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Saturday, 10 March 2018


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Thank you for the update Mike, I'm certain many of us, including myself were kind of on pins and needles waiting to hear from you. Glad you're back home with the pups. Also...your dictating might be better than your writing, it has a good spirit to it, just saying. Do what those nurses say!

Hi Mike,
That's a relief! That you're back and in one piece and with a diagnosis for something that is hopefully manageable.

My Dad is 94. He has A-Fib. Has had it for a very long time. In fact, knowing good old Dad, he may well have had it when he was your age and didn't bother telling anyone. At some point in his '80's, my brother happened to be visiting when Dad had a bout of it and so my brother was able to rush him to the doctor (and then to the Cardiac clinic) where they finally hooked him up to the appropriate machines and had it properly diagnosed. Then he was put on one of the modern "blood thinners". Unfortunately Dad is a retired physics teacher and knows how to do his own homework and as a result he hated the idea of the blood thinners and, sure enough, at the age of 89 he ended up in the hospital with internal bleeding and the Internal Specialists blamed the Cardiologists and Dad was happy to side with the Intern-ists and hasn't been on blood thinners since.

Now, at 94, it's looking like his brain is losing it's ability to remember things faster than the A-Fib is going to wear his heart out. So, the moral of this story - and this is supposed to a good news story - is here's hoping that sometime in your 90's you'll be able to think back and say something like, "hmm... didn't some guy on my blog once tell a long-winded story about his dad living into his 90's with untreated A-Fib"?

Get rest and I'm looking forward to your next post whenever you're good and able to write it.

OK Mike, no typing. Just use the mouse to pull up the emails from all your readers who have been checking the blog to see how you are doing.
Just take care of yourself. We will wait for more posts.

So glad to hear that you are home Mike. Take it easy. Sending you best wishes and hoping for your complete recovery. xxAnn

Wow Mike, you're dragging us along a journey worthy of a Disney E-ticket. Luckily, most Disney rides end safely with somebody in a costume selling you pictures so please do take Ariel up on her photographic offer--8x10s for everybody!

So glad to know you're home safe and rarin' to go, once you're allowed to type. Maybe you can borrow a Stephen Hawking rig in the meantime?

Glad you're all right. I read TOP nearly every day, and I was worried about you. Get well!


Damn! I get a little busy, don't check in for a few days, click TOP on the favorites bar and get a picture from INSIDE an ambulance. IN BLACK & WHITE.

Glad you're home. Behave. My (first?) hip replacement is a month from tomorrow; can't even get out of my 50s without going bionic.

Great to hear that you're okay.

Wow, what some do for ratings... Welcome back!

I am glad that you are doing better, Mike.
As you probably know by now, atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm). I would not be surprised if you are now on full dose aspirin, or some type of anti-coagulant. Cardioversion is sometimes used to shock the heart back into normal rhythm. Obstructive sleep apnea is sometimes associated with atrial fibrillation, especially if the atrial fibrillation occurs during the night. I know this from my own experience, even though I do not have the appearance often associated with sleep apnea (i.e. I am not overweight). By the way, the Giants' baseball player Barry Bonds had atrial fibrillation during his playing career, as have other athletes in other sports.

Glad you are OK Mike. We Karps were a bit worried.

Don't type. We can wait until you are released from your typing restriction.

I am happy you're doing better. Take care of yourself.

Take care and get rest. Glad to hear you are back.

Glad to hear you are back home safe. Was a little worried down here in Oz.

Glad you're home. Take care of yourself - and dictation only for a few days, OK?

Dicky heart rhythms are the pits. I have something (not A-Fib) that can make my heart rate go bonkers - I just have to wait it out till it settles. Annoying and exhausting.

Glad to hear that you are back home, Mike!

Great to see you are (relatively) OK Mike. The shock of it all must have been pretty traumatic. Take it easy.

Hi Mike,
so glad that you are at home and feeling better! Sending you the best wishes from Germany.

Take care, Mike. Just imagine yourself on vacation and read and relax. Come back soon, and well. We'll be here, waiting for you.

... she told me I had to go to the emergency room.

After a pause I said, “You mean today?”

My youngest calls that stubborn-old-man mode Don't do it.

Anyhoo, I'm clad that everything is OK.

I am so relieved. I think I refreshed the page at least 100 times to see if you were back. When my father-in-law had similar symptoms he didn't want to go in, and my parents convinced him. They not only kept him overnight, he had an emergency quadruple bypass (it was a triple when they went in, but they found another one). That was in 2003, and he is still here.

