure you'll be back to normal soon.

Take good care of yourself and get lots of rest,


Unknown said...

Well Barney, the whole World is Country! I live in Italy and last Saturday my daughters and I had the same thing ( my husband no, maybe he is too "bad" and the virus has remained away from him... ha ha!). The effects were more devastating than the feared A H1N1 flu and apparently was not even the fault of the food (we ate all different things!). We still seem to zombies and my daughters are both under 10(!) while I am over 40: dehydration is very dangerous at any age !

I'm glad you feel better and if you do not mind I'd like to write because I have some things to ask about C & L, which for 27 years is my favorite TV series and even more so now that I have the same age of Chris and Mary Beth.

A big kiss (including Sharon).


Brian O'Keeffe said...

Hello Mr Rosenzweig. I am sorry to hear about your health problems and glad to hear you are doing well.

I noticed yesterday that all seven seasons of 'Cagney and Lacey' are available via the Instant Watch feature on Netflix. I wonder if you had anything to do with that? I hope you are getting paid, but would not be shocked to discover that you are not and may not even know about it.

I saw Sharon's play the first night of previews in San Francisco and hope the run went well and look forward to possibly seeing it again and see what changes have been made. Sharon was wonderful and I saw you in the lobby after and nearly stopped and said hello.

CagneyandLaceysWebSquad said...

Brian, we have published your comment in the jane of the official C&L site together with a reply to it from Barney Rosenzweig. (Please see

Anonymous said...

Hello Barney

Will there be a dvd release of Angel on My Shoulder any time soon.