where the writers are
Dept. of Amplification

For those of you who followed my journey through cardio-infarctland -- near fatal heart attacks in January and March 2011, near fatal open heart surgery a year ago -- I have an update.

On last week's visit, my first in six months, my cardiologist, the sainted Dr. Munoz, handed my wife and me the report of the echo-cardiogram I had the week before and said to Adele, "You'll have to shoot him."

The key number was the Ejection Factor.  Normal begins at 50.  Post-surgery I had been 35.  Improvement was expected, but if I had reached even 40-to-45, we would have discussed pace-makers.  I was 48.8, which was, in Dr. Munoz's considered medical opinion, "Amazing!"

So I am to go on as before.  Except I can stop carrying nitro tablets and can cut back from two baby aspirin per day to one.  "Go eat sushi," Dr. Munoz said, "but easy on the soy sauce."

It was, I realized, the first time in 20 months I did not have some looming test or procedure to worry me.