I'm glad to read it sounds like are, too, even if you have to refrain from typing for a few days.

Wish I could be of any help. Take care and no steaks for a while, ok?

For what ir’s worth, I think you chose the better punchline in the hospital room.

Glad you’re back, Mike.

I recently entered the healthcare system through the ER and left in a paper bunny suit, holding my phone and a stack of papers.

Not one picture. Shame on me.

Glad to see you back. I was worried.

Take care young man - I can wait for the next update if it means we'll get more in the long run!

How do you go through all that and make it sound like fun?

Welcome home, Mike. Good to hear your voice again!

Glad you are well Mike - was worried for a bit there. I'm not going to send you any messages, though, as you mustn't type, so ignore this. :-)

We all on the other side of your phone screen (you’re not typing and checking this on your phone, right?) are glad that you returned safe back home. Wish you a quick recovery and we also thank your neighbors and doctors. Rest now and you will type faster later.
Cheers, rfeg

Glad to see you're home. Follow the doctor's orders. Don't type. Get well.

Ooo. Take care and rest a lot. Best wish.

Glad you made it! Now, don't do that again. Even if it's just to be in the company of those earth-bound angels.

your "it's a procedure not surgery" observation was a kick

I have go to a cancer center to renew a prescription at least once a year

in the course of one such review I told my doctor that I wasn't undergoing chemo...I was taking medicine

a shiny bald head poked through the door and said...you tell him, sonny!

Happy to see this positive news. Take care of yourself.

Happy to hear that you are back at your own place, and at home with your dogs.

I’m glad to hear you’re doing okay, Mike - and thanks for the update. I found myself worried about you, and we’ve never even met. Still, at this point you feel like an old friend: those of us who’ve been around a while have watched Xander grow up, and so on.

Now, go follow those discharge orders and rest up. I’ve got the Finger Lakes on my vacation list for this year and I’m looking forward to you joining for breakfast at La Belle Vie.

I'm proud of you for that photo from the back of the ambulance! None looking at the screen in the cath lab? Come on! Glad you are back and tickin' in the right time.

Good to know it went in a good way. Be careful, do not force yourself too much. Best wishes!

Hey Mike

Atrial fibrillation is no laughing matter. I know you are the unafraid type. That makes you stand tall among men.

If your docs say not to type, then don't type. If they say that you can start typing, then you start typing.

Whatever the case may be, we will understand and wait for you to type when you are allowed to type.

But they didn't say you cannot press the shutter, right?

Dan K.

Good to hear you’re back home and in good shape.

Just relax, don't make silly experiments with your health. Surely you will be burning keys soon. All the best

Do what they tell you Mike, follow the experts' directions. If they tell you don't type, don't type! Take the time you need to recover and then deal with the issue. We can all survive your putting the blog on the back burner for a bit.

And, yeah, those experts I mentioned.....they do get younger every year, don't they?

Be well.


So glad you’re on the mend. Had a cath done a few years ago, from the groin. Hurt for a year! Also found out heart was good. Fell better soon. Life without TOP would be a greatly diminished one for sure.

Glad to hear that you’re on the mend. Maybe you should try Dragon Dictation...?

I’ve heard good things about it in the past.

Amen and Amen!

I think "not for a long time" is the better joke.

Glad to know you are home! Get well and stay well.

A relief to hear from you, with the bonus of a couple of belly laughs.
Got afib myself, and like you, glad to have caught it, and gotten on proper medication. (Eliquis and Metoprolol.)

Here's a novel Idea, --Listen to them.
Don't type, we'll wait.

all the best

Welcome to the club! I've had two angiograms and two MCI's; first one they put a stent into my RCA, second the Dr said I needed a bypass. Long story short- quadruple CABG with a maze ablation for a-fib. A-fib is control by meds, and blood thinners. It's all good! Good luck and you'll be fine......take your meds!

I'm happy to read that your health is under control and seems manageable. I'm 75, with 2 stents, feeling good, still shooting landscapes, and reading your entertaining blog. Angiograms aren't fun but there is comfort in knowing how your heart is.



I was very concerned about you Mike.

Can you help us find a backchannel to find out how you are doing? Maybe give a spare key to the blog to Ken Tanaka or John Camp? If you were out of comission for a long time, it would be quite worrisome to not know what had happened to you!

Also, do you want donations?

Right now, my Dad's not well and my Mum is in hospital, so I was concerned for you, then glad to see your update. Take care, Mike, and for best results, do just what they tell you.

