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Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990)
A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer

My balloon angioplasty

On January 25th, 1985, Dr. Kenneth Kent, Director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory, performed a transluminal coronary angioplasty (balloon dilatation) on one of the narrowed arteries that supplied blood to my heart. The whole procedure is monitored on a very large TV screen and I could follow it with my own eyes. I could clearly see the blocked arteries around my heart.

After twelve days I was released from the hospital and told that I had to live on a strict diet. Since I had significant coronary atherosclerosis I was not able to go back to work.

Balloon angioplasty and stents 

During my time in the hospital and the time I was off from work, Southland Corporation was very sympathetic and cooperative and gave me all the financial support. During my stay in the hospital I received a flower set from our company President, Mr. Jim Parker. The Southern zone manager, Mr. Bob Facchina, with whom I worked directly, came to visit me at the hospital. He sent several baskets of flowers from Embassy Dairy. He told me not to worry about anything, and that he would take care of my financial benefits. Out general manager, Mr. Barbery, called several times and told me, just listen to the doctor and what he tells you to do. He said even if I had to stay home for four years to recuperate, I was always welcome to have my job back. Mr. Andy Mroz was very helpful, staying in close contact with Southland Corporation Insurance to pay all of my hospital bills. I was very impressed and thankful for all the help I was getting from all of my managers during my stay in the hospital. Southland Corporation has a monthly magazine which is called "Southland Corporation Family". It showed me that they were a large family and they were there when I needed them. I had given them more than 24 years of service, and they certainly showed me their appreciation.

It was not easy for me to be laid off suddenly. In my mind I still kept on thinking that one day I would go back to work again, but my doctor had advised me not even to think about the job anymore. He told me in my condition there was no way that I ever could do this job again. He told me if I wanted to live a few years longer I had better look after myself and take life a little easy. This was all very easy for the doctor to say, but for all those years I had driven myself to the limit to be somebody in life. I was a self-made man and never depended on other people when it came to finances. I always needed people to advance myself in life. The way I had worked over all those years and particularly the last three years when I came back from my vacation in Asia and got that promotion, I had become a working robot for the company. I was constantly rushing and everything I did had to be perfect. It took a lot of energy out of me and I didn't even notice that I was slowly killing myself. The first three months I was out of the hospital I couldn't accept that I was dependent on somebody else. Just to know that so many things you had done before are all over now, I went into a very depressing state and backed away from my good friends. There were many days that I sat in my bedroom and cried because I couldn't do things I had done for so many years. Friends came to my apartment to visit me and I told them to go home as I wanted to be by myself. I started to feel sorry for myself. It's the drive in you which you had worked with over all those years that has to come slowly out of your body. Those were the toughest months for me to overcome. I said many prayers in my bedroom and asked God why he did this to me. I felt that because I was always ready to help other people, I should be saved from an illness like that. But it was all my own fault that I became a heart patient. I thought I could go on forever, but your body can only take so much of life and then it will slow you down by itself.

CONTINUED: Learning to live with a heart condition
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

- Foreword
- Old Rotterdam
- World War II
- After the War
- Coming to America
- Washington, D.C.
- Southeast Asia
- Philosophy of Life

- Book Index