Still Feeling the Pain


Today is the 4th anniversary of my heart attack. I wish I could forget it. I wish I could just cleanse my memory of that unbelievably scary day. But Labor Day weekend 2008 will never go away for me – as the time I almost died.

The Republican Convention of 2008 was about to take place, with John McCain making his fateful call to Sarah Palin, which probably cost him the 2008 election. The Cubs were playing the Houston Astros, which I remember because the doctors had it on when I reached the operating room for bypass surgery. It’s odd that I remember that because I was taking amnesiac drugs to blot out the memories of being totally tube tied.

I’ve since had four years of good health and I am grateful for every one of those 1460 days. Some days I am amazed that I had a heart attack, and other days I wonder how I ever lived through it. I still tear up when I connect with the trauma. It’s my way of tapping into the raw emotion of the experience that never goes away. Sometimes I think it intensifies with time, especially during the damn anniversaries.

The moments that always open the tears of emotion are when I hold my wife Risa’s right hand in my left hand in bed. When I was in the netherworld of the recovery room after the heart surgery, Risa and my daughter Sarah held that hand for hours and their touch restored my life force. In my semi-conscious state (I shunned narcotics) I heard the night nurse talking about pneumonia. Nurses think patients are always sleeping and that they can say anything about a patient, but in my case I was often aware of what was going on, even if I could not talk with the intubation tube down my throat. Risa and Sarah’s gentle touch got me through that terrifying night of trauma and fog. But the connection to that night is still a hot circuit.

I am grateful that the circuit is still live, even though touching it makes me hurt. Even writing about it turns on the tears. It reassures me because it tells me so directly that I am a living, breathing beast – wounded – but still feeling.

I wish I could say Labor Day weekend is a summer celebration for me. For the moment it is a weekend of endurance – of getting through. Maybe that will change one day. But for now, I’ll take what I can get. I’m grateful to still feel the pain.



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18 thoughts on “Still Feeling the Pain

  1. Jerry Fair

    Hey Lloyd,

    Just a shout to let you know that you are read, and enjoyed, through your commentary.
    There’s not many of us left that really understands the “old” machining methods and
    machinery. Hope you keep writing your thoughts… we enjoy it!

  2. Josh Weaver

    Lloyd, I am glad you’re still with us and going strong. I really enjoy reading this blog and the discussion it generates.

  3. Stephanie Meyers

    Thanks, Lloyd, for sharing with us such an intimate look into this part of your life. I often read your blogs and I enjoy them immensely. This is the first time I’m actually responding, though, because you’ve really struck a cord with me. By sharing your story, you’ve allowed me some insight which has led me to some serious self-reflection of my own life and situations. We are, indeed, lucky for each day we’ve been blessed to live and it’s good to know that painful moments – as difficult as they continue to be throughout our lives – is part of what makes us truly alive and thankful for each moment we have to live!!! Thanks so much for your post today; it made a difference in my day to be sure!

  4. Wes

    What amazes me is how fast the four years have gone. I am glad that you value each day. That is the lesson. If you are in Syracuse for the auction, stop by.

  5. Rod Eckley

    I always read your commentaries, even though I have not worked in the metal working industry for 23 years. I currently work in plastics and the only reason I continue to receive this email is because I enjoy your commentaries. I may not always agree with them but I enjoy reading them as well as the “replies”. Thanks!

  6. Bruce Renwick

    This reminds me of the tragedy of when my father was killed. I was a young man and for many years on the anniversary of the accident my heart ached with loneliness and regret. I would tell myself it was not necessary to feel this way on this date but that logic did little to ease the pain. And then after some time I realized the day would come and go and I wouldn’t have it haunting my thoughts as I once did. Time indeed had healed the emotional wounds.
    Great to have you hear with us Lloyd, and thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to reading your blog for many years.

  7. Steve Baranyk

    Lloyd, all coconut cream pies and all pastrami sandwiches fear your presence. Keep them on the run. Best wishes.

  8. Joseph E. Amstadt

    I’m in the fire protection industry but I look forward to your articles.Wouldn’t it be great if we all could relate to your feelings without going through the ordeal? Maybe we would appreciate more the simple life.

  9. Jim Goerges

    Lloyd, congrats on today, we can’t do a damn thing about yesterday right now or tomorrow for that matter. Might as well make the best for today. About 18 months ago trying to get more insurance for growing my business, ie., buying new machines ect., that there a big is different when your kids say you have a big heart versus the Cardiologist.
    Since then I have had several very good conversations with very good medical folks, the good news Lloyd is we were in before OBAMACARE! Realize this is a blessing! Seems we will have many EXCELLENT DOCTORS retiring in 2013 quite a few before retirement age by the way, so I guess the bad news is further care going forward for me and you and several million like us that will need care in 2014 and beyond! Gotta quit now, feel my blood pressure going up.. Have a nice day!

  10. Steve Horn


    Life is a great anniversary to celebrate. We don’t always agree, but I do enjoy your writing. The world would be at a loss if you weren’t around. May God grant you many more years.

  11. Jeff Scott

    Lloyd, leave it to an ultra-lib to make a comment about Sarah Palin while recalling his heart attack! Your sad, asinine devotion to the religion of Lib-Tardia and the mess it has made of this country speaks volume’s to the stupidity that allows fools like Obama to be elected in the first place.
    Mrs. Palin didn’t cost Senator McCain the election what she did do was to make the election at least close as McCain was getting his moderate butt kicked up until he named her to the ticket.
    Now I understand that your thought process, being a liberal, has never been up to muster but it’s obvious after your dissing of Sarah Paliin that the heart attack must have cut off the blood supply to your brain for sometime……get well soon!


    Lloyd, Live well! I am 92 and I celebrate each day and thank God for His generousity, each day. My life included, aerial combat in WWII. Those two years were filled with near misses, so that , I have never considered that a particular near miss was something to celebrate. The Lord saw me through some glorious Typhoons which in one case saw the loss of 18 planes and led me to a rice paddy a haven of safety. Make each day a day for celebration.
    mazel tov

  13. Lloyd Graff

    You have a wonderful attitude about life and I always enjoy your wisdom. Be well. And Mazeltov tov to you.

  14. richard cahn

    Lloyd: Your writing is wonderful,I would like to meet you at IMTS–will you be there and pleasse call me at 5044581051


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