Take care of yourself! We'll wait for posts to resume.

Glad to hear it was dealt with non surgically.
keep cool and don't fret the site-we are cool.

Cheers to your health!

I am glad you are ok Mike and will continue to be so (assumption). I went through an angiogram but they went through my leg. No issues for me from that. Take it easy and feel better.
(The other) Mike Johnston

I am so glad to hear that you're doing well, Mike. It is good to be home and blessed art thou among women.

Hey Mike, best wishes. Turns out, I”m going through the same thing at the moment. More tests later this week. Keep your chin up, it’s probably more common than we think.

Glad to hear you're OK and back home—there's nothing like sleeping in your own bed after time away, ESPECIALLY if that time away is in the hospital.
Relax, take care of yourself, and we readers will be here no matter how much time you need.

Welcome home Mike. Glad to hear you are feeling better.

Phew! I've only just read your previous post and was so worried! Great to read you're not doing too bad. Hope your finances are doing ok too. I know how difficult it can be for a freelancer in the US. And I know you won't tell us if you could use some help.
Anyway, good to know you're back home and only need a few days of rest.
Take care,

Welcome back intact! Had us worried with this one. The dictation approach seems to be working well. You may find yourself doing the proposed podcast first, then editing it for (electronic) print.

Irregular heartbeat can be a scary thing. In my case — nothing so severe as yours — I had begun to notice it, then to be awakened by it at night. I asked my doctor about the wild heartbeat while sipping a large cup of Cafe Verona acquired for the usual long examination room wait. Said he, “Well, you’re not doing yourself any favors with that”, pointing to the cup. Only then did I track the amount of coffee I had been drinking daily. Turns out those frequent 12-ounce mugs of hand-pressed dark roast added up to an average of 48 to 64 ounces a day! A half-gallon of coffee! 24 hours of cold turkey withdrawal and one large headache later I cut my consumption to 6 to12 ounces of high-test daily, blending 50/50 with the same brand and style decaf. No change in taste. No deprivation. No rapid heartbeat.

Of course, this is just my experience and has no bearing on your condition. I just throw it out there for others who may have lost track of just how much caffeine they’re consuming.

Glad you're back at home! Do what you are told and take it easy. A few days without TOP will not kill us, and instead we can all think about things to buy via the links!

So glad you are home and on the mend. Thanks for letting us know!

I always look forward to what you have to say every day. I am very relieved that you are doing well and it is nothing serious. I know that sounds selfish but I enjoy so much the balance and honesty you bring to the photographic world. Get Well Quick!

I had a bout of A-Fib a couple of years ago. They were able to see it while I was on a treadmill. They put me on a blood thinner and statin. I haven't had a recurrence since. The regular visits, to test the effects of Warfarin on the blood clotting level, is annoying, but paying $350 per month for the other blood thinners would be more annoying.

I suspect a daily aspirin tablet would be adequate as a blood thinner, but that would annoy the doctors even more.

My older brother developed a cardiac rehab/education department for a non-profit hospital and he always referred to those times when a patient is lying in a hospital bed, weak as a kitten, with tubes running in and out of their body, as a "teachable moment". Suddenly, the patients were willing to consider the life choices they had made that led to their current predicament, what the doctors had done to repair their heart, and what they needed to do in the future to maintain their health and stave off on a return trip to the ER. In your case the issue is known and it is Ringo, but the third part of the equation still applies. Do what the doctors and nurses tell ya!

Good to hear that your home and what a support system you have in place! . Knowing the quality of the hospital you were at I'm sure it was done but as an obsessive thyroid specialist make sure they checked your thyroid function. Overactive thyroid a common cause of afib in us seasoned humans with normal coronary arteries. Be well!

So glad to hear you're back!

I confess I am morbid and always assume the worse, and I thought several times in the past few days: - oh no, what a shame, he never got to shoot with that fantastic A7Riii.

Very pleased you are going to be okay. Best result of your adventure: The certainty that your coronary arteries are clear which is very liberating in that you can now be sure that any future chest discomfort or shortness of breath is NOT a heart attack. (I speak from experience here). I think you'll find life a lot less stressful in regards to worrying about your heart. That next ache in your chest is just due to that delicious spicy marinara sauce (or insert favorite naughty food) you had for dinner..... Cheers, Dick

Glad to hear you’re back home, Mike.

Mike, please take care and follow your health practitioners orders!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.


Glad you are okay. 👍🏻 Was a bit worried about you.

Good to hear you are OK. Best wishes for a swift recovery and a camera in your hand.

