The Birth Of A Book – “Can Dying Become A Way Of Life?”

Brian HaydenThe very next day, April 8th, I continued making blog entries. My writing skills -still poor as thousands of thoughts fill my mind.  Those early months and years were cloudy, so when I had an opportunity to remember events and emotions years later, I rushed to the computer to write them down. I am still not aware that anyone is reading this blog. To me, it was a journal. Just a place to write down my thoughts. Consequently, spelling and grammar mistakes abound.  The mistakes are even in the titles. Do you see the errors? 

Years after my heart attack, I am still trying to get my footing in the civilian world. The abrupt medical retirement from the Air Force leaves it’s mark in the form of depression.  I am not mentally or physically prepared to support my family And that was just the money aspect. I am woefully off the mark in the emotional connections with my children, and with Denise. 

The following remembrances are from 1992 and 1995. I will do my best to keep the timeline fresh as we go along

Two years had past since the defibrillator was installed. Now, as expected, doctors will crack my chest open for the second time in as many years. I will not be the last time.

Ok, but could you PLEASE keep the line straight this time

April 8, 2010 by brha99 

Simple things have begun to take on added importance to me now. For instance, the first time they went into my chest, they did it from the side. The result was a curved shape scar. I’ll have no more of that. It’s a straight scar for me or nothing at all. You’ve got to let these surgeons know who is boss right from the start. As I was waking from the bypass, I noticed a box on the outside of my body, attached to wires going inside my body. When the doctor came in, I asked him what it was. He told me it was an external pace maker. Still being under the influence of drugs, I thought I saw the doctor smile, and quietly say to me….”now wise ass: who’s your daddy?” Dam doctors. From then on I vowed never to tell the doctor how to make the surgical lines. That vow would come back to haunt me, but that’s a story we are still 10 years from telling. Suffice it to say I got through this ordeal fine. After the requisite healing period I went back to work, and all was back as it should be. I was offered a job in Southern California. A very good opportunity, so off I went. I was doing ok most of the time. No ambulance rides, but several trips to emergency rooms and several hospitalizations. Yes I was having chest pains once again. It was 1995, and the doctors are telling my wife and I that there is a doctor at the famous Scripps Memorial Medical Center in San Diego that does this roto rooter kind of thing with coronary arteries. He saw your cath pictures and agreed you are a candidate for the procedure. During the procedure problems ensued. I mean real big problems.

I am really getting good at dying

April 8, 2010 by brha99

While at Scripps, the doctor came out of the o.r. and told Denise (my wife) to call my parents. It appeared I was Dying. According to the doctor, the tool they used to perform the procedure blocked the flow of blood and my heart stopped working. Well, they retracted the tool, but my heart wouldn’t respond to their requests. It is my understanding (I wasn’t around when they did this to me) that they prepared me to be hooked up to some type of heart pump. During the process of getting the equipment together my heart resumed normal duty. That still meant I had a blocked artery that needed clearing. They decided to use this thing which at the time was pretty new. You may have heard of it. It is called a stent. For a while it looked like that doctor that wrote my narrative summary to get me out of the Air Force might have been right. Remember? He felt that without a heart transplant I only had 3 to 5 years to live. The stent was placed at the 5 year mark. Looks like my guardian angel is working overtime. There will be no death for me today. At this point, in the spirit of full disclosure I feel compelled to tell you that I was still smoking and drinking. That’s right. Despite all that I have gone through I still drank, and I still smoked. I mention it now because the doctor that took care of me at Scripps got mad when he found out I smoked. He told me I should have died and that I wasted his time. Now that’s bed side manner worth paying for.


book cover   



  1. Hello Brian. It’s good to be able to write about such an important part of your life. I am recently familiar with death. I was the primary live-in caregiver for my mom. We made the decision to help her remain at home. I was at her side as she passed one morning a month after her 97th birthday. It was a horrible and wonderful experience rolled into one. As you said, writing about something like death needs time. I would love to tell her story, but it’s still too close. Maybe later. I have been blogging for over six years now. That fills my need for writing for now. Good luck with your book and blog. – Margy

  2. Thanks Margy. Very sorry to hear about your mother. While it is too early for you to talk about death right now, for me it was therapy. Writing took the place of going to the shrink. Perhaps one day you will find peace at the end of a pen and some paper. Be well, and thank you for stopping by. Brian M. Hayden

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