I have been giving a great deal of thought to the issue of what purpose there is to me running for School Committee if my health is in such poor condition. It is not in such poor condition because it is watched closely by some of the best doctors in New England, at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington. My Primary Care Physician came into my room a few weeks ago and said that he had spent twenty minutes reading my chart. He said that was a very long time for that activity.
So, that apparently was a long period of time. I have heart disease, but it never stops me from substituting or doing anything except those things that would tax me too much. I cannot golf, for instance, and I walk too aggressively with my cane. Incidentally, the cane is there for balance and for no other reason. Some of my medicines cause a problem with dizziness, That can make me fall, and because I am on blood thinners for clogging of the arteries, I might fall and hit my head. I have fallen but that has not meant that it will never happen again. So they keep me on Warfarin, to monitor me. No problem.
I also have branch bungling on the left side of my heart. I therefore cannot join my brother Tom in running the Marathon in Boston. No sweat, because I do not have a desire to do that. I had a heart attack a few years ago when I lifted a trailer that was stuck to the hitch and strained my heart, so I am on a pacemaker. It is working well, by the way. I have cancer, the same type but a different strain than the one that caused my brother-in-law Paul Tsongas such problems. It is under control, but cannot go into remission because of the type it is, but it is dormant. Thank God for small favors,
In addition I have Parkinson’s disease, the type that Michael J. Fox has to battle. He is doing well with his, and is on medication, and I am doing well with mine and am also on medication. I tell the kids I am substituting that they do not get me nervous, I just have Parkinson’s. They seem to like the fact that I am honest about it. I just learned last week that my kidneys are failing. Every week seems to be a new problem.
I have not, until now, made a habit of complaining about my health, or lack thereof. I asked my doctors if I am healthy enough to run for School Committee. Uncategorically, they have said a resounding yes. Some question my sanity, but one even offered to help me out. He is a local doctor. I had him as a student years ago. That one made me feel good.
So I can do it, I want to do it, and I will try. That is the best I can do. As I said, I am backed up by a bunch of specialists. The twenty minute read I talked about earlier is something that I enjoy knowing. It shows that my doctors take me seriously. As I said in the original statement, I do not coddle my illnesses. They are just things that I have to deal with, and I do. Hopefully well, but if I was really worried about my illnesses, I would not be substituting. That is a very stressful job. I have learned to deal with it. I have to say something very good about substituting. It invigorates the soul. The students, or scholars as they were called two hundred years ago, constantly test you, but they do it with humor and a sense of purpose. I have literally been on a tour of all of the schools in Lowell, basically, and there is a sense of purpose in each classroom. Sure, sometimes you have a bad day, but your payment comes in a smile, or a scent of knowledge