Glad you are home. Was kinda worried there for a couple days. I think we are all probably willing to wait a few more while the wrist repairs.

The silence was deafening...glad you're back safe and sound....

Good to hear you write in such good spirits Mike. Your description of waking to female nurses and staff reminded me of my favourite file- A matter of life and death by Powell and Pressburger. Can I suggest it as part of your recuperation?

Glad you're home okay. Something similar happened to me 13 years ago when I was 60, except the angiogram revealed 90% blockage in one artery and nearly as much in another. They performed a quadruple bypass operation on me before they let me go home again.

Here's my joke from that experience: I'm a sea kayaker, and some homebuilt sea kayaks are called stitch-and-glue kayaks because they are made from plywood panels wired together at the seams and then glued and sealed with epoxy. To get at my heart, the surgeon had to cut through my breastbone; afterward he wired it back together and finished by gluing the incision together. So now I figure I can justly call myself a stitch-and-glue kayaker!

Mike, all the best with the dicky-ticker, stay well, stay happy, let ‘us’ know if we can help!

I'm glad to read that you are doing OK after that ominous post a few days ago.

Looking at the silver lining, you have a new topic for the Baker's Dozen series - "Medical Emergencies and Accidents" - and have your own entry for it.

Hey Mike,

First of all, I wish you a quick recovery, but ... perfect time for another podcast don't you think ;-)

Glad to know you got the help in time. Stay well.

Heh Mike - glad you are back and doing better. I'll be thinking of you.

Glad you’re ok! I was pretty concerned. Went to the ER a couple of years ago with afib. It resolved shortly after they hooked me up. The hardest part was deciding to wake up my wife and tell her I think you should take me to the hospital. Sounds like you have good folks around you.

When I was about your age (I was 63) I decided to go to Iraq to do some reporting, I also decided I needed to get in better shape. But, I had trouble running -- I'd get breathless after a hundred yards and I wasn't improving. Saw the doc, they did some tests, said that they needed to do a angiogram. They went in at the groin and when I woke up, I had two heart stents. And I could run. (Which was a good thing, as it turned out.) They also put me on a blood thinner, Plavix, and a year later, took me off. A month after that, I got all excited about something while driving home, as I was wont to do, ran up the stairs to my work room, and felt something....strange. It was a very mild heart attack, probably a rebound heart attack from coming off the Plavix. They did a lot of tests and said there'd been no heart attack, but then they did one more, and found some kind of enzyme that apparently is only the product of a heart attack, so I had one. They did another angiogram, and said I looked fine. That was eleven years ago, and I now work out almost daily, and hard, on a Peleton bike. Sometimes I worry, but not too much. Better to be able to run and drop dead at 85, IMHO, than to sit on your ass for twenty years and die when you're 90.

So, are you looking at ablation or a pacemaker?

Dear Mike,
I read Your blog using Google translator since three years. Your notes are for me inspirational and revealing. When I've read "heart" word in Your blog, my heart has trembled. Now I see there are good news from You. I wish You, Mike, health and many years in www net to explain others photo-mystery.

P.S. I'm sorry for my English.

Hi Mike,
Great news you are better off now than you have been all that time you had an undiagnosed dysrythmia.
Really good news about those whistle clean arteries .... means low risk of ischaemic heart disease. Just a pesky rhythm problem which once diagnosed is either curable or easily manageable.

As a Doctor myself and male ...I am of course a terrible patient. so when my cardiologist looking at my EXCERSIZE stress test recommended an angiogram. “ when can you come in?” He asked. I said that I was busy this week, then preparing to go away next week, then on holiday ..... he said “ wait a minute”. He came back and explained he had spoken to my secretary and arranged for me to come in the next morning! What a coward I was. However the angio was painless
Silly silly me!

Great news for you. On the road to recovery already. Take your time Mike!

So you thought you had Art Blakey inside your chest, and it turns out to be Ringo Starr...
Take care.

And just saw this come on on MacRumors today


Mike - I feel, and recognise, your pain or at least your account of it. I have suffered from arrhythmia and a.fib for about 30 years. My first attack was while I was in the Himalayas, 10 days' walk and a bus-ride from any kind of help. But it calmed down after about 48 hours and I could continue. It took around ten years to get diagnosed - I could never demonstrate it to a medic - these conditions strike at random, not to order. Finally about 15 years ago I collapsed - in another very, very remote uninhabited spot (on the island of North Uist in the Western Isles of Scotland.) By sheer luck someone happened along who knew what to do, and I was rescued.

I have been briefly hospitalised a couple of times since then but once I got on to the correct medication the problem was very well controlled and remains so.

Once your immediate recovery is over, I sincerely hope you will be as lucky as I am. I lead a very normal life ; my heart behaves very well; there is nothing I am stopped from doing because of my heart. I take two little white pills every day and apart from that, I never even think about my heart (though I am touching wood as I write). I wish for you the same outcome as I have; a life not reduced or constrained or diminished by a misbehaving heart.

The best of luck; I will be agog for then next bulletin just like all your other well-wishers.
David Paterson

Glad your back but follow your instructions! I went to the cardiologist recently because of some sudden BP jumps and ventricular tachycardia episodes. As part of the work up they did a cath and discovered some blocked arteries. I’m recovering at home from a triple bypass and the restrictions are much worse. No lifting anything over 8#, no reaching up, no reaching behind, and what seems like 20 more pages of do not.

BTW, a few days off just makes us appreciate the blog even more.

Katie and I are glad to hear you're okay. Take whatever time you need and we'll all be here when you're ready.

All of the above!

Can't speak to the truth of this but an ER doctor once told me that years of running from big things with teeth has programmed our heart to run naturally flat out as a default, and internal chemical balances act to keep a "foot on the brake" so to speak. That way, we can respond to faster. His view was that lots of things can mess with the chemicals and therefore the brakes.

I was seeing him because my heart was doing the same thing and my fluctuating blood sugars were giving me what I call the jitters or shakes.

Let me just say that your blog probably saved my life - certainly changed it. Your piece on the 4 Leaf Program led me to "Forks Over Knives" which in turn led me to adopt an Whole Food, Plant Based lifestyle. In addition I dropped added sugar and bread. This is just recent (as in the last three months or so) but I've dropped 30 lbs, my shakes are gone and my heart has been noticeably steadier.

So I can't speak for everyone but it's working for me and I can't thank you enough for pointing me in that direction.

Best wishes on a full recovery

Dave Hodson

Having typically been the one in control of "development," schedules, and everything else about my life, it's an adjustment to be told that, after exploring the interior of my heart [while I'm unconscious and helpless] that "we'll let you know how things turned out when you wake up." That said, it's great to hear that you've gotten news of a manageable problem and that you have the neighbors and friends you describe. You have friends out in the ether, as well, and we wish you good fortune.

Hey Mike, so glad you are better and back at home.

In November of 2002 I was in that very same facility, Mike. In my case, I did have blocked arteries. As you have witnessed first hand, I am still alive and kicking. Or at least able to operate an OM, a Leica, a Rolleiflex and Chamonix. That’s pretty special and I am grateful.

My experience in the cath lab goes like this - it’s a bit long, but a bit of fun:

Upon intake (you are recently familiar with this) you go into a small space walled off with the latest textile-based barriers, then given a très chic “gown” designed to induce giggles from everyone but you. Then all your clothing and other belongings are whisked away; in my case that included a single forearm (aka “Canadian”) crutch. Then one is carted off the catherization room, and yes, one is surrounded by quite lovely females. This is auspicious.

In the lab at that time there was a CD boom box. Does one stream these days? Expressing both surprise and delight, I exclaimed that had I known, I would have brought a bagpipe CD. One of the lovelies absolutely lit up and asked “You like the pipes?! I’ve always wanted to play bagpipe music in here but never had the courage!”

After the procedure and I was conscious, my wife arrrived to drive me home. The nurse that had attended when I arrived came back with the bag of my clothes and my crutch. Without any collusion, with dead straight faces and at exact same moment, we both stared at the nurse and said “Where’s the other crutch?” The nurse nearly turned white, then recognized the situation. She stared at my wife and with a screwed up face pronounced “Oh, you’re as bad as he is!” Not that I had been a smart arse the whole time.

That’s my Strong/URMC story and I’m sticking with it.

I prayed for you, publicly.

Welcome home.

I had an angiogram almost exactly two years ago. Got two stents. Nobody told me to not type. In fact nobody hardly talked to me or told me *anything* at all, before or after. I wasn’t even told what exactly had happened to me.

After I had to go through detox of sedatives. That was way, way, way worse.

Welcome back, Mike. I missed this whole story (travelling with no Internet time) so got a shock when I read them all but am so glad you're back and have a positive diagnosis. Please take it easy!

Please - we'll survive a few days of you not typing far better than you would with several days typing. Very glad to see this post - take care and rest, and try not to go crazy:)

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